Named 1936 Pattern RAF Flying Boots

Discussion in 'Related Gear' started by Roughwear, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    I recently bought an early pair of size 10 '36 Pattern boots. The seller knew nothing about them. They have clear 1937 dates in both boots. I noticed on one tab W.H.S. and Stratton written on the other tab. I have done some research and the only candidate I can find is William H. Stratton (Bill "Statters" as he was known when serving in France in 1939-40) who was a New Zealander who served with No. 1 Squadron in the Battle of France. Stratton was born in 1916, joining the RAF on a short Service Commission in July 1937, the year the boots were made, and died in 2006. Here is his obituary.

    "Air Vice-Marshal William Stratton, CB, CBE, DFC and bar. Pilot. Died aged 89 on 27 January 2006

    Hastings-born William Stratton was one of the first fighter pilots to see action with the Royal Air Force in World War II.

    With the RAF's 1 Squadron flying Hurricanes, he was sent to France as the Germans were invading and sweeping the British Expeditionary Force towards Dunkirk.

    He was credited with sharing in the destruction of the first German Messerschmitt 110 to be shot down by the RAF in France.

    Stratton had been keen on flying from early times in Hawkes Bay and he obtained his pilot's licence with the Western Federated Flying Club.

    By 1937 he was in England with the RAF.

    The citation for his first Distinguished Flying Cross awarded in November 1940 noted that in his first combat on March 29, 1940, "This officer assisted in shooting down two Messerschmitt 110s...his courage and ability are both of a very high standard".

    Altogether he was credited with shooting down at least five aircraft and received a bar to his DFC when a squadron leader with 134 Squadron in 1943, leading it in the Middle East and India.

    He left the RAF in May 1944 and joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

    There followed many career appointments including being commanding officer of Ohakea and finishing his career as Chief of the Air Staff from 1969 to 1971."

    The boots are in very good condition with no moth damage to the sheepskin lining. Below is a picture of him with John Kilmartin.

    D97x7, Smithy, falcon_ib and 2 others like this.
  2. CBI

    CBI Well-Known Member

    wow - great!!!!
  3. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Thank you John. They were indeed a lucky find!
  4. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Those are awesome Andrew and such provenance! He's also mentioned in Richey's classic Battle of France memoir "Fighter Pilot".
  5. dujardin

    dujardin Well-Known Member

    yes for sure a lucky find

    they are splendid

    with such an history

    congratsss, good catch
  6. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Thank you Marcel. I am delighted with them.

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