RAF Kit Bag

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:

imageThe kitbag is made of an, admittedly dirty, white heavy duty cotton duck, with a blue band around the body. The airman has stencilled ‘RAF 3121217 6/49’ onto the front in black paint:

FullSizeRenderThis 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:FullSizeRender1Around 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:FullSizeRender1Most interestingly of all though is a list of where the airmen has been posted in his career:FullSizeRenderThe list reads:

RAF Padgate

RAF West Kirby

RAF Cosford

RAF Lindholme

RAF Binbrook

RAF Waddington

RAF Hornchurch

HMS Swiftsure

Germany (Flensburg)

Denkmark (Aarhus)

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:standardThese 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.


3 thoughts on “RAF Kit Bag

  1. Pingback: Officer’s Kit Bag | Tales from the Supply Depot

  2. Pingback: Indian Made Kit Bag | Tales from the Supply Depot

  3. Pingback: Small Post War RAF Kit Bag | Tales from the Supply Depot

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