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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RFC Officers` Uniform


PhilB

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I watched Aces High yesterday (for the umpteenth time). It was noticeable that, when in the mess, the officers all seemed to wear what looked like jodhpurs and brown riding boots. Yet, in actual photos, they more usually wear puttees. Was this poetic licence from the filmmaker or was it the case? Was it an attempt(by whom?)to make them look more like cavalry than infantry?

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Phil. I had the honour a while ago to actually wear a RFC flying coat (a great weight I may add) and contained within this officers holdall were a pair of brown riding boots AND his puttees rolled up (like a bandage would be). Perhaps either worn on different occasions, just a thought. Ralph.

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Phil. A picture of the flying coat and his boots are on a post I made on the 2nd May last year under Amazing afternoon, forum = War in the Air. Ralph.

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It was the officers choice. I suspect when not on flying duty or station the standard riding boots were worn, but from a practical standpoint in the cocpit the typical riding boots would be cumbersome, ankle boots and puttees would be more utilitarian. Now, there are all manner of permutations though, in many pictures guys are wearing long homemade wool socks and shoes, rubber boots etc., whatever was preferred or practical operational RFC stations could be as casual as a fraternity or as spit polished as the palace , depending on the commander etc,.

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Thanks Ralph. Were brown riding boots standard issue to RFC officers the?

Brown riding boots were not standard issue to RFC officers, and many officers wore puttees which were probably more comfortable to wear in an aircraft. Other Ranks would typically wear puttees.

As of December 1916, the thigh-length sheepskin lined ' Fug ' boots invented by Major Lanoe Hawker V.C., D.S.O. would have been worn when flying.

Regards,

LF

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These are the uniform regulations for the newly formed RAF in 1918, but I suspect this is exactly the same as for the RFC:

"Footgear.- With breeches - brown field boots or brown boots with puttees or gaiters or brown stockings with shoes for aerodrome and similar wear. With trousers - brown boots or shoes with brown socks."

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If the regulations call for "brown field boots", which I take to be riding boots, would they not be issued?

They would be like most officers kit usually was, privately purchased and subject to the whims of the wearer (within certain limits of course).

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