Service dress tunic : Pilot Officer J C Burraston, RAF

Accession Number REL34401.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton, Embroidery cotton thread, Gilded brass, Wool
Maker Gieves Ltd
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 2 May 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Officer's RAF blue wool service dress tunic with self fabric belt, sewn in place across the back of the tunic, fastened with a gilded brass buckle. The tunic has a pair of pleated breast pockets with triple pointed flaps and a pair of expanding hip pockets with rectangular flaps. A centre back vent extends from the back waist to the bottom of the skirt. A RAF pilot's brevet, in cream embroidery with a brown wreath, is sewn above the left breast pocket. Each sleeve bears a black and blue woven rank stripe around the cuff for pilot officer. The front of the tunic and the pockets are fastened with gilded brass eagle and king's crown buttons made by J R Gaunt, London. A small welt pocket is set into the right waist behind the line of the belt, and there is also a internal welt pocket inside the left breast which bears a manufacturer's label for 'Gieves Ltd 21, Old Bond Street, London W1', which is typed with '2/5/40 J. C. Burraston. There is a small patch pocket on lower left front inside. ' The body of the tunic is lined with RAF blue polished twill cotton, and the sleeves with white cotton.

History / Summary

Worn by Jack Clarence Burraston who served as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Burraston was born in Glen Innes, NSW, in July 1917. He joined the Royal Australian Artillery in 1937 and was posted to Darwin in May 1938. Returning to Melbourne in January 1939 he successfully applied for a flying course at Point Cook. Opportunities to join the RAAF were limited pre-war and Burraston successfully answered an advertisement from the RAFseeking Australians for officer and pilot training. He embarked for England aboard the Orama, together with 21 other Australians accepted for the scheme, on 13 August 1939. War was declared while the group was still at sea. In England Burraston undertook officer, basic and advanced flying training at Cambridge, Ansty and Cranwell. He was killed in a training accident on 6 July 1940 when he accompanied another pilot during acrobatic training. After making a stall turn the aircraft failed to recover and crashed into the River Trent, killing both men. Burraston was buried at St Andrew's Church, Cranwell, on 10 July. He was the first of 12 men among the 22 Australians to lose their lives in the Second World War.