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White RAF Roll Neck Sweaters

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Spitfire, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Being new on this forum - sorry for asking something that maybe allready has been discussed. But where do I get the original white rollneck sweater the RAF pilots wore under their Irvin?
    Great forum by the way!!!
  2. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    RAF Sweater

    Check the "What Price Glory" retail website, where a British RAF/RN
    rollover sweater lists around $65.
  3. DiabolicalAngel

    DiabolicalAngel One of the Regulars

  4. 'Frock'!

    While there wasn't an actual page for 'Sweaters, the use of' in King's Regulations, obviously many guys chose to wear them in unheated cockpits :rolleyes:

    The real-authentic-ohmyGodyougotoneof'em sweater would be the 'frock'. Stores Ref. Number 22G/63. Natural coloured wool, long in the body (to cover your butt), and having a high, non-turtleneck collar.

    While many repros are out there that tend to cover both the Navy and Aircrew look, the original frock looks like this:



    Paddy was looking for a pattern for it, I'm hoping he is successful so WE CAN ALL GET ONE :D

  5. Thank you!

    I will look into this. Unfortunately getting stuff from US is a pain in the ...neck. (Or where-ever)It takes ages and you have to pay customes,vat etc.
    But thanks a lot for your fast and valuable help.
  6. Trotsky

    Trotsky A-List Customer

    A shop called Air Diggers (google it) carries all manner of RAF gear, including black and white sweaters. Black was issue, White was RN issue that everybody adapted. Actually the RN sweater was issued to Submarine crews; it took off from there.
  7. RAAF

    RAAF New in Town

    Frocks, Jumpers, Sweaters

    A reply from Air Diggers in response to my enquiry about RAF and RN white jumpers:

    "Thanks for your recent enquiry. The sweaters you're referring to are two distinctly different items. The RAF Frock was an issue item going back to the early 1930s and, other than a superficial resemblence, has little in common with its RN counterpart. The design was officially carried on issue as 22G/63 Frock, White, Aircrew and was developed at a time when the RAF was still flying open-cockpit biplanes as frontline aircraft. It was clearly designed with this environment in mind. Key attributes are loose cuffs (wrists and waist), oversized arms and torso, and (by modern standards) extremely long in the body. The collar is not a rollneck/turtleneck -- a fact largely unappreciated by modern collectors as they base their understanding on the white t-neck being worn in the film "Battle of Britain" (which, incidently is a Royal Navy sweater) -- but rather a 2-inch (+/-) standing collar with a very large neck opening.

    22G/63 remained on issue well into the war and was officially superceded by a dark blue version of the exact same design and referenced as 22C/996 Sweater, Navy Blue in 1944.

    The Royal Navy deck sweater, erroneously referred to as a submarine sweater, was different in its design. It was intended to be waist length with all openings suitably snug to retain warmth and stop drafts. The overall fit is much more snug than a frock and the turtleneck collar was designed to place a second layer of wool over the neck and be snug enough to minimize heat loss via the neck.

    There was a third pattern of sweater available beginning around mid-1944 that was not RAF specific but is seen photographically around the same time period. This final sweater is very dark blue/black and was clearly designed with battledress in mind, whereas the frocks were a 1930s design intended for wear under and over a 4-pocket service dress tunic . The sweater is waist-length and has much slimmer arms to fit beneath a battledress blouse. The mock-t collar is still present but is made to fit closer to the throat than a frock.

    All the present reproductions that I'm aware of are (in my opinion) really modern interpretations of what these respective companies think a frock should be. All are turtleneck/roll neck designs -- a feature not present on a true RAF-spec frock.

    A true-to-spec frock is literally not suitable for modern wear. The torso length of a frock is extremely long, coming down to the thighs on most folks under 5'10". The arms are long and extremely baggy -- great for pulling on over your service dress but not so great for general wear as it resembles a sack. The loose, floopy collar, again superb for twisting/turning the neck in an aircraft, looks a bit odd without the scarf beneath it."
  8. Men of the Frock...


    There is also no ribbing at the bottom of the "frock" which further differentiates it from all the other 'sweaters'. The 'frock' was 'white'- off white/natural.

    Get some of the RAF woollen leg warmers(I'm serious)- they're really fetching with the frock.

    Maybe now, after that lengthy description from Airdiggers, the 'frockness' of the frock seems more appropriate.

    Men of the Frock/Cloth.

  9. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up


    Thanks for the info guys. Ever since I was a kid and saw WWII films,
    I've been keen on RAF and RN issue sweaters; also the commando
    sweater, which American GIs like myself use to buy off the Brits, or
    trade jumpboots for while stationed overseas.
  10. I found out about "What Price Glory" yesterday, and will be checking the rest of them this week. Thank you all for the information! I've been looking for one of these for a while...
  11. What did you find LordJR?
    I contacted Sabre Sales myself only to find out, they were sold out on RN Submarine Sweaters.:(
  12. They are common enough in surplus shops in the UK as Cobden says. Why not get someone over here to buy you one? Beware though, the real ones are in small sizes.

  13. ...if you want to pay about five times what a surplus shop would charge (but then shops don't try to pretend they are something they are not...)

  14. Of course "What Price Glory" is stateside... and the dollar as it is, I shouldn't wonder if I would lose that savings I would get surplus in shipping.
  15. Alan,

    good idea, i'm a size 42" chest...:D
  16. The Wingnut

    The Wingnut One Too Many

    I'm a 36" chest if anyone has time to look. I'd be interested in getting one surplus.
  17. jgilbert

    jgilbert One of the Regulars

    Were any of these all cotton and in a real bright white?

  18. My guesse is that they were 100% WOOL and in "the natural white colour" - that is slightly "cream". Most certainly not white, white.:) Not after some time at least.
  19. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

    As I wrote in my post above jgilbert...

    ...the original wartime RN jumpers were wool and came in natural wool or dark blue. The RAF frock was also wool and was in natural wool colour.

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