Wound Stripes

Bobby Bear, Peter Mack’s moth-eaten childhood toy (photograph taken before over-restoration in an attempt to preserve it) has a reminder of its owner’s wartime service with 97 Squadron, PFF. The RAF uniform which the bear wears has a wound stripe – the little flash of yellow on the sleeve.

The wound stripe, which was an unusual emblem on RAF uniforms, reflects the serious injuries suffered by Peter, who flew with the Thackway crew, on the night of 17 December 1943, ‘Black Thursday’. The uniform was made for the bear by his mother, Kathleen, some time before his marriage in 1948.

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

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)

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