It was hidden all these years.
In what is surely a dream for collectors of military artifacts a Royal Air Force uniform in pristine condition has been found dating to the period around World War II. The uniform was found in a “mystery parcel” wrapped up in a newspaper from 1951 and is set to be auctioned off along with a huge trove of other military gear and medals.
The package containing the uniform was discovered inside a house in East Staffordshire, England, and is now going up for auction in September through Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd.
It remains a mystery who the uniform belonged to, but someone must have wanted to keep it safe because they very neatly folded the blue, woolen uniform and wrapped it first in newspaper, then in clean, brown butchers paper, then tied the whole thing up with string.
Long-forgotten parcel – unopened for 70 years – reveals wartime discovery@HansonsAuctionshttps://t.co/AxvCN9fToN@itvnews @PA @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/7aOnaBQyhX
— Hansons (@HansonsUK) August 1, 2021
The uniform was found under the bed of an elderly man who had recently passed away. The parcel was discovered while the house was being cleared and it is now believed that the uniform may have belonged to the deceased man or perhaps to one of his brothers.
Experts have said that this type of uniform was worn by RAF pilots until 1941 and by RAF ground crew until 1943. Charles Hanson of Hansons said that, “It was a little like finding an unopened Christmas present from a forgotten era.”
A World War II Royal Air Force pilot's uniform is set to be sold at auction after it was discovered wrapped in newspaper dating back to 1951. https://t.co/eCvr3in8JX
— CNN International (@cnni) July 31, 2021
The newspapers, from the Daily Express and Burton Mail, also give glimpses into the past with classified ads looking for a “lady clerk” and an editorial about how secretaries should refrain from having “scarlet talons” (i.e. fingernails painted red) in the workplace.
Secretaries and would-be secretaries were also advised to know exactly which cookies to serve with tea for her superiors in the office.
This added bit of history makes the uniform parcel seem more like little time capsule and shows how people envisioned the work of soldiers versus the work of women just a few years after the war ended.
Other items up for sale in the auction include bosun’s whistles, military paintings, silk maps of France from WWII, dress reds of the British Army, medals from all eras, trench art, and Nazi uniform insignias of various kinds.
The auction is set to take place online on September 24th, 2021, as part of the Medals, Militaria & Firearms auction.