Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club
sabrigade

Some very rare and early SAAF full dress uniforms worn prior to ww2

Recommended Posts

This is a very rare uniform and was worn by permanent force officers of the early South African Air Force.

The uniform was worn at all formal functions such as parades and funerals.

There were not many officers at the time so this uniform does not often appear and is rare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The high red collar has embroidered SAAF collar badges on a red wool collar that has Russian gold braid trimmings.

The badges appear to be dated in the early 1920's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The epaulets worn are very pronounced and stand high on the uniform.

They are made from gold cord with red stripes that possibly depict a junior officer.

These epaulets are fastened to the tunic by a gilt button by using along extender which is fastened to a bolt under the shoulder.

The rank insignia is based on the British system and are also very ornate and very well made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chris,

More than likely, as stated these uniforms were not only rare but also very expensive at the time so I doubt if they would have been replaced for a promotion..

Regards,

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mervyn,

The rare Khaki uniform is attributable and I am waiting for permission from the family to post a photograph depicting the uniform being worn.

Regards,

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are some smart looking uniforms. I like them both. Can you list the awards the man who owned the Khaki uniform earned? Do you have his ribbon or medal bars?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The son still has the decorations, medals and other items.

The owner of the uniform was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross during World War 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant! The things dreams are made of!

The khaki one matches the desciption for "Tunic, Full Dress" under the 1934 Dress Regulations for the Union Defence Forces. The 1934 regs also mention Blue Full Dress, presumably for winter wear.

Very few occasions that these would be worn. Perhaps the wearer was an ADC to someone important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you.

He was a pilot and there is a very good photograph of him in the uniform wearing a white early SAAF Wolseley pattern helmet which I hope to post soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you.He was a pilot and there is a very good photograph of him in the uniform wearing a white early SAAF Wolseley pattern helmet which I hope to post soon.

... and that really is something to look forward to!! Thanks for your postings so far - exquisite uniforms, sabrigade.

Edited by Trooper_D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, have been delighted to see these two early SAAF dress uniforms.

Can you confirm that these were both introduced in 1934 for winter and summer wear and that the blue uniform is what would be referred to as 'dress blues'?

Also, the light khaki dress uniform is obviously distinct from the gaberdine uniform introduced for summer wear in 1932, but is it based on exactly the same gaberdine material?

I have a pair of collars like those on your two dress uniforms, together with what appears to be a related cap badge. I have always assumed that these were dated from 1949 with the introduction of the blue SAAF uniform but, clearly, at least the collar badges must date from 1934. Do you know if the cap badge is connected and also dates as a full dress cap badge from 1934, or is this unrelated as a Colonel's & Brigadier's cap badge from a later period?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, have been delighted to see these two early SAAF dress uniforms.Can you confirm that these were both introduced in 1934 for winter and summer wear and that the blue uniform is what would be referred to as 'dress blues'?Also, the light khaki dress uniform is obviously distinct from the gaberdine uniform introduced for summer wear in 1932, but is it based on exactly the same gaberdine material?I have a pair of collars like those on your two dress uniforms, together with what appears to be a related cap badge. I have always assumed that these were dated from 1949 with the introduction of the blue SAAF uniform but, clearly, at least the collar badges must date from 1934. Do you know if the cap badge is connected and also dates as a full dress cap badge from 1934, or is this unrelated as a Colonel's & Brigadier's cap badge from a later period?Any comments would be greatly appreciated.attachicon.gifCap 3 Staff Officer Bullion plus Collars.JPG

'Dress blues' can refer to either the old Full Dress as above or more often to the simpler 'Undress' uniform that was plain blue with a high collar. The collars are for full dress c. 1930s. Gilt collar badges were worn with 'Undress' uniform. Cap badge you posted with them is circa 1952 colonel and brigadier cap badge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much indeed for responding to my question on bullion cap and collar badges. The Air Force badges C86 to C94 in Colin Owen's book have always seemed to be an enigma to me and you have put these three badges clearly in perspective. My interpretation of these badges would now be:

C86, bullion on khaki felt, padded, worn with the khaki uniform in the 1930s.

C87 , bullion on blue felt, colonel & brigadier, about 1952 (as related by mIlhistry, above)

C88/9, bullion collars on blue felt, SAAF officer's full dress uniform, 1930's (as related by milhistry, above)

C90, bullion with gilt eagle on blue felt, staff officer's, 1949-1959 (despite having a King's Crown - only 1 SAAF changed to a Queen's Crown!)

C91/2, variants of C90 in embroidery rather than bullion with gilt eagle. (I have never seen a C91 in the flesh!)

C93, gilt outstretched eagle on blue padded patch, SAAF Colonels & Brigadiers, 1959-2002

C94, bullion variant of C93. (Was this used on a specific style uniform or during a specific period?)

I hope this may help others to start to make sense of what just seems to be a random presentation of badges in Owen. Particularly the khaki SAAF/SALM badge (C86) ascribed to 1920 has to be wrong as it would have been SAAF/ZALM at that date. It may also be that I have still got some details wrong and I would welcome further comments from members with more experience of the precise use and period of this series of badges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They were enigmatic to me too. Fortunately I found some books with good photographs from the era.

C 86 still confuses me a bit. I have not come across any photos showing it being worn. Also no mention in 1934 Dress regs. I suspect it may be a creation of an enterprising Egyptian or Italian tailor, possibly to go on the khaki beret SAAF crews often wore in Europe in WW2.

C 94 seems to be more common (worn on the SD cap. Photos show it being worn in 1971 already. I suspect C93 may have been tge earlier version but am still looking for confirmation.

Edited by milhistry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×