Part Five - Morlands During War Time
We are very fortunate to have hundreds of documents, photographs and catalogues in our archives, dating back to the 1800's. As part of our 150th year anniversary, we are proud to share some of our heritage and share the Morlands journey with you.
During the first World War sheepskin and wool were seen as essential materials to keep British troops warm in the harsh environments. In particular, the R.A.F needed a solution to keep their pilots warm as most aircraft did not have an enclosed cockpit. The US air force introduced heavy duty flight jackets in 1917, lined with fur and high wrap around collars. Soon after the R.A.F commissioned British manufactures to replicate the design and the Morlands factory and its employees were enlisted into the war effort.
During the Second World War the Morlands factory started to produce fur lined flying boots, commissioned by the Air Ministry. High quality sheepskins were also processed for other firms to make into flying clothing. Pictured left (Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheepskin_boots) are some Soviet pilots wearing a mid length flight boot similar to the boots worn by the British pilots. These boots were commonly known as 'fug' boots, a name that was adopted by a certain sheepskin boot manufacturer after the war.
The technical advances made to meet Ministry specifications lead to improvements in the quality and appearance of all the Morlands products, when peacetime arrived in 1945 the demand from the civilian market increased. After the war, Morlands concentrated on fleece lined leather footwear. Acquiring skins of the right type and quality became more demanding as production increased. The market demanded a greater range of styles and colours and the business grew rapidly.
Throughout both World Wars the employees of the factory played a pivotal role. Those who could not fight, young and old, replaced the men and women who were conscripted into the war effort. Sadly not everyone returned and today we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. A memorial stands opposite the Morlands factory remembering those who died.
Great War. 1914 - 1918
Stanley H. Blacker
William H. Carpenter
Wilfred Lucas Maundrell
World War Two. 1939 - 1945