The WWI Flying Corps Smock
Knights of the Air.
There was a time when flying was less a science than sheer audacity. Everything from engines to airframes was untried, as were the young men who dared to “take them up” without even a parachute. This small cadre of aristocratic warriors, idealistic schoolboys, and hard-bitten adventurers created a new class of iconic hero… the fighter pilot.
Among them, Captain Albert Ball stood apart. Ball was famous not only for his impressive string of victories, but his larger-than-life presence. A sentimental hero who kept a garden at his aerodrome, he was also a skilled mechanic and deadly opponent, admired by von Richthofen himself.
His style favored a uniform inherited from his time in the cavalry; high boots and a form-fitting tunic. Humorously referred to as a “maternity” smock, owing to resemblance to matronly fashions of the day, it nevertheless mirrored Ball’s own personality: a combination of practicality and dash.
The WWI Flying Corps Smock (No. 5459). A distinctive garment produced in a warm but sharp Melton wool fabric blend; at home in the officers’ mess, or retelling tales in the pub back at Blighty. Body is fully lined in satin. Military-styled buttoned epaulettes at shoulders. Front shaping darts with angled double-welt pockets at waist. Interior pocket with button inside left chest. Center back vent with a durable reinforced box stitch detail at vent top. Heavy-duty hook-and-eye neck closure and stand-fall collar, just like the originals produced for the Royal Flying Corps in 1911. Four dyed-to-match corozo buttons at the angled front placket.Imported.
|The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Library holds a premier aviation and aerospace history collection, including works on legendary Captain Albert Ball. Ball was an English flying ace known for his audacious style and numerous victories during World War I. Illustrations of his Royal Flying Corps uniform inspired this jacket.|