WWII USMC 4th Marine Raider Battalion Australian Made Uniform

Marine raider uniform ww2

This WWII USMC Australian made uniform belonged to a member of the Marine 4th Raider Battalion and is part of a larger grouping that I own from this Marine.  During the early part of World War Two, American made dress uniforms were impossible to acquire for Marines stationed in Australia and New Zealand.  So these Australian made battle dress uniforms were obtained by the Marines.  They were usually worn like this, with only a shoulder patch and rank insignia.  Early in the war, Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGAs) collar insignia and ribbon bars are usually not seen in period pictures on these uniforms.  The small twill Raider patch like the one shown, were often seen on Raider dress uniforms during the War.

The Marine that owned this uniform was with the 4th Raider Battalion from 1942 until their disbandment in early 1944.  He was next transferred to the 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division and he fought with that unit on Guam and Iwo Jima.

The letters and documents I obtained with this grouping tell a really sad story regarding this particular Marine and his family.  He was wounded but survived while fighting on Guam, but his family was incorrectly notified that he was killed in action by the Marines.   His parents believed he had been killed for a month and a half until they started receiving letters from him that were dated after the date that had been reported to them that he was KIA.  There are several letters I have with him writing to his parents assuring them he was still alive.  It looks like somebody just notated his file incorrectly.

Unfortunately, his parents had to go through this again just a few months later.  They were notified in March 1945 that this brave Marine had been killed while fighting on Iwo Jima.  This time the information was correct, he had been KIA.   I can’t begin to imagine the pain his family endured going through this twice.



WWII Japanese Army Pilot Flight Helmet And Flight Goggles

japanese flight helmet front ww2This World War Two Japanese Army flight helmet and flight goggles are a couple of standard issue items for Japanese Army aviators during the war.   Although these two items did not come with the Japanese Army flight uniform grouping I posted last week, they are both of the type that could have been worn with that grouping.

The flight helmet has the star, which is the the symbol of the Japanese Army, on the front.  This style of helmet was only worn by Japanese Army aviators, it was not worn by Japanese Naval aviators.

This type of flight goggles is sometimes referred to as cat’s eye style goggles.  There were several minor variations and many makers of this style of flight goggles during WWII, but this basic cat’s eye style of goggles was worn by both Army and Navy Japanese aviators during the war.

World War Two Japanese Army Pilot Flight Suit With Flight Gloves and Boots

japanese pilot flight suit ww2This WWII Japanese Army Aviator grouping is one my all time absolute favorite groupings.  It consists of the Japanese Army flight suit, flight gloves, and flight boots.   I obtained all of these items directly from the Veteran that brought them back about 15 years ago.

I was attending a local show in the late 1990s when a gentleman in his late 70s came up to me and started chatting.  He told me that he was a WWII Veteran and that he had a box of WWII Japanese pilot items in a box out in his car.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in them.  I said I probably would and asked if we could go look at them.  We went out to his car and in the trunk were these items stuffed in the wooden box that he had mailed them home in.  The box still had his WWII military return address on it along with the WWII era postage!  He told me that they had not been taken out of the box since he sent them home.  I will add a picture of the box at as soon as possible.

I took all of the items out of the box, told him what they were, and made an offer to purchase all of them.   He told me he wanted to walk around the show a little bit and think about it.  We both went back into the show and I waited hoping he would come back.    He did and he agreed to sell the items to me.

He mentioned to me that he had found these items while fighting in the Philippines during WWII.   The fighting was still going on and it was difficult to mail boxes, but he said that he was friends with a runner who had the ability to mail things home for him.

During WWII, the aviation personal of the Japanese Army and Navy wore different types of uniforms.  All three of these items are Japanese Army and were worn by pilots and aircrews.  The flight suit is an electrically heated type.  It still has the electrical prong and cord that was plugged in to heat the suit.  The flight gloves are made out of a very soft suede and are fur-lined.  The flight boots have rubber soles that were designed to help pilots grip their pedals.

As we were parting, the Veteran mentioned to me that he was lucky that these items had survived.  He said that he had mailed home many boxes of WWII Japanese war souvenirs during the War.  His family kept them for a while, but eventually got tired of all of the boxes in the basement and threw everything they could find in the trash.  He said that this box had been covered up in a corner and that the family just overlooked it during the time when they were they were throwing things away.

Please keep in mind that I am interested in all types of WWII Japanese pilot and aviation items.  I am especially interested in purchasing items directly from World War Two Veterans or their family members.  If you have any of these items you consider selling, please contact me via the information on my War Souvenirs Wanted page.