Nigel Cabourn's WWII Luftwaffe Channel Trouser Find

Nigel Cabourn’s “Channel Trouser” Find

From The Army Gym Logbook:  Mr. Cabourn scored a pair of vintage WWII Luftwaffe “channel trousers” while in Florence for Pitti Uomo.

I recently rediscovered my first edition copies, circa 1976, of Army Uniforms of World War 2 and Naval, Marine, and Air Force Uniforms of World War 2 written and illustrated by Andrew Mollo and Malcolm McGregor.  So, the trousers looked familiar when I saw them posted on Nigel Cabourn’s blog.  Sure enough, they were featured on plate 56 in Naval, Marine, and Air Force Uniforms of World War 2 worn by a very smug looking Luftwaffe figther pilot, circa 1944.

The so-called “channel trousers” were designed to be worn over the standard issue flying trousers.  They were fitted with large pockets to hold survival equipment in case the pilot was forced to ditch at sea.   In addition to the “channel trousers”, the pilot wears a M.1943 field cap along with a leather flying jacket – one of the many patterns worn by Luftwaffe fighter pilots.  I’ve included a couple of versions of the illustration below to (1) provide context and (2) justify all of the time I smoked messing about in Photoshop on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

I look forward to seeing how Mr. Cabourn incorporates elements of this design into a future collection.  I’m thinking that Ventile® would be a logical choice for the shell fabric.

Illustration of WWII Luftwaffe pilot wearing with "Channel Trousers"

Malcolm McGregor’s illustration of WWII Luftwaffe pilot wearing with “Channel Trousers”

Illustration of WWII Luftwaffe pilot with Me109

Malcolm McGregor’s illustration of WWII Luftwaffe pilot with Me 109