From the 1974/3 edition of the Canadian Armed Forces journal Sentinel, Volume 10, number 3; which featured the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Remember when …
Remember when officers and WO1s strutted around in their tailormade baratheas and airmen were cursed with the heavy, fuzzy, melton uniform?
And you couldn't do much with the indestructible, canvas-lined "iron-suit." Unlike comfortable army battledress or natty navy tiddlys, the RCAF uniform of wartime and immediate post-war years defied improvement. It just "was." By the time you got the fuzzy nap worn off. the seams were splitting and you were issued with a new one.
But we tried.
We put a bash in our hat and sewed on Canada flashes every time we were off the base. The hat badge was "rounded" by poking it into a drainhole with a broomhandle. We soaped the inside of our trouser creases to sharpen them up.
Our Steve Canyon hero shows the slightly stooped posture caused from wearing the wide, no-elastic "Police" braces under his skin-tight tunic. Elastic must have been in short supply … the issue undershorts featured dainty string bows on each side to hold them temporarily in place.
Our hero has left behind his issue oil-cloth raincoat which, treated with some strange preservative, literally stunk to high heaven, especially when wet, especially when there were 50 men to a barrack-room.
But our dapper young airman is prepared for a happy weekend. He's wearing his "Spiffy" collar-stay to keep his soft collar in shape. No doubt it will spring loose just as he's making a pitch for some sweet young thing.
And he hasn't forgotten his buttonstick. Not that he's terribly keen about polishing but a high gloss on buttons and belt buckle reflected enough glare from oncoming headlights to prevent being run over on the highway.
Once in town he'll sew up his illegal "Canada" flashes and be ready for action and proceed to blow his fortnightly LAC's pay … about 35 bucks in 1949-50.
ln the early 50's he'll get the good news … smooth fabric Eisenhower jackets and pants will be issued. Then he'll get the bad news… you must wear out both old uniforms first.