Royal Flying Corps Uniform to Canadian Fighter Ace Lt. John Henry Smith
This uniform consists of three pieces, with the tunic and pants fabricated from a durable, olive green cotton, accompanied by its leather Sam Browne belt. The tunic is adorned on the shoulders with two pips on each shoulder strap, held in place by a small brass button. The front has four pockets, one on each breast, which have decorative straps giving them a pleated-look with small brass buttons at the top, each bearing a crown and inscribed "R.F.C" on the front, maker marked "J.R. GAUNT & SON INC. NEW YORK" on the reverse, as are all the brass buttons on the uniform. Each of the four pockets have a foldover flap with reinforced buttonholes. Above the left breast pocket is an embroidered Royal Flying Corps insignia, complemented by bronze Royal Flying Corps Collar Tabs on either side. The front is completed by a vertical row of four large brass buttons on the right side, facing an equal number of reinforced button holes on the left. In addition, there is a brass Wound Stripe on the left forearm sleeve, marked "THE WOUNDED STRIPE No. 2" on the retaining bar on the inside of the sleeve. Each sleeve is adorned with inverted v-shaped cuffs. There is a reinforced cotton band around the waistline on the exterior, in addition to brass clips on either side, which support the accompanying Sam Browne belt. The belt itself is fabricated from a very durable, high quality leather, well-stitched with an intricate pattern incorporated, that folds on the left side around the buckle and continues on to the mid-back. There are two D-Rings hanging from the left side and has straps hanging from each supporting a leather holster attached with a brass post placed prominently on the holsetr's front, with a hook (frog) in between the D-Rings, used to suspend a sword or pistol. The top edge of the belt has two D-Rings, the front one connected to an adjustable leather shoulder strap on the left side, that, when swung over the right shoulder, connects to the D-Ring at the back. The belt has a post to the left of the buckle, while the right side has four rows of two holes and two central slitted holes. When the belt is fed through the buckle, it is held firmly in position with the two prongs of the buckle and the post wrapping around one of the two slitted holes. The accompanying pants (breeches) come with a buttondown fly with five small buttons, discreetly placed under a foldover flap, remaining invisible to the eye, covered by the flap, while a sixth button appears at the waist, ensuring a snug fit when fastened. There are three belt loops on the exterior, two at the front and one at the rear. It has four cotton-lined pockets, two angled entry pockets on either side at the front and two top entry pockets at the rear. Inside, the waist is lined with a wide band of cotton, originally with eight buttons spaced at various intervals. Five of the buttons have remained intact, a sixth has been replaced, while the remaining two have been lost to time. Both cuffs on the pantlegs have a wide band of light brown silk, each with three reinforced buttonholes on one side, facing small blue buttons on the other, with five of the six buttons remaining intact to the pants. Above each silk cuff are a series of seven eyelets on either side in the cotton fabric, laced together via brown shoestring lace, to ensure a snug fit on the lower calf. The inside of the pantlegs are reinforced with cavalry-style leather patches, a traditional breeches appearance. Although the tunic displays fraying on the bottom of each of the four pockets, in addition to a stain on the lower left pocket, and the pants have light staining in the pockets, fabric interruptions in the silk cuffs and loss, cracking and discolouration in some of the leather patches on the pantlegs due to age and active wear, along with the previously mentioned missing buttons on both items, it displays a nice texture in the cotton and quality workmanship, beautiful, intact stitching, exhibiting a very clean condition overall. A fine First World War One collectible, in better than very fine condition. Footnote: Although unnamed, this uniform did originate from the family of Lieutenant John Henry Smith, who was born on March 9, 1894 in Campbellford, Ontario. He joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on June 29, 1917, at the age 23 and was commissioned the following November. Four months later, on March 3, 1918, he was posted to 46 Squadron. He is credited with having scored eight victories as a Sopwith Camel pilot. His totals are impressive, including one shared balloon, one shared capture, one and one destroyed, two and two shared out of control. On July 2, he was hospitalized and had to cease operational flying for the remainder of the war. Smith died in Forest Hills, New York in 1959. Victories (by Date, Time, Unit, Aircraft, Opponent, Location) include: 1. March 23, 1918 0930 46 Sopwith Camel (C1685) Albatros C (OOC) 1 N of Croisilles (Shared with 2/Lt Donald R. MacLaren (B9153) and 2/Lt HP Blakely (B5435)); 2. March 23, 1918 1800 46 Sopwith Camel (C1685) Albatros D.V (DES) Vaux; 3. April 2, 1918 1315 46 Sopwith Camel (C1617) Balloon (DES) 2 (Shared with 2/Lt Donald R. MacLaren (B9153)); 4. May 2, 1918 1700 46 Sopwith Camel (C1575) Pfalz D.III (OOC) 3 Estaires (Shared with Capt Cecil J. Marchant (B9211)); 5. May 6, 1918 1800 46 Sopwith Camel DFW C (CAPT) 4 St. Venant (Shared with Capt Donald R. MacLaren (B9153), Capt Cecil J. Marchant (B9211), Lt Victor M. Yeates and 2/Lt H.T.W. Manwaring); 6. May 9, 1918 1200 46 Sopwith Camel (C1575) Fokker DR.I (DES) 5 S of Lestrem (Shared with Lt H.L.M. Dodson (C1643); 7. May 22, 1918 1815 46 Sopwith Camel (D6509) Albatros D.V (OOC) Richebourg St. Vaast; and 8. May 22, 1918 1815 46 Sopwith Camel (D6509) Albatros D.V (OOC) Richebourg St. Vaast.