Care/Preservation of WW2 Bomber Jacket


New Member
I have just come into possession of a WW2 leather bomber jacket. It is in pretty good condition with a few small tears on the back near the shoulders and the color has some flaking. I am asking for advice on what to do because after doing research basically everyone says to out the jacket in a garment bag and leave it their. I would like to display mine but im afraid if I try to put it on a mannequin I might further damage it in stiffer places. The flaking on the back I would like to lessen is their a way? The patch from my research was the unofficial patch of the 357th bombardment squadron. Any info on what to do it greatly appreciated.



Well-Known Member
Welcome to VLJ!
The best thing that you can do for that jacket is to get it off that hanger right now . One of the reasons that jacket is coming apart at the shoulders is that it’s seen too many years on hangers and the weight of the jacket has stretched the leather to its limits . Now it’s starting to separate at the shoulders . Now from what I can see from your photos the jacket looks to have some dry rot issues . That’s not fixable unless you have someone take the jacket apart and replace sleeve or shoulder pieces, which is very costly . For display purposes you can have it mounted in a picture type of display or wrap it around a mannequin. On the dry parts of the leather I use a very light coat of Picards Leather dressing to bring some life and flexibility back into the leather . Others use different products . If you want to have the jacket restored we have a few outstanding members here who can restore your jacket back to wearable condition and replace all damaged parts and put new WWII repro rust knits on it for you . Ok that’s it for me .

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Before you do anything except take it off the hanger, you need to reinforce the tears in the shoulder/sleeve head from behind
If you are even half confident at having a go I can talk you through it, it's not difficult to do just care and patience A half hour fix at most
The jacket is a stunner,once these tears are sorted no need to worry about displaying it, with a tail wind it'll probably be fine to wear occasionally with care

BUT Never put it back on a hanger

Bombing IP

Well-Known Member
That jacket is shot ,put it on a manikin and enjoy it or donate it to a museum . Its repairable but at a very very high cost ! .

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Hi im interested in how to reinforce the tears?
You need a about a square foot of very thin leather with a sueded surfasce, either backing or top side but it needs a finish that the glue will adhere to
Glace Kid is a good choice as it's very thin and exceptionally strong
You'll also tub of rubber solution glue, we've always used Copydex, get a tub with an attached brush, the bristles are perfect for glue
Having a fine artist brush handy is also worthwhile for filling in very close to the tear edges (see below)

First thing I'd do would be to unpick the sleeve lining for approx 3" down from either side of the shoulder seam so there was a 6" gap in the lining at the head of the sleeve to work through
Cut the backing patch at least 1/2" bigger (1" is better) all round than you'll need to back the hole/tear, it's really important for the overall appearance not to glue right to the edge of the patch as it'll leave a visible impression on the exterior and glue a suede side up leather patch under the tear
Set the patch, suede side up, under the tear and get everything lying as flat as you can.
Glue the exterior leather, the A-2 alongside the biggest side of the tear only glue one side at this point.
Smooth it over, check it quickly as moving it isn't an option once the glue dries
60 secs approx any excess glue on the shell will rub off easily with your finger (It goes intoi little rubber balls as Copydex doesn't stick well to leather, only to suede.) Then do the opposite edge of the tear, here's where the fine artists brush might help, Nice tight jigsaw on both edges
Repeat on the back tear
If you feel there are creases, cracks that look suspect glue a strip along the crease, again it's vital not to glue right tio thr edge of the internal patch
Now the reinforcing patch is fixed in place, carefully glue the back of the A-2 tear and fit it against the other side of the tear, like a jigsaw piece. Don't worry if you get glue on the exterior here as

Done right this and the damaged aera will be will be at least as strongas the rest of the A-2 and the repairs, so long as you get the two edges neatly butted up against each other, look like a crease or scar in the leather.

Hand sew up the unpicked sleeve lining, darn the knit and you are done.

Once the leather is treated then you can decice whether it's a wearer or a display. Either way yyou've got a stunner there asnd that particular 1942 Aero Seal HH is probably the toughest leatherb used by the AAF during WW2
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New Member
Hi All,

I have been reading several posts about care/preservation of A-2s. Most advice seems to favor doing nothing and not putting conditioners or any treatments on when possible. If a must, a little Picard or Beeswax is typically what I’ve heard used/suggested. Similar to the original post in this thread I have come into an A-2 that I’d consider “helping”. I thought I’d come here for advice. Something was applied in the past and it has left a white residue covering the jacket. At this point should I leave alone on the mannequin or should I try a moist cloth first and then apply a small amount of something to it to try and remove the white residue?



Well-Known Member
That’s a beautiful jacket that’s well worth trying to stabilize and to bring it back into top shape . From your photo it looks like old wax has dried on the surface of the hide . I would take a damp cloth and heat it in a micro wave until warm and then LIGHTLY rub a small area, crease or corner of the jacket to see if any of it comes off . If it works I would proceed by doing small sections of the jacket working my way through to completion . Warm water and a damp cloth lightly rubbed shouldn’t hurt the jacket BUT !!!! STAY OFF THE PAINTED AREAS OF THE JACKET .!!
Let us know how it turns out .