© 2019  Vintage Flying Helmets

Superb original WWI WRAF photograph


Excellent and large fornat original photograph showing three women of the WRAF in WWI. an outstanding example of the uniforms they wore c.1918-19.  Approx. 4" x 6" with slight creasing / cracking at bottom corners.


£28 / $35  / €30  email for more details

Escape / Evasion / Survival 

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Extremely rare RAF survival and rescue suit, waterproof outer, together with the even more rare down-filled, quilted inner suit.

First announced on January 1st, 1942, the Inner Waterproof Suit, 22C/443, and the Outer Waterproof Suit, 22C/444 - despite being referenced as flying clothing with 22C numbers, were not intended for use in the air, but were for use by aircrew in dinghies awaiting rescue, specifically designed for stowage in the Lindholme air-dropped lifeboats. Both parts of the suit have sleeves to allow use of the arms, but a single compartment for both legs, like a sleeping bag, for preserving body heat, and built-in flotation.

The Outer Waterproof Suit comprises a one-piece coverall with integral mitts and a hood. It is constructed from rubberized yellow poplin, backed with a black rubber waterproofed coating, the seams sealed with strips of the same material. ​ It has a 3/4-length straight zip fastener down the front, behind which is a wide rubberized gusset, to stop seepage of water through the zip closure. There are zips at the wrists so that the hands can be freed, one flap pocket and one zipped pocket to the front. It also has an integral zipped compartment, in a horseshoe shape, around the shoulders and behind the head, for installing an inflatable "Mae West" stole or bladder and kapok pads for flotation (no stole or pads are included). This example is in excellent condition, though the yellow is slightly faded. No wear, tears or damage and all zips function except one of the sleeve/hand access zips which is stuck but I suspect could be freed with a little work.

The Inner Waterproof Suit, 22C/443, is also a one-piece garment constructed of cotton poplin heavily filled with down or kapok and quilted (similar to the kapok pads ina Mae West). The inner suit also includes an integral, down-filled hood. It fastens with a 3/4-length zip, slightly offset from vertical (like the Sidcot suit). The inner suit has a crisp Air Ministry mark and stores ref. information. The outer suit has an acceptance stamp near the neck opening. 

Very few of these extremely rare survival/rescue suits are known to have survived, and this is the first example of an inner suit I have ever heard of. A remarkable find and a wonderful addition to any collection or display of RAF survival and rescue equipment.


RAF Mk II Ration Tin 27P/7 for survival kits and Beadon Suit.


Standard issue in all dinghy survival kits as well as the jungle and Arctic survival packs and the Beadon suit. Simple tin which was acked solid with barley sugar sweets, energy tablets, chewing gum and the infamous malted milk tablets. Instructions printed on the inside of the lid and contents printed on the back. Very good condition, no damage and ony light surface abrasion, with rubber sealing ring still intact inside rim of lid. No contents.

$75 / £60 / €68  email to secure this item

US survival issue P-38 tin-can opener


Standard issue in all mess kits and included in all survival kits, the simple P-38 tin opener was an invaluable necessity for opening rations. Pressed steel in two pieces, hinged with a sharp, curved blade for opening any shaped tin. Great working condition and well marked US (maker mark and number not so clear).

$45 / £37 / €41  email to secure this item

RAF dinghy pouches for specific survival / medical equipment, to be cemented to the multi-place dinghies.

Unissued and unused, these rubberized fabric cut sheets were to be glued or cemented to the inner walls and flor of multi-place dinghies carried in heavy bomber aircraft, specifically for stowage of survival and first aid equipment. 5 are offered as a set, with 4 being marked for specific use and one blank. Soft and pliable rubberized material. Never seen these anywhere on the loose before. Great display item for survival at sea or Air Sea Rescue. Sizes vary as shown. largest is approximately 6" x 6" / 150mm x 150mm, the others are 6" x 5" / 150mm x 130mm.

$55 / £45 / €50   email to secure this item

US Army camouflaged First Aid dressing.

Individual First Aid Dressing issued to all members of the US Army including AAF aircrew and paratroopers etc. Camouflaged dressing still in original waxed cardboard slider box and sealed in paper wrapping. Not a common items.

$35 / £29 / €32 email to secure this item

Incredible Red Cross POW cardboard box with known RAF history and provenance from Stalag Luft III (Sagan) and the Long March.


Red Cross Prisoner of War box (now empty) given to prisoner number 302: Flt. Sgt. R.A. Cleaver during his stay at Stalg Luft III (Sagan - famed for the Great Escape). The box was packed in the USA, shipped to Europe and distributed by the Red Cross, this one issued to Reg Cleaver. Cleaver's had survived a forced landing near Openheusen after his Halifax was shot down by a FW 190 (details can be found on the 419 Sq. website and other sites, including an interview from the Coventry Telegraph in  2010). He appeared in a documentary with David Jason when they returned with two other former prisoners to the site of Stalag Luft III.  A photograph from the film, signed by Reg Cleaver, is included. Cleaver held on to this box to store his personal effects and rations during the "Long March" from Sagan at the end of the war. In the 1980s, Reg Cleaver sold the box to a well-known (and most trusted) dealer in England, Michael Young. It has been in one collection since that time. It is sold with the original note describing the artifact. Cleaver has written his name, rank and POW number in pencil on each side of the box. A truly fantastic piece of POW history.


Scarce accessory: bailing cup for the Luftwaffe Einmannschlauchboot (1-man raft).


Collapsible rubberized fabric cup, with handle, which was issued with the Luftwaffe one-man raft to bale out water collecting in the bottom of the raft compartment. Could also be used for collecting rainwater for drinking. Collapsible cup is made from rubberized fabric, yellow outside and black inside, with a reinforced bottom and a handle fixed on the side. The rim was wire reinforced to hold its shape. Fabric has gone quite stiff from storage and age, but can still be reshaped somewhat and displays well. No holes or damage. Hard to find on the loose.

$55 / £46 / €50  email to secure this item

WWII USAAF / US Navy drift anchor and long rope for life raft.


Collapsible rubberized fabric "bucket" with long rope was dragged in the water for use as an anchor in both 1-man and multi-place life rafts. 12" long with 24" circumference. Fabric is a bit stiff but intact. Not a common accessory.

$45 / £38 / €40

email to secure this item

WWII USAAF / US Navy baling cup for life raft.


Small collapsible rubberized cup with rope for attaching to handles on 1-man and multi-place life rafts. Valuable survival tool - used to scoop water out of the bottom of the raft. Excellent condition, completely pliable.

$25 / £20 / €22

email to secure this item

RARE Kriegsmarine / Luftwaffe back pack container for the one-man life raft. 


Heavy rubberized canvas or linen back pack for the one man life raft. Both back packs and seat packs were used by Luftwaffe pilots, and back packs were also carried by U-boat and mini-sub crews. The life raft carried inside was exactly the same for both branches - a rare instance of co-operative procurement. This style pack is more usually associated with the Kriegsmarine, but it has added patches with Luftwaffe markings including the FL, number for the pack. Though a bit grubby, the pack is in very good condition, with no damage. Its white webbing straps and fastener are still attached, pockets for accessories with snap closure still present. A rare variation of an extremely rare item.

$850 / £685 / €765 

email to secure this item

WWII US Navy Type AN6520-1 one-man life raft.


AN6520-1 one-man life raft. Bright orange/yellow rubberized fabric dinghy shows very little wear except where folded. Number "15" painted on one end and instruction panel cemented in place. No other markings that I can see. Excellent example of a rare survival item. 

$350 / £285 / €315   

email to secure this item

Scarce WWII USN CO2 inflation cylinder for the one man life raft. 


Blue heavy metal cylinder painted bright blue with Kidde logo decal and stenciled nomenclature. Cylinder is dared 12/43 and empty (inert). Instruction decal is worn but all other markings clear. Valve assembly still in place. Overall vey good condition and a very difficult item to find.

$150 / £122 / €135

email to secure this item

US Navy Emergency Drinking Water Kit.


Very scarce accessory for the US Navy Pararaft and Survival back pack. Complete, unopened and still sealed Drinking Water Kit for distilling drinking water from sea water. Dated July 1945 and in excellent conditon, with no dings or dents, just a few minor surface scratches. It even includes a small envelope containing extension tapes for fitting in the early M-592 back pad kits. Also still attached to its rope lanyard for securing it to the pack.

$225 / £180 / €200   

email to secure this item

Rare and interesting RAF Survival booklet, "The Jungle Hiker" printed in India, April 1945.


This contains information as presented in the standard survival booklets, specifically tailored to airmen who might find themselves shot down in the jungle of Malaya and the East Indies. The text includes descriptions and illustrations of wildlife on land and in the water, plants that are safe to eat, how to build a shelter, first aid, etc. liberally sprinkled with Pilot Officer Prune style cartoons by J.D. Linkleter. 166-pages, 4.75" x 6.75" (120mm x 170mm) printed in 3 colours: black green and orange with a tipped in fold-out page at the beginning in black, blue and yellow. Forward by Air Marshal A. Durston, Commanding 222 Group, Indian Ocean. Very good condition, a bit grubby and slightly bent corners. Never seen this one before.

£95 / $125 / €112  email to secure this item

RARE Imperial Japanese Navy pilot's telescoping survival / rescue flag.


An extremely rare Imperial Japanese Navy pilot's rescue flag. In 30 years of collecting I have only ever seen 2 of these - and this is the second in less than a year! Patterned after the Luftwaffe telescoping flag, but made from bamboo instead of aluminium, the flag folds down to 8 inches long and extends to over 30 inches. The flag is made of very lightweight silk with kapok stuffing around the edges so it can be used to float on the water's surface to attract aircraft, or waved to attract ships. Folded, it fit into a pocket on the flying suit. In excellent condition. An extremely rare item.

£595 / $775 / €680  email to secure this item

WWII RAF small escape compass mounted in granite block.


Measuring just 1.75" (44mm) in diameter, this escape compass works perfectly and makes a very interesting display, mounted as it is in a perfectly cut and fitted stone of dark brown rock which I believe to be granite. Sadly there is no history to accompany the item. Perhaps it was made this way for concealment of some kind during the war, to weight it for hiding in water or some other substance? Or mounted later as a memento of a life it saved? We will probably never know. Beautiful item.

£60 / $75 / €66  email to secure this item

RAF Escape / Evasion map France and Spain - Cold War era (1953).


Not often encountered and obviously never used, but basically identical to World War Two issue escape maps, except much larger, this double sided map is printed on water resistant fabric (Rayon) and shows the entire area of both France and Spain, plus the south coast of England and northern coast of Morocco. Folded but in perfect condition. Ideal to go with any Cold War jet pilot display.


£28 / $35 / €30  email to secure this item

WWII US Navy life vest light.


These early, all metal body life vest lights don't turn up as often the later, plastic version. This example is in very good condition with minor paint loss and yellowing to the clear plastic dome. Pin is still affixed to the side and bulb is still present. Nice clear USN to base and BMG maker mark. 

Getting harder to find.

£30  / $40 / €34  email to reserve this item

AAF Survival on Land booklet for the C-1 Emergency Sustenance Vest (reprint).


Reproduction (reprint) of big “Survival On Land”  booklet (4" x 8", 78 pages) as issued in the Type C-1 Emergency Sustenance Vest. Published by Training Aids Division and first printed by James Gray Inc. of New York. Original date of publication was July 1944. A good quality reprint copy of this rare book.

£12  / $15 / €14  email to reserve this item

3 Safe Conduct Passes from the Korean War.


2 are identical, bearing the printed signature of Douglas McArthur; the third bears the signature of Matthew Ridgway. All show use and wear, with a few small tears, though no paper is missing. Each is 5" x 4" (129mm x 102mm) with the Ridgway version printed on heavier, better quality paper. Never run across these before. Price is for all 3.


£30  / $40 / €35  email to secure this item

USAF LRU/16P one man life raft as carried by fighter pilots flying the F-16 fighting Falcon.


Manufactured January, 1996, and with test dates up to October 2011, this modern one-man life raft clearly traces in lineage back to WWIi, being very similar in design, but with a splash cover that fastens with velcro and construction from waterproofed nylon rather than rubberized linen. In excellent condition, the boat is overall deep sea blue in colour for camouflage, but the splash cover opens up to show neon orange for hi-visibility when friendly ships or aircraft are in the vicinity. No damage that I can see, and no visible evidence of use. Modern survival equipment is quite difficult to source.


£120  / $150 / €130  email to secure this item

Rare Royal Navy marked personal First Aid Outfit for Air Crew as carried by all operational Fleet Air Arm personnel. Dated January 1944. Opened but with all legal contents.


Air  Ministry / RAF aircrew issue First Aid Kits are not all that uncommon, although they are hard to source with all contents - but those marked for Royal Navy, as used by pilots, gunners, observers and Telegraphists who flew in the Fleet Air Arm are considerably more difficult to find. This example is dated january 1944 and has been opened but has all its correct and original contents, except for the syrette which has been removed. The small, cotton-lined tin in which the syrette was stored is present. Also present is the burn jelly, burn mitten, dressing and safety pib, exactly as listed on the outside of the rubberized pouch.  Good condition - a great display item.


Priced at £205 / $250  / €242  email for more details or additional pictures

Silk Japanese prayer flag.


Though perhaps technically not a "survival" item these were considered extremely important for the wellbeing and survival of Japanese military and especially among aircrew. They were usually inscribed with the thoughts and prayers of a loved one and carried on all missions for good luck - but could also be used as signal flags in the event of being shot down and requiring rescue. This example is on finest lightweight silk which would also float on the surface of the ocean (though not specifically designed as such - floating flags with kapok stuffed edges were issued for that purpose). 35" x 26" with ties at two corners. A significant and poignant memory of the war in the Pacific.


Priced at £77 / $100  / €85  email to secure this item

British made hip flask in pewter, from veteran aircrew member's estate and  typical of the type carried by airmen.


Many aircrewmen carried these, though they were not officially "issued' - they were vital to survival in water or in cold regions while evading capture. This has been through the wars, has a few dents and dings though it looks good and remains serviceable. The owner's initials are engraved on the front "F.G.B" - flask is made in Sheffield, England from English pewter and will hold 8oz of brandy, whisky, rum or whatever your preferred survival beverage might be. Would look good with any display of survival kit. 


£55 / $75 / €60  Email to secure this item

AAF pilot / aircrew shoulder holster for the Colt M-1911 semi-automatic pistol.


Lovely used-but-not-abused example of the Colt .45 M-1911 

shoulder holster by Enger-Kress. Undated but unmistakably WWII military issue by its markings. Leather is well seasoned and in great shape with some verdigris on the metal fittings. Has what appears to be a serial number painted on the inside of the pistol compartment.


£65 / $85 / €72  email to secure this item


WWII Commercial whistle as issued to AAF and USN aviators.


Prior to the development and production of "official" whistles for survival / search and rescue purposes, US aviators of both the AAF and USN carried commercially produced sports whistles from various sources. This is an early plastic "Field Champion" whistle of exactly the type issued and carried attached to the Mae West or in early survival kits.

$25 / £20 / €23  email to secure this item