Great photos, excellent story!, there is something special about owning and wearing something with such provenance! Well done to you both.Thanks for sharing, your efforts are much appreciated.
I agree completely. You put my feelings into words better than I could have. There's something special about "the real deal," even when it's just an authentic civilian item rather than something that has seen service. I remember buying a late-19th century book about Napoleon when I was maybe nine years old--I had no particular interest in Napoleon, but I just thought that it was so cool that I could hold and own this piece of history. Add the gravity of the war and the sacrifices the wearer would have made (even if he came away physically unscathed), and it's something else...This may very well be the aviation/museum historian in me talking but this for me is the epitome, an original with provenance, duly researched using primary documents to tell the story of the person who used the object.
People can arse on about repros and how "accurate" they are but this demonstrates how even the most highly accurate repro will never come close, and always be a pale pretender to the real deal.
Whenever I was handling something like an A-2, a flying helmet, a pair of goggles, etc, etc at the museum which had seen service the thing that always hit me and I never lost the impact of that feeling was how that object had "been there".
Not only have you wonderfully detailed an artefact (wanky word I know but that's the technical term!) which has "been there" but you've documented the life of the man who lived those dangerous moments in it.
That will always put even the very best repro to shame.