RAF Mae West.

[between 1940 and 1949]
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RAF Mae West. Public Domain Mark. Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


This is a clinical film showing experiments on an anaesthetised male subject in order to test the 'righting behaviour' of five different life jackets / buoyancy aids (including a German model) in a swimming pool. The experiments took place during WWII. The models are preceded with intertitles with the relevant model details: RAF Mae West, USAAF Life Waistcoat, BOT Victory Lifebelt, Morner Life Bag, German kapok life waistcoat with chin support. 2 segments.


[Place of publication not identified], s.n.], [between 1940 and 1949]

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (09:30 minutes) : silent; black and white




Copyright note

Copyright previously held by Nuffield

Terms of use

Public Domain Mark

Creator/production credits

There are no opening or closing credits.


Material from the film collection comprising of 55 items donated by Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, Oxford, to the Wellcome Trust in 2008. In 1937, Lord Nuffield established a clinical chair of anaesthesia in Oxford amidst some controversy that anaesthesia was even an academic discipline. The collection is a mixture of clinical and educational films made or held by the department to supplement their teaching dating from the late 1930s onwards.


Segment 1 Intertitle; RAF Mae West Normal floating position. An anaesthetised subject wearing a life jacket is seen floating in a pool of still water. Above and below the water shots. A swimmer in the pool turns the subject's face into the water to demonstrate the life jacket's self-righting properties. Next the USAAF Life Waistcoat is demonstrated in the same way. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:04:38:16 Length: 00:04:38:16
Segment 2 Next the BOT Victory Lifebelt is tested in the same way, followed by the Morner Bag. The final test is with a German kapok life waistcoat with chin support. Time start: 00:04:38:16 Time end: 00:09:30:04 Length: 00:04:51:13


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