Original painted A2

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by aswatland, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,338
    Location:
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    This beautiful A2 belongs to Bob Dick, a forum member, who brought it over today for me to install a correct Conmar zip. It's the no-name 27753 contract in a size 44. The jacket belonged to a lieutenant who flew B-17s in the 8th AF. Bob will supply more info. The hh is strong and without rot which is common in this contract.

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  2. Burnsie

    Burnsie Registered User

    Messages:
    267
    Location:
    Virginia
    Absolutely stunning! "Fightin' Bitin'" is the squadron patch of the 369th...thanks a million for posting these pics!
     
  3. Treetopflyer

    Treetopflyer Practically Family

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    673
    Location:
    Patuxent River, MD
    Beautiful!

    That is one awesome jacket. Thanks for posting.
     
  4. greyhound68

    greyhound68 A-List Customer

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    362
    Location:
    Manteca, CA
    Great looking jacket 60 plus years and still going strong
     
  5. SIGGY

    SIGGY A-List Customer

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    496
    Location:
    Florida,east coast
    Jacket

    AWSOME find ,and a really cool jacket with an original patch and art work,congrats on that one!!!!:eusa_clap
     
  6. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Thanks for your kind comments everyone.

    Yes, I have a lot of history on the jacket. It belonged to Robert A. Stalker who was a lieutenant based at Thurleigh. He was killed on a raid in September 1944 – Cologne from memory – I will check the paperwork.

    I have a base picture of him (not wearing his A-2). A book about the Bomb Group with information about his last raid (he is mentioned in the book as well). I also have a letter from another chap who traded it with Stalker at Thurleigh.

    I will dig out all the info I have at the weekend and elaborate in more detail. The jacket is interesting as well because it passed through the hands of two airman. There is a hand written name in the back near Stalker’s. Apparently he traded his jacket on the base shortly before his death and the new owner, who was great friends with Stalker, could not bring himself to alter the jacket for himself – hence Stalker name patch remained. I plan to visit Thurleigh in the summer as they have a museum dedicated to the Mighty 8th – might get even more information there!

    I wondered why he would have traded his A-2 but according to the letter I have from the second owner, the pilots of bomber crews at that stage in the war were flying at such high altitude the A-2s were often left in their lockers as they needed warmer clothing. Perhaps it was the price of a wager or bad poker hand? Who knows? I will elaborate further on the history when I have dug it out of my loft. Even then, those who had A-2s were highly envied by those who didn’t.

    The Fightin Bitin patch looks to have had a previous patch as old stitch holes are evident so maybe he had served elsewhere?. It feels as if there may be something behind the patch but this all adds to the mystery.

    Regarding the zip – Andrew is going to work his magic on putting in a wartime Conmar as the 80s Talon that is in it at the moment is quite disgusting. I will give it an outing at Duxford this year.:)
     
  7. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    Good to see you Bob.

    That day at Duxford seems like ages ago (I guess it was!). That's one humdinger of a jacket you have there and I dare say if you are seen sporting it at something like one of the big Duxford shows, you're likely to have a line of groupies following you like the Pied Piper!! Because that baby is just one head turner of a jacket.

    Amazing for something of that age, to be in such great condition and the character it has is just fantastic!!

    I love the hand paintings too that just personalise it and in some way 'link it' to the man who wore it in a very personal way.

    Wear it in good health Bob, as you must be over the moon with it.
     
  8. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Hi Paddy and thanks for everyone’s comments. Yes, in nearly 30 years of interest in this subject, this is the first painted A-2 that I have had the privilege to own. To have the provenance and history with it just could not be beaten!

    As I mentioned, it will get an outing at Duxford this year if the weather holds up – these things, whilst not fragile, do need to be looked after carefully. The good friend of mine (who will remain anonymous) who used to own it had the jacket for over 20 years and wore it no more than a dozen times!

    I plan to wear it when I visit Thurleigh – almost going home in a way.

    We will never know who painted the jacket. It may have been Robert but most likely a gifted artist on the base who was paid in Lucky Strikes or nylons, who knows.

    I know the location of the graveyard in Belgium where Stalker is buried and plan to go there as well. Owning these things which have a history feels quite a responsibility and I may one day donate it to the museum at Thurleigh or Duxford.

    I will post all the info I have after getting it out of my loft. I would like to thank Andrew for taking these pictures as I am hopeless with a camera.

    Hope to see you Paddy at one of the shows this year? I have some demanding work commitments but will most likely be at Flying Legends for the two days this summer.
     
  9. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    R. A. Stalker’s A-2 UPDATE

    Hi everyone.

    Some updated info. I was correct, he died in a mission over Cologne.

    He was a Second Lieutenant. Service number O-772763

    Entered the AAF from: New Jersey
    Died: 15-Oct-44
    Buried at: Plot D Row 2 Grave 13
    Ardennes American Cemetery
    Neupre, Belgium

    There were 3 missions on 15 October and Stalker’s entire crew were lost. I cannot find exact details about the actual B17 he flew but I am sure I have it somewhere – I’ll keep looking.

    Over 700 bombers and nearly 500 fighter escorts were sent to hit industrial, oil and rail targets in and near Cologne. Stalker and his crew were one of 7 bombers that were lost were lost.

    I am going to the cemetery in June and will try to find out more. As far as I am aware he left no family.

    He is mentioned in Russell Strong’s book First over Germany which is a very detailed account of the 306th.
     
  10. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    3,155
    Location:
    Beautiful Horse Country
    Beautiful jacket
     
  11. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Bobbyball said:

    "I know the location of the graveyard in Belgium where Stalker is buried and plan to go there as well. Owning these things which have a history feels quite a responsibility and I may one day donate it to the museum at Thurleigh or Duxford."

    Yes, Bob, there is a great deal of responsibility in owning these pieces of history. Thank you for taking it seriously. And I think the donation to the museum is an excellent idea. There it can live and be enjoyed by others who also have an interest in the history of the 8th Air Force (I assume he was assigned to the 8th).

    While in England I spent some time in East Dereham and visited the airfield and the monument there in honor of the crewmembers who lost their lives while flying missions out of that airfield. The history of the place was almost overpowering. Thanks for what you have done in remembering Lt. Stalker.
     
  12. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Thanks for your kind words. Yes, he was in the Eighth (306th Bomb Group – Heavy). Collecting is a strange business sometimes. Ever since I began my interest in militaria and A-2s in particular, it was the Holy Grail for me to one day own an original painted A-2 with provenance. I could never afford one in the early days and then it got even worse as most of these jackets went to high rolling collectors.

    I got the jacket from a very old friend of mine who I first met 10 years ago while on the air show circuit and always said to him it was my dream to have a jacket like that. he had the jacket for over 20 years. I know if it ever went to anyone else, I would feel guilty.

    He would wear the jacket occassionally at shows and, not suprisingly, built up a crowd behind him whenever he wore it.

    Now I have the jacket, and know about the pilot it feels a little strange when I put it on. I am not being overly sentimental but once you know who these things belonged to it becomes something different to just another
    A-2.

    Incidentally, Andrew has done a quite magnificent job of restoration by putting an original Conmar back on. The previous zip was an old 80s Talon with plastic at the bottom of the tape. I will contact the museum at Thurleigh to discuss it with them.
     
  13. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Apparently Robert Stalker has a brother who is still alive?

    Hi everyone,

    Not been around on the forum for a while due to other committments.
    I have had an email from someone who says he is Robert Stalker’s brother. He has some information regarding his last mission so I have emailed him back and asked for the details.

    I am, naturally, wary of this communication as he has asked if I would give the jacket back to the family (yes, unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrance in jacket circles).

    Anyway, in the spirit of impartiality, I will see what he has to say and update everyone in due course.
     
  14. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,078
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Thank you for sharing both the jacket and the story behind it.
    Please keep us posted.
     
  15. bobbyball

    bobbyball One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    London
    Update

    Hi everyone,

    Just to keep you all updated on the latest:

    Following this post, I have had a couple of emails from a chap claiming to be Robert Stalker’s brother.

    He enquired about the jacket and asked if I would let him have it. I can’t help being a little suspicious about this, as in all my research I did not encounter any family members.

    He stated that he has a lot of information about his brother and his last mission, but I have had no reply to my requests for such information.

    This could conceivably be genuine but on the other hand a scam to try and get the jacket. Understandably, there has been a lot of interest in this jacket.

    If I hear anything further, I’ll let you all know.
     
  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    22,267
    Location:
    London, UK
    It'll be interesting to see what you find out. Sadly, while there can be genuine cases, so many scammers are out there, you're right to be worried. I can understand that if there are genuine family out there they might want to own the jacket again, though I should hope that any such desire comes with an offer to buy it back at a reasonable price. I'm not utterly mercenary, don't get me wrong, but given what the collector can spend on this sort of thing, it seems only fair that nobody expedcts them to lose out either.
     
  17. kampkatz

    kampkatz Practically Family

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    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    If you do intend to consider the request please keep your eyes wide open.
     
  18. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,338
    Location:
    Kent, England
    I hope Bob does not sell the jacket to this guy whether he is the brother or not. If he is, he will be getting on in years and what will happen to the jacket when he dies? How will he treat the jacket if he has it as he is unlikely to be a collector? I know Bob treasures this A2 and is an excellent custodian of it. His plan to eventually donate it to a museum is a sensible one as others can enjoy it.
     
  19. rosco

    rosco New in Town

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Cleburne, TX
    A-2 jacket

    I had just found the MACR for my grandfathers nephew Co-pilot 2Lt. Roy W. Duncan, a cousin that was lost over Cologne, Germany on Oct. 15, 1944 and it had a Robert A. Stalker (0-772763) as a bomb toggler and a navigator as being killed in the same a/c when it was hit with a flak burst. I was looking up the different crew members and found this jacket site. This is pretty cool that it is still around. Nobody really new about what happened to Roy but the MACR describe it as the a/c was a few miles from its bomb target when it caught a flak burst and it blew the nose off instantly killing Stalker and the navigator. Everbody else jumped out and when Duncan hit the ground the Germans shot him. The pilot had verifed Stalker and the navigator's remains by one's dogtags and the other short hair. Both were destroyed beyond recognition. A German soldier handed the pilot Duncan's AGO card and wallet and told him he was dead. They think he is buried in a cemetery in Germany somewhere but half the family thought he was buried in George's Creek, TX. I would like to see some photos if there are any of Duncan, Stalker, crew, or the plane I sure would enjoy it because I don't even know what he looked like. Thanks
     
  20. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    13,719
    Location:
    USA
    Any update on this story?
     

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