Can you help? Under investigation is the existence of Blanco for RAF webbing. For sure there was a Pickerings version that appeared in 1954 but was there ever a WW2 version? If you have any blue-grey Blanco in your collection or indeed any documentary evidence then it would be great to hear from you. Contact page.
The ‘Web Equipment, R.A.F., Pattern, 1925’ introduced in 1927 was manufactured in blue grey canvas. Air Ministry Weekly Orders No. 793. 1927 states “Arrangements are being made with the Army, Navy and Air Force Institutes for approved cleaning material to be placed on sale at R.A.F. Station Institutes.”. There seems therefore to have been an intention to made a blanco-type product available – whether this actually happened is another question.
More information about pattern 25 webbing can be found on the Karkee Web website, along with a scan of the above mentioned order www.karkeeweb.com/patterns/1925/1925_LoC.html
Duncan Nisbet kindly sent this photo that might possibly give some weight to support the existence of a blue-grey Blanco product. The webbing has the distinctive ‘dry and chalky’ feel and appearance of the wetted block type of webbing cleaner. However, the first RAF blue grey cleaner produced by Fleet (well post-WW2) was a compressed powder in a tin, much like Blanco, that required a wetted brush to apply – so ‘dry and chalky’ may not be conclusive evidence of a pre-war Pickering’s product.
This photo shows at the top a used pattern 1925 ammo pouch, issued 1940 and used by a very travelled (June 1940 (Battle of Britain), Africa, Italy, Normandy) till de-mob in 1945. No manufacturing is date visible and as far as can be seen, never been blancoed.
And from left to right:
Old webbing originally done with a Pickerings/Fleet/Quippy/Propert’s paste-type cleaner
Pattern 1937 L Strap with suspected clay-based Blanco
Untreated RAF webbing (unissued pattern 1937 brace, AM stamped and manufactured 1941)
RAF Pattern 1937 L Strap with Tarrago Shoe Cream blanco recently applied.
Photo: Duncan Nisbet