Original U.S. WWII Named Co-Pilot Painted A-2 Leather Flight Jacket - 828th Bomb Squadron - Co-Pilot Lt. William Roberts

Item Description

Painted WWII American A-2 Flight Jackets have realized unprecedented prices in the past year. For example jackets at Rock Island Auctions sold in 2022 for $32,000+ and $23,000+ respectively they can be found at this link and this  link. When comparing the Rock Island Auction jackets with the one offered here, one can easily see that our offering is an exceptional value!

Original Item: One-of-a-Kind. This is an absolutely beautiful World War Two American painted A-2 flight jacket, named to Lt. William M. Roberts. In researching lieutenant Roberts, what we were able to uncover is that he served as a Co-Pilot with the 15th Army Air Force, 485th Bomb Group, 828th Bomb Squadron. We have not been able to find much on Lt Roberts, but he may have been a Prisoner of War according to records. We were able to find a photo of him with his crew, a printed copy of which will be included with this jacket. We found this photo on the website. The caption reads:

Standing Row, L - R:  Joe Coker, Engineer/Gunner; William Roberts, Co-Pilot; Hudson Owen, Pilot; Jerry Durden, Bombardier; Perry Monroe, Gunner.

Kneeling Row, L - R: Alfred Aborjaily, Radio Operator/Gunner; George Mack, Gunner; Kenneth Ponte, Gunner; Herman Maurer, Gunner; Fales Holcomb, Navigator.

The assigned plane for this crew was "My Brother and I".  Fales and Durden were killed flying with Thomas Baker’s crew on 7/20/44, when the plane was shot down by fighters on the Friedrichschafen mission.  Maurer was killed while flying with Bossart’s crew on 6/26/44 and Mack became a POW, also flying with Bossart’s crew on the 6/26/44 Vienna mission.  Several from this crew were wounded when they crashed while landing at Bari on 6/28/44.

This is a prime candidate for further research!

The A-2 jacket, which is in wonderful condition with fantastic hand painted insignia. The left chest features an incredibly painted Grim Reaper cradling a bomb. The colors vivid and discernible. Below the squadron insignia is a small leather name tag which faintly reads as W. M. ROBERTS. The left shoulder has a beautiful Italian made multi-piece painted leather 485th Bomb Group patch which features a large “XV” below an Army Air Forces winged insignia and in the rocker at the bottom is 485 BOMB GP.

The collar clasp has a small engraved “Lucky Little Bell of San Michele” bell attached to it, which is still functional. The Lucky Little Bells of San Michele good luck charms were purchased by Army Air Force pilots and crewman on the Island of Capri during WWII and were worn on their flight jacket lapels or zipper pulls for good luck.

The reverse of the jacket has an Angel riding a bomb with the number 703 near the tail fins. Beneath this image are 48 falling bombs signifying how many combat missions he participated in.

Jacket is in size US 40 and has retained all original components including original knit waist band and sleeve cuffs, something we often see replaced on A-2 jackets that saw extensive service. Also original is the TALON brand zipper which is still functional. Both epaulets have a painted Lieutenant bar.

The interior lining does have tearing and stitching loss present, so do handle it with care. The top rear back portion of the liner still retains the original tag which reads as:

DRAWING No. 30-1415
ORDER NO. W535 ac27798

This is an incredible example of a hard to find painted A-2 jacket, offered in wonderful condition. Comes more than ready for further research and display.

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