- Posted June 3, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your World War II memorabilia
WWII Flight Jacket
A few days ago, I was unexpectedly contacted via email by Gillian King, who lives in Wales, asking if I knew a Major A.M. Swiren who served in England during WWII and, if so, what history could I provide about his service. She stated that she had acquired a USAAF flight jacket that bore the name Maj. A.M. Swiren. Throughout most of my life, my father had a charcoal drawing which showed him wearing the flight jacket during the war. Ms. King followed up with several photos of the jacket. It was incredible to find that 70+ years later the jacket was still in use and did, in fact, have my father’s name written on it. Ms. King then sent the following history of the jacket:
“I am not sure how much you know about the American Army Air force during WW2 and their sojourn here in the UK. If you go onto Google and type in Burtonwood Army Air Force Base you will find out quite a bit about the base and the activities there. This base was the largest American base outside the USA during the war. After the war much of the equipment from other bases in the UK was brought up to Burtonwood and disposed of from there. What wasn't sold or moved on was in fact buried on the base! This included vehicles as well as other equipment.
The coat was purchased from Burtonwood about 1960 by an amateur pilot from a surplus stock sale, who then sold it to a friend of the family who used it to keep himself warm whilst driving his sports car. This gentleman in turn gave it to my son who is a collector of all things militaria! This includes medals (especially iron crosses), helmets, any equipment which has a name in/on it, and even a couple of parachutes. As the www [ the internet] has expanded it is now possible to trace many of the names on such memorabilia and find their service records etc….”
“When we moved to Wales 11 years [ago] the jacket came with us and has been hanging in the spare room wardrobe ever since, alongside a USAF great coat….”
“I hope that this explains why, after all these years, this jacket has 'found' some family connections! In the meantime my daughter in law will wear it when having another flight, and my son will continue to cherish it.”
I hope you find this story of interest on this the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.