Battledress blouse : Flight Lieutenant Glenorchy Mc Bride, RAAF, 101 Beach Squadron RAF

Place Europe: France, Normandy
Accession Number REL49431
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton twill, Embroidery cotton thread, Metal, Plastic, Wool serge
Maker CWS Ltd
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

RAAF blue wool serge battledress blouse with fold down collar and two pleated patch breast pockets with concealed button closure. The blouse fastens down the centre by five black plastic buttons, and at the throat by a pair of hooks and eyes. The belted waist is gathered and fastened by a blackened brass buckle. The cuffs of the sleeve are fastened by concealed buttons. The blouse also has a shoulder strap with rank stripes for a flight lieutenant on each shoulder secured by a black plastic button. Each upper sleeve carries a pale blue embroidered 'AUSTRALIA' title, and a red embroidered, second pattern, Combined Operations badge. A medal ribbon for the 1939-45 Star is sewn above the left breast pocket. The inside of the collar, cuffs, waist and placket are lined with a dark blue cotton fabric. The fabric lining the rear waistband has two button holes for securing the trousers. There is a side opening internal pocket on the left hand side. A white cotton label sewn inside the right side reads 'SUITS, AIRCREW BLOUSE R.A.A.F. Size No. 12' followed by sizing and makers details, a Broad Arrow, and the date '1944'.

History / Summary

Glenorchy McBride, born 1901, was considered too old to serve in the RAAF in WW2, and instead answered a British RAF advertisment for administrative officers, which was accepted. His initial postings were to India, Burma, China and the Maldives before he had himself posted back to Britain for treatment for alleged incipient insanity. The medical assesment was reversed once he reached England.

In the run up to the D-Day landings he was appointed a Beachmaster with Combined Operations, but refused to accept the position unless he could land as an Australian, wearing an Australian uniform. Such was his reputation for efficiency that he was hastily discharged from the RAF, enlisted in the RAAF (although nominally attached to 101 Beach Squadron RAF) and provided with an RAAF uniform. He was the only member of the RAAF to served on the Normandy beaches on D-Day.