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Grey USN life preserver


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I found the USN life preserver at an antique mall at a reasonable price so I picked it up. I can’t see any of the date information, so am not sure when it was made or used. Being grey, seems to be a bit unusual, most I see are yellow. I’m thinking it is probably not an aviation vest, but regular shipboard use but this section of the forum seemed to be the best place to post it. The hardware looks to be WW II era. I bounced around the forum a bit and didn’t see one like this, so any information about this would be appreciated.

Thanks for looking.

BKW

 

 

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I'm pretty sure it is a WWII preserver. I have one just like it. They don't sell for as much as the standard Mae West or the Navy kapok preserver. That's about all I know bout em....and that isn't much.

Ronnie

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Had a half dozen over the years.I recall mine were dated 44 or 45.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
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I believe that you are correct about the life vest being for shipboard use and possibly PT boats also? I have heard stories from

other collectors that these blue vests may have been used by PBY Catalina crews, obtained from trading, etc. Some aircrews

painted one side of their aviation life vest (Mark 1, B-4, etc.) blue to be camouflaged. I have seen many of the type of life

vest that you have for sale by dealers. I just never did the full research on them. I believe there were two variations of

the all blue life vests? Hope this helps.

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Yes, two types. One has the oral inflation tube on the outside. There are several wartime (and postwar) photos showing them in use on surface vessels. Including at least a few uses where it would have been super handy compared to the bulky kapoks; on sailors equipped with telephone talker sets. I do not think I have seen one dated before 1943, with 45 being the most common I have seen.

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  • 1 month later...

I just bought one of the WW2 era non-inflatable USCG kapoks.....Interestingly enough under the company name there isn't any reference to a manufacturing date or USCG issuance....I guess the stamping either didn't take or perhaps an earlier version(?)....Figured I should buy it, because I just don't run into WW2 era flotation devices and this one is in pretty good shape...Bodes

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