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Original U.S. WWII Painted A-2 Flight Jacket Goldfish Club Member Bombadier 2nd Lieutenant John Lamphear - 8th Air Force, 466th Bomb Group, 784th Bomb Squadron - B-26 Liberator “Parson’s Chariot”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a lovely example of a handpainted A-2 flight jacket for the B-24 Liberator “Parson’s Chariot”. This jacket belonged to Bombardier 2nd Lieutenant John D. W. Lamphear, of the 466th Bomb Group, 784th Bomb Squadron who fell under command of the 8th Army Air Force. We were fortunate enough to find out that he received the Purple Heart for wounds received on October 15, 1944.

The most notable feature is the painted Parsons Chariot insignia on the back of the jacket. It shows an image of what appears to be a traditional “Quaker” riding on a chariot holding the reins of a horse. Parsons Chariot was a B-24 Liberator Serial # 42-110162 which can be found on the American Air Museum in Britain website archive at this link: www.americanairmuseum.com/archive/aircraft/42-110162

The front left has a lovely leather name tape that reads as J.D.W. LAMPHEAR. The right side front has an incredible painted Goldfish Club insignia which is a white-winged goldfish flying over two symbolic blue waves.

The Goldfish Club is a worldwide association of people who have escaped an aircraft by parachuting into the water, or whose aircraft crashed in the water, and whose lives were saved by a life jacket, inflatable dinghy, or similar device. By the end of World War II, the club had 9,000 members from all branches of the Allied forces.

The left shoulder features a beautiful British made, felt and bullion US Army Air Forces insignia with the 8th Army Air Forces insignia on the right. The inside rear lining still retains a full manufacturer’s label:

DRAWING NO. 30-1415
CONTRACT NO. W535 AC-27752
Size 38

This is truly a beautiful, scarce museum quality example worthy of an advanced collector. Jacket shows signs of age, wear and use but all leather remains solid, soft and supple with no signs of any sort of leather conditioner or “preservative” having ever been applied. We rate the jacket as being in good to very good condition.

Jacket maintains the original Talon zipper with the bell style pull. The zipper is marked “TALON” to all portions including the zipper pull, slider front and rear as well as the zipper stop front and rear. Zipper functions smoothly and perfectly and is not damaged, loose or separating in any areas. Collar maintains the hook and loop fasteners and buttons, all also remaining undamaged and functioning properly. The front pockets show no damage and the buttons function properly, but do show a bit of verdigris that should easily clean away.

Jacket maintains it’s original cuffs and waistband that remain in very solid condition but do show a few snags and small holes. The interior of the jacket maintains its original cotton liner that remains mostly attached and in good condition with minor tearing and separation towards the top. Shows signs of age and wear with a few minor spots of soiling. Leather hanging tab also remains firmly attached to the interior collar by its original thread and remains very solid, showing only minor age and wear.

Overall, this is truly a beautiful and scarce example of a WWII USAAF issue A-2 jacket!

Approximate Measurements
Collar to shoulder: 10"
Shoulder to sleeve: 24”
Shoulder to shoulder: 16”
Chest width: 19”
Waist width: 18"
Hip width: 17”
Front length:25 "

784th Bombardment Squadron
The 784th Bombardment Squadron is the senior predecessor of the 784th Tactical Air Support Training Squadron. It was organized in August 1943 as a heavy bomber unit. After training in the United States with Consolidated B-24 Liberators, the 784th moved to England, where it participated in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Following V-E Day, it returned to the United States, where it began training with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, but was inactivated in October 1945.

The unit's second predecessor is the 784th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was briefly active at George Air Force Base, California in 1964. The two inactive squadrons were consolidated in September 1985, but the consolidated 784th Tactical Air Support Training Squadron has never been active.

The 784th Bombardment Squadron was activated at Alamogordo Army Airfield on 1 August 1943 as one of the four original squadrons of the 466th Bombardment Group. After training there with Consolidated B-24 Liberators, the squadron departed for the European Theater of Operations in February 1944. The ground echelon proceeded to the port of embarkation for transport to Europe by ship, while the air echelon ferried their Liberators via the South Atlantic Ferry route.

The squadron arrived at its combat station, RAF Attlebridge in England in March 1944. It flew its first combat mission on 22 March in an attack on Berlin, Germany. It engaged primarily in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany, with targets that included oil refineries and facilities at Bohlen and Misburg, marshalling yards at Liège and Saarbrücken, factories at Brunswick, Kempten and Eisenach, repair facilities at Reims, mining facilities near Hamburg and airfields at Saint-Trond and Chartres.

The squadron also flew air support and air interdiction missions. It attacked pillboxes in Normandy on D-Day to support Operation Overlord and performed interdiction missions against targets beyond the beachhead in the following days. During Operation Cobra, the breakout at Saint Lo in July, it bombed German positions in the city. It attacked lines of communication during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. On 24 March 1945, it supported Operation Varsity, the airborne assault across the Rhine by attacking a military air base at Nordhorn. The squadron's last mission of the war was flown on 25 April 1945 against electrical facilities at Traunstein.

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