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WW2 British and Commonwealth Air Force Wings and Insignia collection - Post your Own!

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WW2 RAF and Commonwealth wings and insignia are a great area to collect as there are so many variants, not just in for which country they were awarded to, but also the year of when they were made and also where they were made and the style of manufacture.

This is only a very small collection but hopefully others can post their own collections on here?

First up are my variants of RAF wings. A padded Pair, a 1943 pattern, a early post war heavily padded pin back pair and an early 1960s mess dress pair.

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Next up is a Second World War Royal Flying Corps Pilots wings.

These were worn by RFC pilots who had served in the First World War who were now serving in uniform in some capacity during the Second. This was usually as part of the home guard.

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Here are two pairs of RCAF pilots wings. One flat pair and one heavy padded pair.

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Here is a fairly rare pair of wings. A RNZAF pilots wings in the padded varient, almost certainly a private purchase by an officer

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Here is a fine pair of RAAF pilot wings taken from a Sgt Pilots uniform I believe

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Next are two different variants of observers wings. These were phased out in 1942 and replaced by Navigator Wings I believe

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Here we have some RCAF Air Gunner and Wireless Air Gunner half wings

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Here are some British AG half wings, one padded and one flat type.

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Here we have a bomb Aimer's wing and Engineers wing and a heavy padded Navigator wing

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Here are some shoulder eagles and nationality titles , all are original wartime issues but a couple were never issued and came from an unused roll

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After the conclusion of the North African campaign in World War II, South Africans were given home leave before embarking on the Italian campaign.  One such man was Captain J O de Waal, South African Air Force.  When he went north again he left behind with his parents a tunic he had worn in North Africa.  On 25 May 1944 he was killed in action. In addition to his parents, he left behind a widow and a young son.  His father gave me the wings during the 1950's.

Brett

 

WINGS  - J O DE WAAL 1.jpg

WINGS - J O DE WAAL 2.jpg

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Fantastic wings Brett! It's brilliant that they are attributed and great that they have been in your safe hands for the last 60 years too! Quick internet search shows that he served in 2 Squadron which operated Tommahawks, Kittyhawks and finally Spit's! very cool!

The first set of wings i posted (Padded kings crown) belonged to Flt Lt Frankie Hall of 1 Sqn and later 60 Sqn ( I have his medals too). He flew Hurricanes throughout the war over England and France (Flew alongside Karel 'Kut' Kuttelwascher, the Czech Ace) and then moved out to Burma. In 1944, his Hurricane crashed and hit the ground whilst he was leading a patrol. It is thought that the oxygen in his cockpit failed and he passed out at the controls. A sad end for a brave pilot.

Thanks very much for posting!

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Thank you for replying to my post, Rob.  The wings are in a small cardboard box together with all the buttons from the tunic, as well as an identity disc.  Other contents of the box include a small Union Jack and incomplete set of cards depicting 'British Empire Victoria Cross Heroes' from WWII performing the deeds that won them the VC. From this you will be able to deduce one of my childhood interests!

Regards

Brett

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Brett,

Funnily enough, one of the things that sparked my military interests was a book my father gave me when i was about 7 called 'British VC's of World War Two'! 

I think my favourite VC of the second world war was Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes who was only 24 when he was killed whilst winning his VC for a raid an enemy HQ 250 miles behind enemy lines which was believed to contain Rommel. He coincidentally once got into a fight with Paddy Mayne, (For which Mayne was arrested) the legendary SAS warrior and Rugby Player who won 4 DSO's and was turned down for a VC!

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Rob

We have much in common!  The North African campaign was one in which many South Africans were involved, so it has been of particular interest to me.  Col Keyes and his VC action is on one of the VC cards in my collection, so I have known about him for a long time.

Another card from the North African campaign is my favourite.  It shows Sgt Quentin Smythe of the SA Forces in his VC action.  Smythe was at the high school in Estcourt that I attended in the 1950's, by which time his helmet and bayonet were on display in the foyer of the school hall.  Smythe served in Natal's premier regiment, the Royal Natal Carbineers, whose Zulu War badge I use as my avatar.  Another indirect connection is that the Estcourt Municipality annually gave a university scholarship named in Smythe's honour, and it helped me in my first three years at the University of Natal.

With your interest in the RAF I am sure that you know that two of the RAF's WWII VC's went to men from Natal- Squadron Leader J R Nettleton and Major E Swales DFC (SAAF, seconded to RAF).

Regards

Brett

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Hi Brett,

Swales VC is one of those which probably cause a lot of controversy in that over 17000 civilians were killed during the attack, however it is described as one of the most accurate bombings of the war. 

Like many other Air Force VC's, he sacrificed himself and stayed at the controls of his stricken aircraft so that his crew could bale out and survive. Very sad and incredibly brave!

Just today, I was walking past Burlington Arcade in London and thought I'd pop into Hancocks who have always and still make the Victoria Crosses. I got a look at the replicas which they have produced a limited amount of and I must say they are very similar to the original which I have also held. Easily the best VC replica one can buy!

I am trying to find a South African Air Force P.O.W group for my collection so if and when I find one, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! I've just acquired a Second World War naval pow group which is the hardest of all to find so will be posting about that one soon!

Rob

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Rob, I hope that you do find a SAAF PoW group, and I will look forward to reading the resultant post.

Regards

Brett

Swales is no longer officially remembered here.  The highway in Durban named in his honour has been renamed after a "struggle hero", who was executed as a terrorist in an earlier time.

 

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