Objects Database

Ventile Jacket

Accession Number

1173.2014.1

Object Name

Ventile Jacket

Created

05/11/2014

Creator

Hermione Cooper

Accession Date

05/11/2014

Brief Description

Blue ventile jacket with hood. Front zipper and 5 press studs. Drawstring on hood. Four exterior pockets and one interior.press studs on pockets.

Materials

Ventile

Dimensions

Size M 82(l) x 76(w) cms

Number Of Objects

1

Inscription Description

On inside label "SURVIVAL AIDS ARCTIC RANGER DOUBLE LAYER 100% COTTON VENTILE MADE IN UK"

Colour

blue

Maker

Survival Aids

Object Production Place

UK

Provenance

History of Ventile fabrics

The long pedigree of the fabric goes back as far as the late 1930's. With war looming, the British government thought that there would be a shortage of flax that was used in those days for fire hoses and water buckets. An alternative was required and research was commenced into the use of cottons, woven in such a way as to keep water in! And it worked.
The requirements for research though changed during World War 11. Britain depended upon convoys carrying vital supplies, but our Russian convoys across the Arctic Ocean wore particularly susceptible to attack from submarines and long - range bombers. Home based RAF fighter escort cover was impossible because of distance.
So, Winston Churchill promoted the concept of catapulting expendable Hurricane aircraft from the decks of merchant ships to provide local cover. There was no means of landing back on the deck. The pilot had the choice of ditching the aircraft or bailing out into the sea. There was no problem in spotting the pilots who had signals and lights, but the water was so cold that life expectancy was only a few minutes. Most died from exposure.
There was an urgent need for a new, protective clothing fabric that would be comfortable in the cockpit under combat conditions and that would also keep a pilot warm and dry in the sea
After many trials, the scientists at the Shirley Institute in Manchester U.K. developed the fabric called 'Ventile'. When made into finished garments, life expectancy in the sea was extended from a few minutes to 20 minutes and rescue was now a real possibility. 80% of anti-subrnarine pilots who fell into the sea now survived.
Ventile fabrics for RAF clothing went into mass production in 1943 and the military association still remains today. Garment designs have changed over the years but you will still find Ventile suits in modem Tornado jets with the RAF and other NATO airforces.
Ventile is still in vogue with the outdoor fraternity nearly 100 years after it was invented. Birdwatchers and wildlife photographers love it because it is 'quiet'; mountaineers are not so keen as it's quite heavy and freezes solid when wet. Survivalists love it because it is tough and warm. The Arctic Ranger was very popular when it first appeared in the 1980's, achieving almost cult status. The makers, Survival Aids, seem to have gone bankrupt at some point and re-emerged as Penrith Survival, though we are not sure if there is a direct link.
Outdoor instructor and Mountain rescuer, Andy Cloquet donated this fine example. Cheers Andy!

Acquisition Method

Donated by Andy Cloquet

Acquisition Date

05/11/2014

Condition Check Date

05/11/2014

Rules

Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007

Modified

05/11/2014

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