achern

Marshal of the Royal Air Force shoulder straps

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Gents,

Here is a pair of original MRAF shoulder straps I'd like to share with you. Comments are most welcome.

uk-mraf-obv-small.jpg

-alf

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Alf - where do you find these lovely pieces - superb workmanship. I think an Air Marshall is the equivalent of a General - so, important. Do you know who they belonged to ? Mervyn

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Thanks Mervyn. I got these in London. These are quite new, from a tailor, and I doubt anyone has worn them before. The rank is Marshal of the Royal Air Force, which is equivalent to a Field Marshal.

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Alf - they abolished a lot of the top ranks - ie. - there are no more Field Marshalls - only surviving members of the Royal Family. However, I always understood that an Air Chief Marshall was the equal of a FM ?

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Mervyn, I believe there are five gentlemen appointed to the rank of MRAF who are still alive today. One of them is Sir Peter Harding who resigned from the RAF in 1994, another is Prince Philip, who was appointed to the honorary rank in 1953.

According to the tailor, he has not made new orders for this rank in the last twenty five years.

The rank is also the most junior of the three services, following behind the Navy and then Army.

Air Chief Marshal is the current rank of the service chief, which is a four-star rank. MRAF is a step higher, reserved for past service chiefs and royals, but was abolished in 1994. This rank was equivalent to the Admiral of the Fleet and Field Marshal.

-alf

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Gents, here is another, older example of a pair of shoulder boards for a Marshal of the Royal Air Force. These, unusually, do not have the royal cyphers on them, and there is no sign of them having ever been attached. I can't imagine why. These boards appear to have been used, but are not named.

uk-MRAF-2-obv-small.jpg

uk-MRAF-2-rev-small.jpg

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Alf - one of the reasons they were given this exalted rank at retirement - or, as an honour - is that it carries an enormous salary.

Since the rank is given for life it effectively becomes a very large additional pension. When you consider Prince Phillip, he holds the senior

rank for all three Services - and in addition is the Colonel in Chief of the Royal Marines. Goes a long way towards paying the rent .........

Perhaps you could put all of these senior rank boards into one picture - would certainly look impressive ? Mervyn

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Indeed, I don't doubt the enormity of the salary. For myself, just the shoulder boards would do!

I believe Prince Philip is now Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy - senior to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet. I wonder what sort of salary that attracts.

I would love to make a display of all three senior ranks, but am still working on the army Field Marshal bits. I haven't got a nice set of original metal ranks at the moment.

Alf - one of the reasons they were given this exalted rank at retirement - or, as an honour - is that it carries an enormous salary. Since the rank is given for life it effectively becomes a very large additional pension. When you consider Prince Phillip, he holds the senior rank for all three Services - and in addition is the Cokonel in Chief of the Royal Marines. Goes a long way towards paying the rent ......... Perhaps you could put all of these senior rank boards into one picture - would certainly look impressive ? Mervyn

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Hi Alf,

I'd like to know if these shoulder boards are still available from where you got them, cos I'm a collector as well and am really interested in them. Thank you.

- Weixiang

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Welcome to GMIC - Weixiang. Alf will no doubt post a reply to you - however, we will be interested to

learn about your collection - and where you live and work. Best wishes Mervyn

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Hi Mervyn, well I'm just a novice collector, with only a small number of items. Still having a hard time finding sources to buy shoulder board ranks.

Weixiang

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Those insignia are beautifully made, and I am sure very difficult to find. I am sure that even current use examples are "controlled" and not found in every military uniform exchange.

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Hi Weixiang, sorry I missed your post.

Since you are in Singapore, I would be happy to show you these ranks in person, where you could be one of the few to actually handle them.

I bought the first pair in London, from the tailor that makes these things by Royal Appointment. I was told that nobody had recently made any of these, as all the current holders of the rank are still using theirs, and they like it toned to show age and seniority. Nobody wants to wear new shoulder boards!

Needless to say, they cost an arm and a leg, but it was a chance too good to pass up. The next set came from an Australian seller.

It is always a tricky thing to buy these sort of things without provenance, and it takes a very careful eye to decide whether something like this is real (made by an officially appointed tailor for actual use but never used), or fake (made by someone else for collectors).

Once in awhile, a person who actually wore the rank sells it, but these items tend to be very costly.

Yes, many of these ranks are restricted items, so it would be difficult to buy them online or even from a proper manufacturer.

-alf

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Hi Guys, just a wee bit of info, the ERII badge on the first set signifies that the wearer was Equerry to the Queen.

I have a Kings Crown set to a RNZAF Air commodore who was also an Equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, this pair i have are still attached to the Tropical Mess jacket he wore

Cheers

Paul

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Hi Alf,  I stumbled on your thread which I read with interest as I too collect rank insignia and in particular that of the Royal Air Force.  At Post 6 you show a very nice pair of MRAF shoulder boards and you say that they have never been attached.  These boards are for ceremonial wear on the great coat hence the field materiel of "Crombie" and are classed as detachable hence the lugs on the reverse.  The Royal Cypher is usually a standard feature on these boards as the incumbent is usually also appointed an Air ADC to HM the Queen. I have only ever seen small cyphers on the MRAF pattern epaulets and this is probably due to the amount of area used to accommodate the Marshal's crossed batons.  The small version of the cypher is usually only worn by ex Air ADC's having relinquished their appointments and on the Mess Dress and Red Sea Rig etc. If you are interested, I have some variation MRAF and other Air Officer's epauletes which I can show on your thread?

Thank you for showing your examples.  They are very nice to see.

With thanks, regards and best wishes  Michael R

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ID: 16   Posted (edited)

The Following photographs are of several pattern of MRAF shoulder boards which other than first and forth photos are unique to the rank.Item 1/1 is a generic bard worn with the number 1 Home Dress uniform by Air ADC's to the Monarch having relinquished the appointment. In this case an ex Air ADC to HM King George VI. 1/2 Is a MRAF for wear with Number 1A Full Dress (greatcoat). Note the position of the Royal Cypher.  2. Is an unfinished boar of identical design to 1/2.  3. is a variation board with the Royal Cypher at the foot of the board. 4 Although far plainer than the others this MRAF board is far rarer and of pre War pattern for wear with the Full Dress greatcoat.  The board is unique to the rank however the pattern, with gold lace and brass gilded miniature eagles and crowns was common to all RAF officer ranks.  The eagles always fly toward the wearer's rear and never forward.  5 Is a pair of MRAF boards with the Royal Cypher EIIR at the foot of the board.  Once again, the eagles on the wreath always fly to the wearer's rear.  Contrary to popular belief, the rank of MRAF has not been abolished.   The correct current position for the Royal cypher is at the foot of the shoulder board.  The rank can still be awarded as a none executive honorary title.

Hope that this is of interest.

Regards  Michael R

13 43 - Copy (2).JPG

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13 43 - Copy (4).JPG

13 43 - Copy (5).JPG

13 43 - Copy.JPG

Edited by Michael R
Additional information

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On 3/8/2014 at 13:55, notned said:

Hi Guys, just a wee bit of info, the ERII badge on the first set signifies that the wearer was Equerry to the Queen.

I have a Kings Crown set to a RNZAF Air commodore who was also an Equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, this pair i have are still attached to the Tropical Mess jacket he wore

 

Cheers

Paul

Hello Paul, thank you for your reply to this thread. I would love to see a photo of your KC set to the RNZAF AC.

Alf

On 4/18/2016 at 03:40, Michael R said:

The Following photographs are of several pattern of MRAF shoulder boards which other than first and forth photos are unique to the rank.Item 1/1 is a generic bard worn with the number 1 Home Dress uniform by Air ADC's to the Monarch having relinquished the appointment. In this case an ex Air ADC to HM King George VI. 1/2 Is a MRAF for wear with Number 1A Full Dress (greatcoat). Note the position of the Royal Cypher.  2. Is an unfinished boar of identical design to 1/2.  3. is a variation board with the Royal Cypher at the foot of the board. 4 Although far plainer than the others this MRAF board is far rarer and of pre War pattern for wear with the Full Dress greatcoat.  The board is unique to the rank however the pattern, with gold lace and brass gilded miniature eagles and crowns was common to all RAF officer ranks.  The eagles always fly toward the wearer's rear and never forward.  5 Is a pair of MRAF boards with the Royal Cypher EIIR at the foot of the board.  Once again, the eagles on the wreath always fly to the wearer's rear.  Contrary to popular belief, the rank of MRAF has not been abolished.   The correct current position for the Royal cypher is at the foot of the shoulder board.  The rank can still be awarded as a none executive honorary title.

Hope that this is of interest.

Regards  Michael R

13 43 - Copy (2).JPG

13 43 - Copy (3).JPG

13 43 - Copy (4).JPG

13 43 - Copy (5).JPG

13 43 - Copy.JPG

Thanks Michael, for sharing these excellent photos of the MRAF ranks in your collection. Do you also have other Marshal-level ranks? I'd love to see photos of those too.

Alf

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long time being here, but hullo to all the gents :)

here are some pix of my Air Commodore RNZAF

 

Cheers

Paul

stans jacket.jpg

Stans epaulette.jpg

Looking to sell this jacket along with his Miniatures, CBE, DFC, etc...and JP (Justice of the peace badge,named) and other items

He was a Fighter pilot on Kitty hawks C/O 14 SQN RNZAF in Pacific, member of goldfish club, distinguished post war career....shot down and.... actually flew a Zero! a very Interesting character this lad...

anyone interested, just Pm me

 

Cheers

Paul

Oh! and Acherm, I lived in Singapore for a coupla years up at upper Bukit Timah,at Southaven Condos, loved it there,hope its still all good there, miss the old days there....sigh..

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Hi Alf,  Thank you for your comments.  Yes, I do have other Flag, General and Air rank stuff so if you give me an idea of what you would like to look at, I'll start a thread.

Cheers for now Michael

Hi Paul,  Thank you for showing your MD jacket.  I have sent you a couple of messages.

Cheers  Michael

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Such quality items.  Where are you finding them all?

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