Original U.S. WWII P-51 Mustang Fighter Pilot Named Crush Cap - POW

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This fantastic crush cap is named to Lieutenant ERSKINE H. RIVERS who served as a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot during WWII. His primary missions were flying escort and providing ground support from Honnington Air Base in Bury, St. Edmonds, England. He was assigned to the 385th Squadron, 364th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.

This crush or crusher cap has the classic "bomber pilot" look of a USAAF pilot in Europe. This was the standard Army AAF officer's dress cap, worn by pilots and non-pilots alike, but pilots gave this cap their own unique twist. Normally, this cap had stiffeners — a support piece behind the cap device and a wire around the inside top perimeter to maintain the cap's round shape. These kept the cap in its proper, regulation military shape and angle. However, since bomber pilots wore headsets over their caps during flights, they would remove the wire stiffener to make headset more comfortable, causing the sides of the caps to become crushed. Eventually, the caps retained their floppy "crushed" look.

This example in size US 7 (56cm) still has RIVERS original name tag sealed under the celluloid window. It reads:

Lt. E.H. Rivers, 0-803460

Box 2004


Overall condition is very good with only the slightest trace of mouth in one area. Cap is still soft and supple, stitches intact and leather has not dried out.

According to research 2nd Lieutenant ERSKINE H. RIVERS bailed out due to engine failure on November 30th 1944 over Germany outside of Frankfurt. He survived and was captured by the Germans made a POW and was liberated in the spring of 1945. Included with this cap are multiple copies of the research we found about this pilot including a printed copy of his photo in uniform wearing this very hat!

Truly exceptional, a true hero’s named crush cap from the European theatre of WW2!

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