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1943 Australian "V505" Flight Jacket

33-1729

Active Member
This post is for dinomartino1, who found a contract reference to make flying jackets for the Dept. of the Army by Simpsons Gloves Pty, Ltd., Vic. in the June 1943 Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Most likely for the Australian made A-2 jacket labeled the V505. A great find!

Pictures of the Australian V505 flight jacket are usually scattered about, so here’s just one well-preserved flight jacket with lots of pictures. It sold on Nov 16, 2016 for 949.99USD on eBay.

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33-1729

Active Member
Roughwear had only seen V505 jackets with Zipp zippers and believed it to be made of “cow hide as the pebble finish which is typical of goatskin is quite irregular, with smooth areas which you do not find on goatskin”. Horses were rare in 1943 Australia, so horsehide was not a viable local option.

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33-1729

Active Member
Here’s one that sold recently for $167.00
Thank you for posting!

It looks like both jackets have an ink stamp near the label. From the reference you posted it looks like "H.F." to me, near where the owner wrote his name (David Randall R1212). Does anyone know what it may be and what it represents?

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33-1729

Active Member
This is from a third V505. This looks a bit more like the one on the first post, but a different ink stamp. Anyone have any ideas on what it is?

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Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
back in the day, there was speculation that the oz a-2s were made of kangaroo. not that anyone in oz would have missed em, as there were plenty.
 

33-1729

Active Member
back in the day, there was speculation that the oz a-2s were made of kangaroo. not that anyone in oz would have missed em, as there were plenty.
A great story, but the use of kangaroo skin is highly unlikely for a couple of reasons. There was no kangaroo leather industry during the 1940’s that would have been able to supply enough kangaroo leather for such a contract and if they were made for U.S. use (I’ve seen more than one V505 with a 5th Air Force patch), then US regulations wouldn’t have permitted an untested substitute leather for the construction of the jacket. That narrows it to what was permitted for use on A-2 jackets: horse (not many horses in 1943 Australia), goat or cow (most likely based on appearance). DNA test would confirm.
 
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Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
the question that begs to be asked, would us regulations be adhered to in oz in the early mid 40s? "tie me kangaroo mate" seems to me that all countries during wwll used what was at hand, why, even biplanes and jackets from the 30s. all in all, i suspect that sheepskin and or goat is most likely, though i would not rule out roo.
 

33-1729

Active Member
the question that begs to be asked, would us regulations be adhered to in oz in the early mid 40s? "tie me kangaroo mate" seems to me that all countries during wwll used what was at hand, why, even biplanes and jackets from the 30s. all in all, i suspect that sheepskin and or goat is most likely, though i would not rule out roo.
Perhaps, but a DNA test would confirm.

For kangaroo I would rule that out for a few other reasons too. Besides not being available in quantity at the time (that pretty much does it), kangaroo skins are thin, smooth, lightweight, and large sizes for a one-piece A-2 back are not that common. These are not the characteristics of the V505. Below is a picture of a kangaroo jacket and note the very smooth kangaroo skin versus the grain of any V505. Whatever the V505 may be, kangaroo doesn't look like it. Looks more like my shell cordovan shoes.

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33-1729

Active Member
I just received a note from the National Archives of Australia that they located the meeting records that would contain information on the specific flying jackets contract, 10,776 Req. 18669, from the Department of U.S. Army to Simpsons Gloves Pty. Ltd., Vic. It is too large to copy electronically, so I hired a researcher to pull out the specific contract information and let you know what they find. Hopefully, more details about the flying jacket (V505 A-2?) that VLJ member dinomartino1 found in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, Canberra, June 24, 1943, no. 137, p. 1313!
 
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