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Johan Willaert

8th AAF used RAF Observer Type Parachute Harness

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Following Carl's topic on the A4 Harness ( http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/193932-usaaf-a4-qac-harness/&do=findComment&comment=1504413 ), I thought it would be interesting to compare the A4 to the British RAF Observer Type Parachute Harness on which the A4 design was based...

 

According to Sweeting the 8th Bomber Command received 2500 Observer Type Harnesses preferred over the the standard A3 because of the Quick Release Box (QR). The A3 fasteners were cumbersome to release under stress and cold... A similar QR box would be incorporated in the A4, A5 and T7 type parachutes near the end of WW2...

 

The harness in my collection shown in this topic was made by the British firm GQ (Gregory & Quilter). Some alterations have been made to the harness. The QR Box disc has had one round side ground off. I believe this was done to ameliorate grip on the disc when wearing gloves and to be able to feel how the disc is orientated in complete darkness. Also this harness has an added safety fork which prevents the QR box from being accidentally pushed. The flat side disc and safety fork were standard on the A4 and later harnesses. Lastly an extra strap whih holds part of the straps has been added to the lower middle of the back cushion.

The mods done to this particular harness lead me to believe it may be one of those delivered to the 8th AAF during WW2.

 

The RAF harnesses were delivered with RAF parachute packs, but would have been used also with the USAAF A3 and A4 Type Parachute packs which clip unto the harness flawlessly...

 

Pictures 1 to 3 show the harness fitted to a torso and with A4 type parachute attached...

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f_poll.gif '29th,Let's Go!' f_poll.gif

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I know Carl won't be online this evening but I know he's going to like this when he sees it! Great set up Johan!


"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Safety Fork added to the harness.

 

No idea when this was added or when the disc was altered but seeing the A4 equipped with both of these modifications from the factory, this might have been done within the AAF group...

 

 

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f_poll.gif '29th,Let's Go!' f_poll.gif

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 

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Great set up Johan!

 

Thanks Ian..

 

The picture below shows (part of) the crew of B17 Damn Yankee which crashed in Belgium on 1st Dec 1943...

Second from left is an RAF Observer Type Harness...

There's no safety fork or modified QR disc visible in the picture

 

The USAAF A4 wasn't standardised until December 1944, so in this 1943 picture it can only be an RAF Observer...

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f_poll.gif '29th,Let's Go!' f_poll.gif

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 

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Thats a great thread Johan ! Really interesting , thanks for all the info

 

Carl


WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



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Hi Johan,

Interresting topic ! The QRB seems to be the same as the A-4 (flat side). Perhaps it is an Observer harness transformed to test the new AAF QRB before mass production.

Mathieu


bandea10.jpg

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Interesting to see the modifications for the quick release. The British switched to the cut edge QRB and safety clip at a later date and the webbing/thread of the safety clip strap look very British, so I would think these might have been added postwar.


www.theriggerdepot.com - Replica WWII Parachute Gear

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The disc definitely started out as a round one and part was ground off. Traces of grinding are clear.

The strap on the safety clip is very light, even cotton like... And it would have been added in Britain of course

 

But really no way of telling when it was added...


f_poll.gif '29th,Let's Go!' f_poll.gif

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 

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"Please Santa bring me an A4 chute pack !!" an excerpt from Littlebuddys Christmas wish list !! :)


WANTED : RAF 1940 PATT FLYING BOOTS

WANTED : DINGHY TYPE K ,TYPE A

" ALWAYS WANTING USAAF ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING "

"WOULD ALSO LIKE 487th FS AND 515TH BS RELATED ITEMS "

"Illegitmi non carborundum"

 



donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

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I have been talking with a friend of mine who is an expert on British chutes’ and he was able to provide some excellent information.
The RAF modification of grinding off the side of the release button was officially sanctioned in January 1945, although it had occurred at the unit level for some time before this. However, in a similar manner to the painted markings on the US AN6513 and A-3, this modification took some time to accomplish and some examples observed were not altered until 1946.
The safety clip was incorporated at the end of 1945. Before this, a hole was drilled in the face of the dial and a split pin inserted so as to prevent the dial from rotating, as shown in the attached picture.
His assessment of this harness is that it was most likely made after mid-1943 and stayed in RAF service until at least 1951.

 

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www.theriggerdepot.com - Replica WWII Parachute Gear

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I love that chute rig!!!

 

 

That pic is the original Damn Yankee from the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Bomb Squadron.

There were 3 total of this named B17 that flew for the 384th, 545th.My Uncle flew on the Damn Yankee II.

This is a pic of the Fioretti crew. My Unlce is second from the right bottom row.

They sure liked that name.

 

 

 

Semper Fi

Phil

 

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I have not seen that thread and I guess the THANKS needs to go to you Johan.

That is so awesome that you honor the men of the 384th.

Like I had mentioned, since finding out my Uncle served with them, I joined the 384th website and have for the past several year have been entering the flight crews in to the website database from copies of the original mission's aircraft loading list.

That is just OUTSTANDING you have kept their memories alive.

Always Remember, Never Forget!

Once again THANK YOU

and one more note,That Jeep is badass!!!!!!

 

Semper Fi

Phil


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One more thanks to you Johan. In that thread in post #10 there is a picture of TSgt Vorisek. He was the right waist gunner on the B17 Mrs Geezil when along with my uncle was shot down. I have kept in contact with the Left waist gunner who is still alive Phillip Chaperon and I also just sent that picture to Vorisek's Grandson, who I know will greatly appreciate it since his GF died in 1986.

Thanks Again

SF

Phil


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