British, Personal Gear, WW2

WW2 RAF Equipment for Sale

The RAF played such an important role during WW2. Firstly, defending the UK from the Luftwaffe and onwards into pushing the German Panzer divisions back across Normandy. Then continuing to push the Germans back with bombing raids deeper and deeper into German-occupied Europe. Items used by these brave men are always of interest to collectors and reenactors so here we have a small selection of WW2 RAF equipment for sale.

RAF / SOE Signalling Mirror

WW2 RAF SOE mirror for sale
A Royal Air Force / SOE signalling mirror with protective packet.

This is a Special Operations Executive’s ‘Escape and Evasion’ Signalling Mirror. The SOE was basically the RAF’s special forces branch; a secret organisation whose objective was to gather intelligence and sabotage the enemy. This mirror would  have been used by SOE agents as well as downed RAF pilots to send morse code in the hopes that a rescuing plane would spot them. It is in great condition and comes with its original cover. Both mirror and cover have some wear commensurate with an item that is nearly 80 years old. These do not come onto the market very often, so do not miss it.

Available from Vigo Militaria £85.

Pair of RAF 1940 Flying Boots

Next up we have a pair of WW2 RAF 1940-pattern boots. Its outer material is suede although it has a rubberised material on the lower part – similar to galoshes – to make it more resistant to water and mud. The inside is lined with wool for warmth. It was quite chilly 25,000 feet in the air after all!

The boots have a large zip running down the front, with a leather tongue behind. They assisted with taking off and putting on these heavy boots. The zippers on this pair are in working order. They are size 8, which is a decent size. The soles have the Air Ministry’s mark clearly visible. It is getting increasingly difficult to find examples of this pattern boots.

RAF 1940 pattern flying boots for sale
RAF 1940 pattern flying boots.
Heel and sole
Sole markings

Available from The Collector’s Guild $498.

RAF WW2 Blue Canvas Gaiters

WW2 RAF blue canvas gaiters for sale
RAF blue canvas gaiters


Every soldier would have been issued a set of gaiters. They were a very useful piece of equipment, as they helped keep stones and other bits of debris out of your boots. Even today, many hikers or trail runners use them for this purpose. However, during WW2 when you were in combat, you definitely didn’t want to stop to take stones out of your boots to avoid blisters and generally being uncomfortable. So, gaiters were a must!

This set is unused and undated but it does have a maker’s mark and a War Department arrow inket into the blue webbing. At the affordable price of £25, it would be a great addition to any RAF reenactor’s outfit. Comes in a size 3.

M. W. & S. LTD markings on the gaiters
Internal markings and date

Available from Regimentals £25.
Regimentals Militaria

1939-pattern RAF Binocular Case

Another crucial piece of equipment an RAF soldier would have had is his set of binoculars. And with that of course, the binocular case. They had different patterns as the design evolved through the war, but this 1939-pattern case is quite hard to find.

It has Air Ministry (‘AM’) markings stamped into the leather in the front of the case. Earlier examples of the binocular case are harder to find so this would be a special addition to any collection. It’s in overall good condition and although the buckle on the back has been removed, all other fittings are intact, including the shoulder strap. The strap was often taken off so this is indeed a rare find.

The lid opens and closes properly.
Close-up of the markings

        Available from CS Militaria £95.

1942-pattern Mae West Life Preserver

1942-pattern Mae West Life Preserver for sale
Mae West exterior

As we discuss regularly, during WW2 there was a huge change in many military items and life jackets were no different. In 1941 the Mk1 ‘Mae West’ was introduced. However, what we have here is the later pattern with the added canvas handles on the front and the pocket mount on the lower right for a flashlight and a battery. 

The Collector’s Guild has this fantastic example for sale as a set. Should you purchase it, you will receive the main Mae West life preserver complete with its flotation pad, a whistle, and a signalling mirror. It is well marked exactly as it should be with the Air Ministry proof stamp and testing information along with stores reference numbers. The “Heliograph” mirror and all the straps are still intact.

Rear view
It is profusely stamped inside with stores numbers and AM testing details.
Mae West internal parts
Mae West internal parts.

Available from The Collector’s Guild $995.

WW2 RAF Small Pack with L-Straps

WW2 RAF Backpack
RAF Backpack
RAF Backpack rear with L-strap
Backpack WD 1941 markings

The next item on our list is a standard issue British army small pack that has been reissued to the RAF and blancoed in blue. It comes complete with its correct L-Straps attached. Manufacturing in canvas and dying it blue was more time consuming and costly for the RAF so it became common that soldiers would chose to blanco an army example. The pack is well maker’s marked and dated 1941 alongside the army War Department arrow.

Available from Battleflag Militaria £25.

RAF Air Crew First Aid Outfit

WW2 Air Crew Red Cross Dressing for sale
Air Crew Red Cross pack in packet

Another rare item to find here. A complete and unused first aid pack that would have been issued to each airman in the RAF for emergency use. This example is sealed in its original rubberised pouch which is around 15cm square. Well Air Ministry marked with a King’s Crown stamp, the contents are still intact including the anti-burn jelly, mittens and a wound dressing. It has never been opened, which in itself is a rarity.

Air Ministry markings

Available from CS Militaria £345.

WW2 RAF C-Type Flying Helmet & Mask

WW2 RAF C-Type flying helmet for sale
RAF C-Type flying helmet
WW2 RAF C-Type flying helmet for sale
Rear view

Flying helmets are among the most-collected RAF items. They are becoming increasingly difficult to find. This example here is in overall good condition and is the C-Type flying helmet worn by pilots. On the inside lip you can clearly make out a maker’s mark and the size (7 1/2) alongside some other stamp that are presumably stock codes of some sort.

Along with this helmet comes the headphones with the long lead and plug attached. Plus the H-Type oxygen mask which is (as they so often are) heavily marked War Department and Air Ministry. To add in an extra bit of interest, the helmet is named in a couple of places making it worthy of research.

Helmet interior
Interior stamps and names

Available from Regimentals £650.
Regimentals Militaria

RAF Aerial Reconnaissance Camera

WW2 RAF Aeroplane Camera for sale
RAF Aeroplane Camera and a period photograph of one being used.

Finally today, we have an F24 reconnaissance camera. This pattern of camera was used in most aerial reconnaissance operations during WW2 and continued in service into the 1950s. The example shown here is the correct WW2 pattern with the two handles. You can see this in the period photo shown above. Most of the original paintwork is intact and the data plaques remain in place with the classic Air Ministry markings. The seller isn’t sure if the camera is still functional, but even as a static display, this is a lovely period item for any collection.

Side and rear view
Close-up of the data plates and markings

Available from JC Militaria £395.

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