Air Ministry Aertex Shirt

The majority of khaki drill clothing available is that made for the Army. It was not only the army, however, that made use of KD clothing in warm climes and the RAF made extensive use of the clothing in warmer climates. The clothing itself was of a different pattern to that used by the army and had the RAF’s own ink markings applied to show it was RAF property. Today we are looking at a short sleeved KD aertex shirt used by the RAF and unusually it is a slip over the head design, rather than having buttons the full length of the front:

This shirt survived as it was used by a scout post war, the faint stitching outline of where a badge was attached can just be seen on the left breast pocket. The shirt has a pair of pockets on it, both pleated and with a shallowly scalloped top flap. The buttons are khaki-brown and made of a rubberised material that would stand up to the rigours of a native laundry far better than a harder material:

In many parts of the world, laundry was done in the traditional manner by beating the clothes against stones on the river bank to force out the dirt. British troops tended to pay local laundrymen and women to clean their clothes when overseas and hard plastic buttons would not have lasted long before being destroyed, whereas rubber buttons could take rather more punishment.

The shirt is marked with the initials AM for Air Ministry and a maker’s mark of Atlas in the collar:

The slip over the head design of this shirt is unusual in tropical clothing. Although the over the head design was still used for woollen shirts, it was a bit antiquated by this date and most tropical clothing opened right up the front for comfort so I am unsure as to the reasoning or use of this particular shirt…answers below as always if you have any more details!

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