Post War RAF Battledress Blouse

Previously we have looked at the RAF War Service Dress, tonight we turn to the post war variation of this uniform. Much like the army did with its 49 pattern battledress, the RAF redesigned its working uniform in the late 1940s to give it proper lapels to allow it to be worn with a shirt and tie:imageAs can be seen the uniform, dubbed War Service Dress, New Pattern, closely resembles the battledress in use by the army at this period. It is made of blue serge cloth and has two pleated patch pockets; one on each breast:imageThese are secured by black plastic RAF buttons with Queen’s crowns:imageThis change to exposed pocket buttons closely mirrored the changes the Army had introduced with its 49 pattern blouse. The waist is secured by a hook and eye and so does not have the buckle seen on army uniforms:imageThe cuffs are also more elaborate:imageThis particular uniform was clearly made for other airmen rather than officers and comes with the RAF albatross badges sewn to each shoulder:imageThese are embroidered rather than printed and are typical of the immediate post war period. The jacket has a maker’s label sewn into the lining:imageThis blouse is a size 13 and was manufactured by William Brownlee & Co Ltd. This style of uniform was finally dropped in 1972, but continued in use for Air Cadets for many more years, this view taken in the 1970s shows cadets at camp at RAF Wattisham wearing the post war RAF BD blouse:573906917As with much post war uniform, this pattern is widely ignored by collectors more interested in wartime uniforms and equipment. As such it is currently worth less than a tenth the price of a wartime War Service Dress.

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