Richard Attenborough’s World War Two uniform goes on sale

The Royal Air Force uniform that Richard Attenborough wore during World War Two is being put up for auction at Bonham’s in London.

The uniform was made around 1943 and includes trousers, cap, jacket and kit bag, along with some notebooks and a RAF mug. The uniform is a blue, grey color famous with the RAF and is made of a wool mix.

Richard’s jacket still has his ribbons for his service between 1939 and 1945 and represent his Star, Defence and War Medal, the Air Gunner’s brevet, Flight Sergeant colours and crown.

The uniform is a size seven made for a height of five foot seven inches, chest size of 35 inches and a waist size of 31 inches. The uniform was made by F.W. Hammer & Co. Ltd in 1943. Since it was first worn three buttons have been replaced on the front of the jacket and on the trousers, while the rest is all original. The uniform is accompanied by a draw-string kit bag made with cloth and has the serial number 1808294 sewn onto it.

Richard’s name has been written on the cloth bag in black paint. The notebooks include programmes and speeches for the RAF anniversary and reunion events.

The tankard is engraved to commemorate the opening of the RAF Albatross Club in Middlesex in 1956.

Richard joined the RAF in 1943 as an aircraftman second class and went on to become an air gunner. In that role he was able to work with the RAF’s filming unit and he would take films from his position as a gunner at the rear of the plane whilst on missions over Europe.

Richard flew in a Lancaster bomber on many missions before the end of the war in 1945. It was during the war that Richard first took part in a film called, ‘Journey Together’ which was a propaganda film aimed at gathering support at home for the war effort, the Bonhams reports.

Richard wrote in his autobiography that he wore his RAF uniform when he married his wife, Sheila, in January of 1945. He recalled how a bomb exploded nearby as they took their vows in London.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE