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RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

Article about: I've worn my coat about a dozen times now, and just yesterday I noticed something new! There was plenty of sunlight coming through the window, that when I opened the closet door, I could jus

  1. #1

    Default RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    I just bought an RCAF Greatcoat online from a shop in Hampshire UK.
    Interestingly, It was made by Firth Bros. in Hamilton Ontario, shipped to England, and now I have it in Milton Ontario. That's just 25 miles from where it was made.

    It's difficult for me to find much information about RCAF coats, but I assume they are similar or the same as RAF design and construction.

    One thing that stands out, is it's length. The UK shop described it as "short", and indeed it just goes past my bottom when worn.

    It has regular grey buttons on the front, and none on the cuffs. No badges or markings.

    I'm looking for any more info you guys can provide. I can get some pics of it if anyone is interested.

    Also, I found a full set of gold "RCAF" buttons online for only $20CAD. A price I couldn't argue. I'm wondering if I should use them with the coat, or if it's best to leave the grey plastic ones in place?

    And since this coat was meant to be worn, I plan to wear it through Winter months.

  2. #2

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    Hi, and welcome to the forum!

    Please post some pics. It sounds like it was cut down. If so, I would keep it as is.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    I need a sunny day for better full photos, but anyways...

    Lower bottom detail

    Liner of left pocket

    Inside bottom right

    Buttons inside left, the piece to hold the collar closed is missing.

    A google search for "RCAF Greatcoat" will find a couple coats that seem short. This coat is 85cm from collar stitch to bottom of coat. (measured at the back centre)

  4. #4

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    I did a Google search for "Firth Brothers Hamilton". Wikipedia has a page for Cannon Street Hamilton, where it listed a landmark: "Firth Brothers Ltd. (5-storey factory building)". Streetview let me find this building and sure enough, you can see where it once had lettering over the door "Firth Bros." when you use the web tool.

    The address brings up Coppley (Coppley) who must now reside in the building. They have been in Hamilton since 1856. Though their connection to Firth Bros. is likely just a vacant building they bought.

    Not the info I was looking for with this coat, but interesting none the less.

  5. #5

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    Hi, not a pattern I am familiar with? But to me it looks made that length and not cut down.

    Cheers, Ade.

  6. #6

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    Hi Baron,

    I've been collection RCAF uniforms forquite some time now, so I took the opportunity to inspect the greatcoats in my RCAF collection. I have an Officer's as well as an Other Ranks greatcoat. Both have the brass King's Crown RCAF buttons are are full length. I can check several of my reference books later and see what I can find, but like Ade, I don't recall this style .

    Another resource, if Ade doesn't mind my posting, is Airdiggers. That site, run by Chris Kanca, deals with RAF and the Commonwealth air services, including the RCAF. Here's a link:
    Air Diggers -- WW2 British and Commonwealth Militaria


  7. #7

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    haha, small world.
    I stumbled upon their forum one night. Not only that, we seem to have both posted about an ammo pouch!

    Thanks for the info so far, Ade and Gary.


  8. #8

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    The style of this coat is makes it a "British Warm" rather than a greatcoat. British Warms were a popular garment for officers, and in the British Army were regulation for Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels, and an optional garment for officers below that rank. It was usually worn with no or minimal insignia. I'm not sure of RAF and RCAF policy on these coats, so can't comment on its exact use. It may not be an actual issue item. It could be an item of officers clothing sold through the RCAF stores system, a quite common practice, or a garment for Warrant Officers possibly?


  9. #9

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    Hi Gary, no problem with the link.

    Hi Rob, I can agree with all you say. A friend is coming over to see me tonight as we are having a party. He is a big RAF/RCAF collector. He is on the forum so I will get him to take a look.

    Cheers, Ade.

  10. #10

    Default Re: RCAF Greatcoat. Looking for info.

    Wow, great info Rob, thanks.

    The shop I got this coat from suggested it seemed to be un-issued. I did a Google search for "British warm" and one of the first pictures was the King wearing this style.

    I'll have to share this info with my Doctor Who watching friends and see if they start calling me Brigadier.

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