Did RAF fighter pilots wear ties while flying in WW2?

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It seems like that would be uncomfortable, if not dangerous, while you are experiencing high-Gs and low oxygen. However, the above movie includes Wellum himself (portrayed above), so presumably the producers had a chance to consult him.

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    Do you want to know if all RAF pilots wore ties or if any pilots wore ties or if regulations stated that they should (or should not) wear ties while flying?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 10:58
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    Seems like uniform regulations and images should be available online. What have you checked so far?
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 11:22
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    During the Battle of Britain, I imagine that the pilots flew wearing whatever they had on when the alarm sounded. Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 12:04
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    @KillingTime Like here? Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 12:47
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    @MaxB I'm curious how you think anyone would determine "the percentage of flight-hours attributed to tie-wearing pilots"? Do you think their attire was recorded in their flight logs? Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


A quick browse through the imperial war museum collection suggests that ties were relatively common.

This picture shows two pilots with ties and one with some sort of scarf (which could be hiding a tie underneath) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205452816

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205446953 shows a Canadian pilot with a tie.

Just for good measure this photo shows 3 polo necks and two ties https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209999

So in terms of the book picture I would say it's fine but I'm struggling to find proper combat pictures with ties visible there is a few "scramble" pictures for example https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205447273 but I'm not sure how many were just for the camera.

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