RAF Shirt Collar

Following on from the Army shirt collar we looked at a few weeks back here, tonight we are considering the RAF removable collar. In form it is almost identical to the previous example, but made in light blue rather than khaki fabric:imageIt is attached to the shirt with the same two press studs as the army collar, but this example is from the post war period and has a large trade logo indicating it is ‘truberised’:imageQuite what this means is unclear, but seems to indicate that the wearer does not have to starch the collar to keep it stiff. The manufacturer is marked as ER Ltd, further along the collar is a stores code ‘22B/267’ and a /|\ mark:imageThe ’15’ is presumably the collar size in inches. A 1940 dated stores list indicated that every airman was to be issued with six collars and three shirts, indicating that they were expected to wear the shirt for two days, changing the collar daily for cleanliness. The RAF issued new recruits with these shirts and collars when they started their training, which for some eighteen year olds leaving home for the first time could cause unexpected difficulties:

The day following our arrival, we were all marched to the stores where a seemingly endless amount of clothing and equipment was issued to the recruits. As each recruit passed each stores counter, the stores clerk would demand the size of shirts, shoes, etc. This was when I encountered my first problem, because I had no idea what sizes I required as hitherto my mother had always dealt with such matters. The only remedy for the problem was to fall out of line and check inside my shoes for the required number and to inveigle one of the recruits waiting in line to read the shirt size off the back of my shirt collar. The issue of the uniform was an easier procedure. We simply walked through the stores hut past a civilian seated behind a trestle table who after looking us up and down once or twice handed out a chitty with three sets of figures listed in columnar form. At each point in the stores where an item was to be issued, we showed the chitty and the RAF stores clerk issued the correct size of tunic, or trousers, or greatcoat. It seemed that the civilian rarely made a mistake in sizing up each recruit although later any unlucky ones had the chance to have things changed.

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