Striking by Night: uniforms
The bomber aircrew dressed for survival. Connections to the leather flying helmet and face-mask were provided for oxygen and an intercom. Life vests were brightly coloured for easy recognition by air-sea rescue units, and a harness (with a quick release buckle) was worn for a parachute that was normally stowed separately. A heavy, warm flying suit was worn by crewmen operating in the unheated positions in the aircraft. The cold and draughty rear gunner’s turret was the most uncomfortable, remote, and dangerous position.
A typical uniform consisted of:
- C type flying helmet
- G type Oxygen Mask
- Parachute chest type, Mae West, life saving waist coast
- Flying Boots were dark brown, rubber golosh shoe, lined with sheepskin, zipped at the front but could vary in pattern
- Blue battledress blouse and trousers, RAAF blue shirt, and black tie
- Flying Gloves
- Whistled pinned to the tunic
- Escape kit, with a compass sewn into part of his uniform
The mid upper gunner and rear gunner would also wear a flying suit as these positions meant that they was exposed to the elements. It was electrically wired and adapted for use under extreme conditions by using a variety of electrically heated linings, gloves and boot liners.