A pair of RAF D Type gauntlets as worn by aircrew in bombers or large multi-engine aircraft. Marked “Billy”.
Made from sheepskin, gauntlets like these were issued to aircrew during the Second World War to protect the exposed parts of the body (hands, feet, head) from sub-zero temperatures. These particular ones are marked “Billy” although it remains a mystery what his real name was.
Interestingly, during the Second World War, there was a resurgence of the use of natural materials (such as sheep skin) to help meet equipment requirements where man-made materials were either not available in large quantities, or in the case of flying kit, simply not up to the task. Wool, as a natural fibre is a wonderful resource as it retains warmth even when wet, hydrates skin (due to natural lanolin) and even has a mild anti-bacterial property.
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