Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Nightingales were revered and wonderful creations - sent with devine intent - or so it seemed to the growing number of British and Allied fighter pilots that were convalescing during and after the Battle of Britain. Many of these gentlemen were burn victims - typically to the unprotected hands and face and also typically with a burning Hawker Hurricane - these gents had their own club - the Guiney Pig club, to whom prototype plastic surgeries were developed and administered. The RAF had a dedicated hospital and nursing structure supporting them- young, bright nurses that would attend to their wounds and frequently sing like angels - hence the informal title of "Nightingales"
Recently released from the collection of a 30 year British and Canadian ww2 re-enactor, this lot of "Nightingale" uniforms was a pleasure to document.
Original WW2 No2 Uniform Battle Dress. Made by L Harris under government contract in 1943 and 1944. The jacket showed a little wear to the collar trim, but was in perfect condition, sporting Squadron Leader epaulet stripes and original medical corps collar pins. The trousers are a ladies cut with side buttoning and were in similar great condition. A post war ladies storm cap was inlcuded - which featured the Queen's crown on the cap badge - this would need changing out to the kings crown version for a true WW2 impression.
A post war No1 walking out uniform set. These are the same pattern as found during WW2 - little changed for the RAF supply and dress codes - other than the crown in insignia (Queens crown after 1952) and the use of "Stay Bright" buttons and badges which were bright plated and needed only cleaning and not polishing. The jacket features Flight Leftenant stripes on the sleeves, original buttons on the jacket closure and belt featuring the Air Arm Albatross and another original set of Medical Corps collar pins. This would be work over the service skirt. The Quad-corner hat was spectaculalry preserved - needing a gentle lint rollering and was stored in a protective box.
The third uniform of the set was a post war "ward" set - again no changes from the wartime experience for the RAF and its affiliates. A "Tippet" with another set of Medical Corps collar pins, also came with WW2 issue epaulets - the difference being stay bright construction post war. A ward dress and apron were also included.