RAF Wound Stripes

The wound stripe, which was an unusual emblem on RAF uniforms, was a small gold band or pair of gold bands worn on the left sleeve. The airmen who wore these stripes had recovered from serious injuries incurred during their operational duties.

It is rare to come across photographs or items which feature wound stripes. However, here are two:

Flight Sergeant W C Higgs’s uniform with wound stripes – on display at the Pathfinder Collection, Heritage Centre, RAF Wyton

George Cotton-Stapleton, RNZAF, with two wound stripes on his sleeve

(Auckland Museum ref: WWI 4/213A AWMM)

Connected to the losses on Black Thursday, 16/17 December 1943, is a toy bear which once belonged to Peter Mack, 97 Squadron. Peter was seriously injured in one of the crashes caused by the fog.

The uniform, which has the requisite wound stripe, was made for the bear by Peter’s mother, Kathleen, some time before 1948. It is still owned by the Mack family, although it now has been rather over-restored in order to preserve it.