Military - US Insignia, WW2 Patches,
US Military Memorabilia
Digger talks to Kevin Kaye at Seal Military whose hobby
for US Militaria keeps him busy, buying and selling via The
Internet as well as at numerous events on the Vintage, Retro
and WWII calendars around the UK.
uniforms, badges, insignia, belts, caps, shirts, gloves,
trousers, jackets, bags & holsters are all available,
either as original items or authentic reproductions.
Please tell us something of your background and the background
to Seal Military Kevin.
I'm a former professional fire officer with 31 years service
attaining Divisional Commander rank. I retired in January 2007 &
started building the business up from then. I'm still in
employment with a large insurance firm checking buildings
worldwide for fire risk. So my wife Beverley runs the ship
during the week & I take the helm at the weekend shows. It
started as a result of 25 years of walking the USAAF airfields
in the UK and reading the group histories. As besides the kit,
customers are also buying your knowledge.
This is a hobby/business. Your website shows that you have a
diary packed full of events that you attend. Please tell us
more about these various events and shows.
Events range from large to small WW2/1940 shows, with outdoor
shows generally between April & October and several indoor
shows over the Winter. Increasingly mixing the venues between
pure 1940/WW2 shows, US Car shows & R&B music-related
events, as many customers span a wide spectrum of US interest.
What are your historical and retro passions and what gives you
most pleasure running Seal Military?
I've always been a big fan of the USAAF in Britain and have
walked the majority of old USAAF airfields in Norfolk &
Suffolk. In addition I'm an avid reader of 20th century history,
particularly military. In addition to my USAAF interests
I have visited many battlefield locations in Europe over 20
years; Normandy, Arnhem, Ypres, Passchendale, Vimy,
Rome, Anzio, Monte Casino, etc. As a former Northern Soul boy
I'm also a big R& B music fan - Lavern Baker, Ruth
Brown, Esther Philips, etc. So there's quite a tie in to the R&B
& Rock a Billy crowd, many of whom also cross over into the
1940s scene. Re: pleasures - putting aside not erecting
& dismantling the marquee over the Winter months, the
many good friends and loyal customers I have acquired over the
last 4 years who are often avid historians themselves
providing a common interest.
WWII holds a particular fascination and focus for the British.
Why is that do you think?
Nostalgia & Retro is a release from the instant society we have
de-generated into in the last twenty years. IT has become
the new industrial revolution - substituting call centres for
the former spinning mills & with everyone now tied to Blackberries
night & day. WW2 was a period when courage &
individualism was valued & commemorated, not derided as
And why do you think there continues to be such a huge
interest in retro, vintage and nostalgia generally in all is
As above plus it is a great look - the scene is both a
collector's market and fashion industry & the crowd look
stunning in their gear. Whether it is the girls in their 40s or
50s clothing or the guys in the different uniforms & retro
styles. I suppose it's also an escape from the conformist lifestyle that appears to trap so many today but perversely also
necessary to provide the funding to escape!
Who are your typical customers, if such a thing exists, and
what sorts of comments and feedback are you getting?
They range from collectors to new starters who are getting
into the scene and long-standing customers - many are
very loyal & I estimate I have an 80% return
rate (not sure if it's the abuse I give them - they seem
to thrive on it.)
What impact does The Internet have on your business?
You cannot beat physically displaying the merchandise or
meeting customers in person at events but The Internet
allows a higher level of after- event sales and negates the
need for a physical shop, etc. 7 days a week.
Are these items getting more difficult to source?
Yes - inevitably they're not available in the same quantities
previous years. I buy original items in the US each year but
increasingly am moving to manufacturing reproduction items.
Where do you see the future for Seal Military?
Growing steadily and providing good quality repro US WW2
and 50s kit at a fair price. I have several selected
manufacturing partners who ensure good quality & are
equally watching the business grow. I do not want to be
a high- volume provider chained to a PC and warehouse 24/7 as I
would lose my interest and enjoyment in the shows.
to Seal Military. You will find a wide range of US
Patches, Insignia, WW2 replica US uniform and other
miscellaneous items that are available for the US
re-enactor and collector. In particular USAAF flyer, US
Paratrooper, US Navy Officer and a growing US women's
uniform & insignia range such as WASP and War
I am a keen 20th century military historian with a
particular interest in US WW2 operations and have walked
many of the old USAAF airfields in the UK. I regularly
attend WW2 and re-enactment events and meet many of my
loyal customers & good friends at these shows.
131 Shardlow Road