As I said,I cannot recognise it as a Chest Type parachute.However after taking down the details,the item shown appears to be the Seat Type parachute pack 15A/96 which was part of the Mark 2 parachute used on RAF aircraft where the aircrew remained at their station.It appears that this gear was used, postwar, by such people as those whose duties involved flying RAF piston engined trainers and would be similar to the Seat Type Pilot parachutes used on WW2 fighter aircraft,although it has to be said the latter parachute appeared to be more of a baggy or bulk design.
Of course the Chest Type (Observer) type parachute allowed a pilot on a large aircraft a degree of "relaxation" and relief when situations were convenient on a long haul.One luxury was the provision of the Elsan toilet at the rear of the aircraft.There are many stories about mishaps with the Elsan chemical toilet and I have just been reading an account of such an incident.A No 51 Squadron Halifax, homeward bound to Snaith was left in the hands of the Bombe Aimer while the skipper relieved himself at the rear.Unfortunatly both engines on one side of the aircraft were shutdown inadvertently by the Flight Engineer.The Bomb Airmer had no experience of assymetric flying of the aircraft as the aircraft took a sudden dive and stability was only restored after a fight against rudder imbalance. Even then,the crew subsequently found themselves,after the struggle to stablise the aircraft,to be on a course heading back to Germany.Meanwhile the skipper, a Flight Commander, fought his way back to the cockpit in a "rather aggrieved mood" stinking of the contents of the Elsan.Apparently he was particularly upset because he was wearing his best blue,hoping to get a quick exit on leave when he arrived back at Snaith.
Now had he been wearing a Seat Type (Pilot) parachute, he may have had the choice of wearing a rubber tube/ urine bag Heath Robinson device such as those available to fighter pilots on long range escort duties into the German heartland.There are plenty of incidents related to these bags from USAAF fighter pilots when in combat roles over German territory.
Getting back to the use of the Seat Type (Pilot) parachute, there were examples of RAF Bomber Command aircraft which spring to mind,one which you mention being the Battle,the other is the Hampden where it was impossible for the pilot to leave his operating station when airborne and as such the Seat Type (Pilot) parachute was the only option.These aircraft had cramped cockpits with little room for ancillary gear.
Edited by Harry Ree, 08 April 2010 - 12:48 PM.