By Mark Pickett, Front of House Trainee
Flying goggles with canvas head support
The flying goggles were used by Robert Kipling, a Flight Lieutenant at RAF Hornchurch of 54 (F) Squadron, in 1940 – 42.The goggles have two earpieces to hear radio commands, along with a wire which was presumably plugged into his plane. The Spitfire planes used by Kipling’s Squadron defended London and the South East in the Battle of Britain.
The objects large goggles and hat protected Kipling from the windy and cold environment at high altitude.
It is my favourite object because fighter aces were idolised and famous during the war and after. Having local heroes like Kipling brings in a personal and local element to the Second World War, a war fought on a massive scale.
Kipling would have also used the pilot’s logbook and compass displayed near the headset. Seeing a whole set of pilot equipment together is amazing, but the goggles allow the closest connection with our pilots.