Although we did not have a Tuesday Finds post this week, I did strike lucky at the second hand market and I picked up this rather nice RAF kitbag:
This indicates his service (RAF), his number (3121217) and his date of enlistment, June 1949. The bag itself however is slightly earlier as the inner flap contains an Air ministry marking and date of 1942:Around the top of the bag are brass eyelets through which a brass kitbag handle can be passed to help carry the bag and padlock it shut:Most interestingly of all though is a list of where the airmen has been posted in his career:The list reads:
RAF West Kirby
The most interesting posting is HMS Swiftsure, which was a Minotaur class cruiser. Quite what an RAF airmen was doing aboard her is anybody’s guess, but possibly she was used to transport some RAF personnel across the channel or they were attached to her for liaison work. Sadly there does not appear to be any name or rank on the bag to identify its original owner beyond his number, looking online it would appear this number was that for a Flight Lieutenant J A P Withers but that is as far as my research has led so far.
The kit bags were used to carry an airman’s extra clothing and personal belongings between postings and can often be seen in period photographs being carried by RAF personnel at railway stations or stacked up at the side of an airfield for transfer onto a plane:These kitbags continued in use until the mid 1950s when they were replaced by a completely blue version. They do come up for sale quite regularly and shouldn’t cost the collector more than about £10.