RAF High Leggings

Tonight we are looking at a pair of RAF high webbing leggings. These were introduced in 1936 for use with the new RAF Service Dress and replaced the previous puttees that had been used since the RAF’s foundation in 1918. The leggings are made of blue grey webbing, and shaped to fit round the wearer’s calves:

FullSizeRender6They are secured by four interlocking cord loops, known as Dutch lacing:FullSizeRender3These are secured by a single webbing strap at the top:FullSizeRender1Which fastens through a single brass buckle:FullSizeRender2This pair are dated 1937 and 1938, and have are a size 3. They also have a stores number and the crown and AM mark of the Air Ministry:

FullSizeRender5The leggings were originally introduced for the use of officers when they replaced breeches with trousers; the leggings were for wear in bad weather. When trousers were also introduced for Airmen, the wear of leggings was extended to them. The wearing of these high leggings was very brief and they appear in some early photos of the RAF in France and the Battle of Britain but then disappear. They seem never to have been reissued and that might explain the good condition of the examples appearing on the collectors market. Most, like these, are as good today as the day they were made over seventy years ago. These leggings are easily available on eBay and from other collectors sites, and despite the sellers’ claims they are not rare and you should be able to hunt round and get them for under ten pounds.

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