Original British WWI Royal Flying Corps Embroidered Stable Belt Dated 1916 - 1918

Item Description

Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. This is a lovely, rather rare example of a WWI British RFC embroidered stable belt. Stable belts have long been worn in the British Army, usually in regimental colors or designs to identify a soldier's unit when in working dress. During WWI a non-distinctive belt in "apple green" was issued to all soldiers.

A stable belt is a wide webbing belt, usually a single solid color or horizontally striped in two or more different colors. It is worn around the waist and when worn with PCS it is worn through the trouser belt loops. In the British Army or Royal Marines, when worn with barrack dress, the belt is placed either in the belt loops of trousers or a skirt or over a jersey. In the Royal Air Force, it is worn with service working dress (No. 2 dress) either covering the top of the trousers (or skirt) and the lower part of the shirt or through the belt loops if they have been specially designed to accommodate the belt's width. Unlike the Army, it is never worn over a jersey. The original cavalry stable belts buckled at the side to avoid chafing the soldier's stomach as he bent down during stable work and also to avoid marking or catching on the horse harness, but many stable belts are now clipped at the front, sometimes behind a metal belt plate (usually bearing the badge of the regiment), although a few regiments such as the Light Infantry clip their stable belts at the front with the original two leather straps. A large number of units, however, continue to use the traditional method of securing the belt using two leather straps and metal buckles at the left-hand side.

Today, every regiment and corps of the British Army has its own stable belt, often very colorful. The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force also have their own, until recently the Royal Navy rarely wore stable belts, unless working in a tri-service environment, they are now issued as a standard piece of uniform with the new Royal Navy Uniform RNPCS replacing the old No. 4s. Stable belts are worn with most styles of informal dress, but not with full dress, service dress or mess dress. Stable belts for Soldiers are purchased by individual service personnel, not issued, so are theoretically neither regulation nor compulsory but since most people own one they are effectively uniform items in the Army.

This stable belt measures approximately 36” in length and is 3 ⅜” wide. The belt is complete and free of damage but the leather is worn and cracked, but still serviceable, even after all these years! The buckle end of the belt features a lovely RFC insignia with FRANCE / 1916.17.18 underneath it. Just to the right is LAD though we do not know what it stands for. The flags featured are Italy, UK, Belgium, USA, France and what appears to be Romania.

The condition is excellent but does have the expected color fading to it. The belt was very well done and has stood the test of time. Comes more than ready to display!
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