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The RAF Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot's Kitbag (Paperback)

Uniforms & Equipment from the Summer of 1940 and the Human Stories Behind Them

Aviation > Aircraft > Spitfires & Hurricanes Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Aviation Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: WWII P&S History > Clothing & Fashion

By Mark Hillier
Frontline Books
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 100 colour & black and white
ISBN: 9781473849990
Published: 5th March 2018
Last Released: 6th October 2022



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The scenes are familiar ones; the young ‘Brylcream Boys’ sat at dispersal waiting for the haunting call of ‘Scramble’, lounging in their shirt sleeves and fur-lined boots, their leather flying helmets lying limp by their side. But what did the RAF fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain really wear, and what vital items would their kitbags have held?

The casual air of the dashing pilots of Fighter Command in the Spitfire Summer of 1940 conceals a necessarily professional approach to their task of holding Hitler’s Luftwaffe at bay. Therefore, each item of clothing and equipment they wore and carried had a role and a function, be it for warmth and comfort, communication, or for fighting and survival.

All the objects that an RAF fighter pilot was issued with during the Battle of Britain are explored in this book in high-definition colour photographs, showing everything from the differing uniforms, to headgear, personal weapons, gloves, goggles, parachute packs and the essential Mae West life jacket. Each item is fully described and its purpose and use explained.

Relive Britain’s finest hour as never before – through the actually clothing and accoutrements of ‘The Few’.

History buffs, militaria collectors and toy soldier and model figure collectors will find a mother lode of insightful information about “The Few” in this book thanks to Hillier’s efforts.

Toy Soldier & Model Figure magazine issue 238 – reviewed by Leo Winston

The author has done a splendid job in producing this volume and it is going to become
one of the standard pictorial books on RAF aircrew equipment / uniforms for this Battle.
He deserves a hearty “well-done” and given the price asked for the book it is within
everyone’s price range.

Military Archive Research

All the objects that a RAF fighter pilot was issued with during the Battle of Britain are explored in this book in high-definition color photographs, showing everything, from the differing uniforms, to headgear, personal weapons, gloves, goggles, parachute packs and the essential Mae West life jacket. Each time is fully described and its purpose and use explained...

The book will be of much interest to both aviation historians and modelers alike.

Read the review online here.

AMPS Indianapolis

This well presented book has been printed on coated paper to ensure the best possible reproduction of the illustrations.

An interesting and attractively laid out essay.

RAF Historical Society

Very well organised, this book allows us to discover the lives of these airmen, and is addressed to the novice reader as to the amateur seeking to deepen his/her knowledge. Modellers will find interesting information on the shades of the equipment with the colour photographs.

Militaria Magazine, September 2018

This is an interesting and well researched book. Although it may hold limited interested to many wargamers it would be valuable to those who are planning either “Operation Sealion” centred games to include RAF Personnel (e.g Warlord Games downed RAF Pilot) or those wanting to bring an air combat game to life with more detailed models of RAF airfields to wage war above.

Read the complete review here.

Wargames Illustrated

As featured by

Sussex Local magazine, June 2018

As well as being an absorbing read, this title is a valuable reference source for historians, re-enactors, modellers and wargamers.

RAF News

Article: 'Exploring Battle of Britain Kitbag' as featured by

Chichester Observer

Article: 'Fontwell author explores the kitbag of a Battle of Britain pilot' as featured by

West Sussex County Times and Mid Sussex Times, 5th April 2018

Article: 'WWII fighter pilot's kitbag' as featured by

West Sussex Gazette, 28th March 2018

Supported by excellent colour photography the author has compiled a first class and well researched guide to the subject. A must for collectors both novice and seasoned.


A fascinating book on a subject which is often overlooked. Reading about the actual gear the pilots wore during the Battle of Britain, coupled with many superb illustrations gives the reader a feel of those times. History in print.

Michael J. Patrick, author
 Mark Hillier

About Mark Hillier

MARK HILLIER is Head of Operations at Spitfires.com. He has a deep knowledge of the history of the RAF, with a particular focus on the Second World War. He is also a qualified pilot, having flown for more than thirty-four years as an instructor and PPL pilot. Mark has flown many different types of aircraft from gliders to vintage tailwheel types, including the DH Chipmunk, Boeing Stearman and T6 Texan. He has previously written or co-authored fourteen successful books on aviation, including the authorised biography of Wing Commander Thomas Murray DSO, DFC and Bar, contributed numerous magazine articles, advised, and appeared on, a number of television programmes, and is a regular public speaker on aviation matters.

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