RAF NBC Over Boots

The risk of nuclear, biological or chemical warfare is one that can affect all parts of the armed forces, not just land based troops. The Royal Navy have protocols for decontaminating ships and the RAF have specialist equipment for pilots to allow them to continue fighting over a nuclear battlefield. Previously we have looked at an RAF NBC coverall inner here, today we are taking a look at another element of an aircrewman’s NBC equipment; the rubberised over boots. These boots were used to go over the airman’s feet to protect them from NBC contamination and take the form of simple black rubber socks, large enough to envelop the foot and boot and provide a seal with the rest of the NBC equipment:

These are much simpler and lighter than the over boots issued to ground troops who might be expected to wear and fight in them for lengthy periods of time. To provide a little grip, the over boot has texture moulded into the base to prevent the wearer from slipping when wearing them:

They are each stamped with a white stores label giving the code and date of manufacture, in this case 1998:

Aircrew NBC equipment was only introduced by the RAF in 1973 and it would be the mid-1980s before a full set of equipment, including specialist respirators, were available to squadrons. The use of NBC equipment has, luckily, been mostly confined to exercise so far although it would have been taken into combat during the wars in Iraq due to the high risk of chemical or biological attack from Saddam Hussein’s forces. Thankfully this threat never materialised, but training with the equipment remains part of standard procedure for RAF aircrew.

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