Walter Beauchamp's is unique among Canadian tailors in that it has been both a civilian and military tailoring business for more than 100 years. During the First World War the demand for dress uniforms increased and Beauchamp & How stepped up production as part of their civic duty. Eventually they would produce almost all of the Royal Flying Corps uniforms ordered for the R F C men stationed in Canada.
THE RFC TUNIC OF J.W. BISHOP, DECEMBER 10, 1917
The Royal Flying Corps Canada (R F C C) was formed in the spring of 1917 and tasked with training more pilots. James Armishaw (pictured below) heard the call and enlisted. He was immediately put to work as a driver for the Flying Corps' paymaster, Major Bowler, in downtown Toronto. Having the lowest rank of "aircraftsman," Armishaw was not eligible for nor could he afford a tailored uniform. But, with so many pilots coming through the R F C C training schools, used tunics were not hard to come by. Armishaw was given a tunic (pictured above) that was originally made for an American, John Wallis Bishop, in 1917 by Beauchamp & How. The "service jacket," the tunic was special in a number of ways. Its design, a long flared coat with a deep center vent, worn with breeches,was based on the British cavalry uniforms of the late nineteenth century.