From RAF to BSA

June 2024

Gordon L. Bartlett 1923 - 2023

Gordon L Bartlett 1923 - 2023

One of the finds of the year is this pair of Pinkham silk glove liners which belonged to Gordon L. Bartlett (1933 – 2023) and made their way to the collection thanks to the generosity of his children Sarah and Iain.

Gordon had given the gloves a second lease of life. As a young man he rode a BSA Bantam motorbike and used these liners inside his motorcycle gauntlets to help keep his hands warm.

After the war Gordon spent time at Portsmouth Dockyard School before going on to Durham University so it is possible that he bought this pair of liners from an Army & Navy surplus store that were around at that time.

He gave up riding the BSA around 1960; the story goes that his beloved BSA came to its sticky end when he drove it over the parapet of the Itchen Bridge. Gordon went on to be an engineer and oversaw the installation of the reactor at Hinkley Point where he continued to work until he retired. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Happily the silk liners survived and lay wrapped in tissue paper until recently discovered by Iain.

 

 

Made at the Witham factory during the Second World War, the gloves formed part of the company’s war effort in making many different types of gloves for the British and US military.

 

 

P1100868

Richard Pinkham, a grandson of William and Rebecca Pinkham was an RAF pilot throughout the war and was awarded the DFC. This association with the RAF lead the company to develop gloves for the RAF and USAF air crew to keep their hands warm. In particular electrically heated gloves were developed. This pair of silk liners would have been used as Gordon had, inside the flying gloves to add an extra layer of insulation.

1944 WD printed label

1944 WD printed label

Pinkham trademark printed label

Pinkham trademark printed label