RAF: Pre War
• Perfect Replica of the Pre WW2 RAF “Irvin” Jacket
• Period Correct Large Panels
• Heavy ¾ Sheepskin
• Triple Stitched Leather Taped Seams
• Replica RAF Zippers
• Rivetted Main Zipper
• Under Collar Strap
• Belt with Perfect Replica Buckle
• Under Arm Eyelets
The RAF Flight Jacket is one of the most famous and recognizable pieces of aviation attire in history and are amongst the most sought-after recreation jackets we make. Popularly known as ‘Irvin’ flight jackets after their designer Leslie Irvin, these jackets served as the British Royal Air Force’s answer to the problem of keeping pilots and their crew warm at high altitudes during WW2 and became as synonymous with the British airborne war effort as the Spitfire or the Lancaster Bomber.
The basic design of the Irvin RAF Flight jacket included a heavy sheepskin with honey coloured fleece, a front zip, high collar, zip sleeves, no pockets, and a front functional half belt at the waist. As the war marched on and resources became scarcer, the amount of panelling in the flight jackets increased to decrease wastage of valuable materials. This is reflected throughout our range of three RAF authentic recreation models (Pre-War, Battle of Britain and Late WW2) which share the same cut and basic design but have increasingly complex panel configurations. The early pre-war jackets were almost exclusively manufactured without horizontal seaming but with body panels joined vertically only.
All our RAF recreations have been cut and graded from original examples in our archives and we’ve worked hard to ensure every minute detail recreates the original RAF Flight Jacket. We use heavy duty British Sheepskin which has been produced to match original examples in our archives, our buckles are die cast from originals and we have perfect repro Air Ministry zippers. We would put our recreations of these iconic jackets up against any others in terms of quality and authenticity.
Today, the RAF Irvin Flight Jacket remains an iconic piece of aviation and fashion history and from military historian to fashionista, it continues to be worn by people all over the world who appreciate its timeless design and practicality. It’s stylish design and association with the heroic pilots of WW2 make it a coveted item for anyone looking to make a statement.
In 1919 an American Leslie Irvin, made the first ever free fall parachute descent using a homemade parachute constructed on a borrowed sewing machine. The invention was an instant success and became known as the Irvin parachute. Irvin opened production facilities in the UK in 1926 at the Irvin Parachute Co., in Letchworth, Herts, where the famous RAF Sheepskin Flying Jacket was to be "born". The first of these jackets, popularly known as "The Irvin", went into production in 1931 and quickly became the emblematic jacket of RAF aviators. The need for the jackets that WW2 brought meant The Irvin Parachute Co couldn’t keep up with demand, and so production was outsourced to several contractors as the Irvin factory concentrated primarily on the parachutes.
We generally recommend ordering your usual size for our R.A.F. styles for the intended fit (normally the one closest to your relaxed chest measurement), but you can also size up for a more relaxed fit room to add heavier layers as these jackets were often worn oversized (they were usually worn over uniforms). We don't often recommend sizing down for a very neat fit but it can sometimes work with the extra room allowed by the under arm gussets, however sizing down doesn't leave much room for additional layering.
Don’t worry, all sizing information displayed here is only a guide. Every order placed is checked over by a member of our production team who will confirm your size selection against your measurements or recommend any necessary changes that need to be made. If you have any specific queries, you can note these in the special instructions box on the ‘measurements’ page when placing your order.