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Author Topic: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings  (Read 3171 times)

Offline David

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WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« on: May 09, 2016, 10:09:15 PM »
G'day all,
I thought I would begin by showing a couple of pairs of WW2 'Tropical' pin-backed RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) Pilot's Wings.
This type of 'pin-backed' Wing and other air force brevets were worn by the RAAF and other Commonwealth nations, on the ‘Tropical’ Service Dress uniform varieties (including Khaki Drill and Aertex material uniforms) adopted for use in the warmer climates. These warmer theatres of operation included the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Asia and even Australia itself.

This particular pair of Wings have been carefully sewn to a piece of aluminium with a pin attachment to the reverse and this was done to facilitate the easy removal and replacement of the Wings when the garment needed laundering. Slip-on rank slides, detachable shoulder boards, buttons, belt buckles and ribbon bars were also a feature on ‘Tropical’ Service Dress uniforms for the same reason. No official pin-backed Wings were produced by the Commonwealth countries and therefore it was up to the individual to construct what ever they could for themselves, if they so wished. The quality of these Wing set-ups can therefore vary considerably in construction and functionality and quite often press studs were also utilised instead of pins.





This pair of Wings was manufactured in Canada, as denoted by the red embroidery present in the King's Crown.
At the outbreak of WW2, the RAF, realising they would need to train many aircrew from all over the Commonwealth nations to supplement their ranks, initiated the BCATP (British Commonwealth Air Training Plan) scheme. The scheme’s purpose was to train aircrew away from war-time Britain, avoiding potential harm, as well as avoiding the overcrowding of RAF facilities, etc. For this purpose Canada was one of the main locations chosen.
The pilot who wore these particular Wings shown may have originally trained in Australia under the EATS (Empire Air Training Scheme), a precursor to the BCATP scheme, concluding his training in Canada whereupon he received his Canadian manufactured Wings upon graduation.



This second set of ‘Tropical’ Wings are much the same in construction as the first pair shown, with a slightly different pin attachment utilised.
This set of Wings is of Australian manufacture, denoted by the standard crown (being devoid of the red field present in the previous pair shown) and the classic WW2 Australian Wing pattern.



These Wings were worn by Flying Officer Alan Bruce Webb 416302 RAAF who flew DC3 / Dakotas in New Guinea during WW2.
F/O Webb’s basic service history is as follows:


Name
WEBB, ALAN BRUCE

Service
Royal Australian Air Force

Service Number
416302

Date of Birth
21 Oct 1919

Place of Birth
BROKEN HILL, NSW

Date of Enlistment
28 Apr 1941

Locality on Enlistment
Unknown 

Place of Enlistment
ADELAIDE

Next of Kin
WEBB, MARY

Date of Discharge
9 Nov 1945

Rank
Flying Officer

Posting at Discharge
3 Air Observer School

WW2 Honours and Gallantry
None for display 

Prisoner of War
No


Best regards,
David

"Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your ****, playing cricket is not" Keith Ross Miller R.A.A.F., AM MBE

Offline Air Ministry

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 01:26:07 AM »
Really nice wings David and very nice to have some history as well, I have several British tropical wings which I really like, mostly pin back but one or two with press studs. Also , somewhere I have an unissued back plate for a half wing which has never been used.
I also have one or two where they have metal medal bar fixings sewn on the back.

While it's not tropical, I also have a pin back wing which came with my white prestige suit for which I have some history.
I don`t care to belong to the sort of club that accepts people like me as members.

Offline Tug1970

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 03:28:05 AM »
Hi David, great first thread.  That was a really well written thread especially for somebody like myself who doesn't have an in depth specialist knowledge of the subject.  I've always struggled when it comes to identifying Canadian manufactured wings, I say that due to the set of Canandian manufactured RAF wings on a Glider Pilot Denison smock I have and some people instantly recognise them!  Question is what tells them apart, below are the set on the smock and his spare set of pilot wings.........maybe you can help to identify.





Tug  ;)
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline David

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2016, 11:00:39 PM »
Thank you for your replies gentlemen.

AM,
I will have to add a pair of Wings (or ten :) ) with press studs to my collection and I’m always interested in seeing any Wings, especially with history.
The unissued brevet back plate sounds very interesting also. Is that a base workshop-made type piece or an official Air Ministry manufactured item?

Tug,
There were many styles and patterns of Wings worn during WW2 by the various Commonwealth countries involved and therefore it is a subject which is extremely in-depth and I’m certainly still feeling my way.

The Canadian Wings you have posted both conform to one of the most commonly encountered WW2 Canadian Wing patterns. That is, the Wing shape, the style of crown and the machine embroidered nature of these Wings seem to set these apart from other manufacturers in the remaining Commonwealth nations.


WW2 RCAF Pilot's Wings- Obverse

If we look at my pair of RCAF Wings, which I think and are okay?, you can see the similarities straight away.
Again the crown, wing shape and style of embroidery denote these as typically Canadian in manufacture.


WW2 RCAF Pilot's Wings - Reverse

I hope this helps a little Tug :)
For many more Wing varieties this link is excellent.
http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/canada/canadapilot.shtml

Best regards,
David
"Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your ****, playing cricket is not" Keith Ross Miller R.A.A.F., AM MBE

Offline ScottG

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2016, 11:26:47 AM »
  O.K. guy's, this is some great info on the nuances of wings. So, what have I got here? Beyond the surface, are they original WWI and WWII, repro, Canadian made, etc... Most are removed from uniforms, but the grouping that they came with was a mixed bag of repro, and real good original stuff. Thanks!  Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Tug1970

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 03:03:50 PM »
I hope this helps a little Tug :)
Best regards,
David
Thanks for the information and link David, yes I agree very very similar.

Tug  ;)
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline David

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 07:53:16 PM »
No worries at all Tug ;)

G'day Scott,
I find it always best to handle brevets in person to more accurately determine their originality and I'm certainly no authority on the subject anyway.
I cannot comment on your Jump Wings, Glider Regiment or Parachute varieties as I know nothing about them at all.
With regards to the other brevets shown, I can only gauge them as I would if I were considering buying them and with that in mind I would be concerned.
This doesn't mean, definitively, that they are reproductions but I always try and go with 'one lookers' when shopping to alleviate all my concerns.

If I then concentrate on the left column of Wings. My observations are:

Red Jump Wings - no idea.
RFC - I don't like the overall style of the Wings, crown, thread used or backing to this brevet.
RCAF – These are okay, I think, for post-war Canadian manufactured Wings. Nice post war set.
RAF -  I don't like the overall style of the Wings, crown or backing to the brevet.
RAF – I don’t like the thread used in this set or the style of the lettering.

The right column:
Sorry, I just don’t know enough about these examples to comment.

I would be very interested to read any other opinions on your brevets shown.

Best regards,
David
"Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your ****, playing cricket is not" Keith Ross Miller R.A.A.F., AM MBE

Offline Tug1970

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 10:17:53 PM »
So, what have I got here? Beyond the surface, are they original WWI and WWII, repro, Canadian made, etc...
Hi Scott,

The wings (red) are Royal Navy/Royal Marines parachute qualification wings until late 80's/90's.........hard to tell if they're real as I can't make out the weave but they are slightly different to an original set I have ie embroidery style.
Right hand side (From top): British Army GPR (Glider Pilot Regiment) 2nd Glider Pilot wings.  British Army GPR Glider Pilot wings.  Again not entirely sure whether these two badges are original or repro.
Right hand side (Bottom): Parachute Regiment cap badge probably WWII bronze.
No experience with RAF wings but the AG denotes (Air Gunner).

Brgds,
Tug  ;)
 
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 10:20:23 PM by Tug1970 »
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

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Offline ScottG

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 10:45:26 PM »
  Thanks for the info David and Tug, I will add some close ups for a better look. Scott.
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Air Ministry

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Re: WW2 RAAF 'Tropical' Service Dress Uniform Pilot's Wings
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2016, 02:03:10 AM »
Hello Scott

I agree with David, but I think that the RCAF wings are copies as well.
I don`t care to belong to the sort of club that accepts people like me as members.

 

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