Sheffield RAF serviceman killed as a teenager to appear in commemorative book

Lieutenant Frederic Hopkins will appear in the book, The RAF in 100 Objects
Lieutenant Frederic Hopkins will appear in the book, The RAF in 100 Objects
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A former Royal Air Force servicemanfrom Sheffield who was killed in action as a teenager is to appear in a new book celebrating 100 years of the service.

Lieutenant Frederic Hopkins will appear in the book, The RAF in 100 Objects, because he was one of the first men to don the service's early khaki uniform in 1918.

This is one of the earliest forms of the RAF uniform; the khaki was replaced by the darker blue in 1924. Photograph - Newark Air Museum

This is one of the earliest forms of the RAF uniform; the khaki was replaced by the darker blue in 1924. Photograph - Newark Air Museum

The RAF will mark its 100 year anniversary on April 1.

Lt Hopkins was born in Sheffield in 1899 and joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 after serving as a cadet at Corpus Christie College, in Oxford.

After transferring to the newly formed RAF, he served briefly at Waddington, in Lincolnshire, before being posted out to France where he served with 108 Squadron at Capelle.

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His uniform and jacket, which is now on display with other personal items at Newark Air Museum, in Nottinghamshire, is a reminder of a lost generation.

Lt Hopkins was killed in action on October 1, 1918, when his DH9 bomber plane was shot down over Belgium. He was just 19.

He is buried in the Harlebeke New British Cemetery in Belgium.

The uniform he is pictured wearing in the book features brass buttons and the RAF pilot winds are sewn above the left breast pocket.

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The cap is khaki fabric with a black patent leather peak and fitted with a black mohair band.

The uniform is significant because it was worn during a transition period when the RAF was being established as an independent service.

Author Peter Jacobs wrote: "The establishment of the RAF as an independent service meant the design of a new uniform.

"It was initially decided that the officer uniform was to be pale blue with gold braid trimmings, although the khaki pattern was worn until the transition was complete.

"And so there was a period when either the khaki or pale blue could be worn.

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"In fact, the changeover period was particularly slow, not helped by man new RAF recruits being issued with the older khaki pattern and because the new pale blue was unpopular, even amongst the most senior of officers."

The uniform continued to be worn until 1924 when is was finally replaced by a new blue-grey uniform - the colour and style still worn today, which replaced the unpopular pale blue with gold braid.