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Author Topic: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing  (Read 377 times)

Offline mtnman

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Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« on: August 01, 2018, 01:21:10 PM »
I wanted to share with you, fellow collectors, one of the most stunning and highly reflective bullion theater made pin-back RAF wings I've ever owned. The quality of the bullion along with the excellence of the embroidery made this wing stand out immediately. From what I gather, questioning the prior steward of this badge, this was purchased from a BFTS (British Flight Training Schools) pilot who had done his time in the CBI theater and rotated back to one of the BFTS in the US listed below from the BBC website:

The six BFTSs were, with opening dates:
1 BFTS   Terrell, Texas   9 June 1941 *
2 BFTS   Lancaster, California   9 June 1941 *
3 BFTS   Miami. Oklahoma   16 June 1941 *
4 BFTS   Mesa, Arizona   16 June 1941 *
5 BFTS   Clewiston, Florida   17 July 1941 *
6 BFTS   Ponca City, Oklahoma   23 August 1941
7 BFTS   Sweetwater, Texas   May 1942 but closed August 1942 **

** I have not researched this yet but I believe the Sweetwater Texas BFTS could possibly have been closed as Jacqueline Cochran and her pioneers of female flyers in support of the war effort, the intrepid WASP's, were about to open up shop in early 43, training in Sweetwater Texas at Avenger Field. Does anyone have info on this?

The British flight training schools were unlike the standard US flight training program for the Army Air Force in that they did not divide the training into 3 schooling levels of gradual acclimation to higher and higher skill levels:1 Primary 2 Basic 3 Advanced (the 4th and last "training" was simply transition to their given operational aircraft design i.e. single-engine fighter, multi-engine bomber etc.) at different locations in the states. All 3 levels of flight training were accomplished at each school individually. Here is a list of the basic requirements at each level from Wikipedia:

USAAF schools
Pilot School

1. Primary Pilot Training taught basic flight using two-seater training aircraft. This was usually done by contract schools (civilian pilot training schools) through the Civil Aeronautics Authority War Training Service (CAA-WTS). Cadets got around 60 to 65 flight hours in Stearman, Ryan, or Fairchild primary trainers before going to Basic.[14]

2. Basic Pilot Training taught the cadets to fly in formation, fly by instruments or by aerial navigation, fly at night, and fly for long distances. Cadets got about 70 flight hours in BT-9 or BT-13 basic trainers before being promoted to Advanced Training.[15]

3. Advanced Pilot Training placed the graduates in two categories: single-engined and multi-engined. Single-engined pilots flew the AT-6 advanced trainer. Multi-engined pilots learned to fly the AT-9, AT-10, AT-11 or AT-17 advanced trainers.[16] Cadets were supposed to get a total of about 75 to 80 flight hours before graduating and getting their pilot's wings.[16]

4. Transition Pilot Training Single-engined pilots transitioned to fighters and fighter-bombers and multi-engined pilots transitioned to transports or bombers. Pilots got two months of training before being sent into combat duty.

Unlike the Japanese who kept their best pilots on the front lines until they were dead, greatly diminishing the quality of incoming pilots over time, the allies would rotate pilots with myriad skills from combat, into the training programs just as this pilot, whose name I could not obtain, rotated into the British Flight Training Schools in the United States after his time in India and Burma, so as to teach that which cannot be obtained through study of theory, but only through experience and that is the wisdom of the combat pilot veteran. I have heard over and over again from interviews with World War II pilots that there is no shortcut or teaching method regarding the technical aspects of flying that can give what only experience can give when one is speaking of piloting a combat aircraft.

Enjoy the wing gentleman...
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 01:31:53 PM by mtnman »

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2018, 07:42:40 PM »
mtnman,

Another great wing!  Not to hijack your thread but I also have a uniform associated with the BFTS.  Here's what I've found.  A USAAF officers jacket, id'd to a Joseph W. Harpham, with the a full size RAF wing/brevet. My research indicates that this man graduated from the # 5 BFTS school in Clewiston FL. What is not well known is that the RAF set up 7 of these flight training schools in the USA. #5 being in Cleweston FL, Riddle Field. These schools graduated approximately 18,000 RAF pilots. In the spirit of Allied cooperation some USAAF cadets were allowed to train with their British counterparts at these BFTS (British Flight Training School). Approximately 1,000 USAAF pilots graduated from the BFTS system. Since these were British flight traing schools the USAAF cadets were awarded by the Royal Air Force, at graduation ("Wings Parade" to the British), the RAF wing and were authorized to wear them on their USAAF uniforms.The USAAF cadets only participated in 7 of these "mixed" classes.  Course numbers 12 through 18, none before and none after.  I have attached a Course class photo. Harpham is pictured in the Course 16 photo, 3rd row, 2nd from the right.
  Harpham upon graduation flew with the USAAF ATC.
P.S. Did you check out my other Ferry Command and ATA postings?  Couple of nice bullion Ferry Command wings pictured including one of the more difficult to find 45 Group wings.  And again thanks for your recent postings, great stuff!
Paul

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Offline mtnman

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2018, 10:41:25 PM »
Just an exquisite grouping and an excellent survey of the history of this man's progress through a very limited group's participation in the BFTS program for American Flyers! You hit a homerun with this grouping. Please send me a front and if you can, a rear picture of the US Wing on his left chest and a close up of the RAF wing if you would please. What an amazing find. I definitely want to look at any other postings you have so I will check through the system, your past postings as it sounds like that's what you're talking about regarding the other wings. Please keep these excellent examples coming and I will do the same, I will have some more most likely tomorrow for you buddy! Blessings in your future collecting... Mel

Offline Desertrat

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2018, 07:11:36 AM »
Beautiful wings and thanks for the history of the BFTS. There is a museum in Terrell, TX dedicated to the 1 BFTS.
US Army 1984-1991
TxARNG 1991-2004
VFW Post 4002- Chaplain and Adjutant

Offline Kohima

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2018, 07:19:05 PM »
Wow, nice !



Kohima
On the edge of a tennis court far, far from home, the Sgt. shouted: Son, pass me a grenade !  The Battle of Kohima. Naga Hills, 1944.

Valhalla I am coming !........Led Zeppelin

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2018, 05:27:07 AM »
Just an exquisite grouping and an excellent survey of the history of this man's progress through a very limited group's participation in the BFTS program for American Flyers! You hit a homerun with this grouping. Please send me a front and if you can, a rear picture of the US Wing on his left chest and a close up of the RAF wing if you would please. What an amazing find. I definitely want to look at any other postings you have so I will check through the system, your past postings as it sounds like that's what you're talking about regarding the other wings. Please keep these excellent examples coming and I will do the same, I will have some more most likely tomorrow for you buddy! Blessings in your future collecting... Mel

Here are the close ups of the wings on Harpham's service coat.  Sorry no backside photo of the US wing, the roller catch seems to be stuck and I did not want to try and force it.
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Offline mtnman

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2018, 11:57:54 AM »
Great pictures Paul, and beautiful authentic wings! The  wing that is US standard pilot wing issue, is what we call the Bell pattern Wing as it was by Bell Manufacturing who die stamped the wing and I believe they were in the Southwest if I recall correctly but don't hold me to that. Thank you so much for giving me a close-up of those beautiful wings, authentic, period specific, Beautiful and just, as I said earlier, exquisite history!

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2018, 12:07:10 PM »
Great pictures Paul, and beautiful authentic wings! The  wing that is US standard pilot wing issue, is what we call the Bell pattern Wing as it was by Bell Manufacturing who die stamped the wing and I believe they were in the Southwest if I recall correctly but don't hold me to that. Thank you so much for giving me a close-up of those beautiful wings, authentic, period specific, Beautiful and just, as I said earlier, exquisite history!

Thanks for the comments. Just in case you don't have a chance to look at all my recent posting concerning the RAF Ferry/Transport/ATA Commands here are the two wings I was speaking about.  Looking forward to seeing some more of your wings and collection.

Paul
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Offline mtnman

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2018, 09:15:51 PM »
Paul, I want to commend you on your acquisition of an RAF Transport Command tunic! Just beautiful wings and what a rarity.

I guess we can keep this thread going and share with each other further. My next acquisition was a flight lieutenant who I purchased from a fellow in Australia who had taken the Insignia off the tunic & shirt he needed for his display in the area of ambulance drivers in World War II which he showed me and was magnificent and so well done. He was heart and soul into preserving the history and giving a pure and honest display of what these men War and the environment within which day functioned in their respective duties with an elaborate presentation of mannequins etc.

He preserved the buttons from the tunic which are all JR Gaunt & Son London maker marked as well as the ribbon board with the 39-45 star ribbon, the star of Africa, the star of Italy, the defense medal ribbon and the distinguished flying cross, he preserved the shoulder cuffs foreflight lieutenant and finally, the most beautiful and solid constructed and intricate RAF World War II winged I've ever seen. I worked hard to try to find the Pilot's name but I could not and he looked throughout the tunic and could find nothing. Enjoy my friend!  The pictures malfunctioned and I will get them on tomorrow
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 09:36:02 PM by mtnman »

Offline mtnman

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 05:47:45 PM »
pics of above description

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« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 06:02:12 PM by mtnman »

Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Beautiful Pin Back Indian Theater Made Bullion RAF Pilot Wing
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2018, 12:39:30 PM »
Hey Mtnman,

Great display and LOVE that wing.  What an unusual and unique backing attachment.  I have never seen that before.  Thanks for posting!

 

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