UK

Dunkirk Pilot's Battle-Damaged Jacket Goes To Imperial War Museum

The RAF Service Dress Jacket was worn when the fighter pilot wearing it was shot down and wounded on 29 May 1940.

An item of clothing worn by a fighter pilot shot down over Dunkirk in World War Two has been added to the Imperial War Museum’s collection.

The RAF Service Dress jacket is one of many items donated to the museum by the family of Hurricane pilot, Group Captain Ronald NH Courtney.

The battle-damaged jacket, which contains still visible shrapnel holes, has remained "largely untouched" since Gp Capt Courtney was shot down and wounded over Dunkirk.

"We’re delighted to add Gp Capt Courtney’s historic items to IWM’s Second World War collection ahead of this important anniversary," said the Imperial War Museums’ head of Second World War, John Delaney.

Pilot Officer (later Group Captain) Ronald N H Courtney’s RAF Service jacket. It sustained shrapnel damage when he was shot down over Dunkirk on 29 May 1940. (Picture: Courtesy of Courtney family).

"It is a rarity to acquire a battle-damaged uniform and be able to say definitively where and when it was worn and link it to such an important event."

The jacket is also an example of the importance the RAF played in the rescue mission showcasing the challenges aircraft pilot’s faced when aiding the stranded troops.

"The spirit of Dunkirk has endured and still resonates with people today as a demonstration of how individual and unselfish acts can help towards a much greater cause."

Nearly 340,000 soldiers from the British Expeditionary Force and French Army were evacuated from Dunkirk between 26 May and 4 June 1940.

After being shot down, Gp Capt Courtney was collected by a Royal Navy vessel.

The collection at the museum also includes his record of the incident written in his flying log books as well as photographs from the period and his Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar.

Cover image: Pilot Officer (later Group Captain) Ronald N H Courtney standing in front of a Hawker Hurricane at RAF North Weald in August 1940 during the Battle of Britain where he was part of 151 Squadron (Picture: Courtesy of the Courtney family).

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