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David Duxbury

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Posts posted by David Duxbury

  1. The images in post # 3 show the almost forgotten "Star & Garter" NCO aircrew badges, with an eagle at top of a circlet, latter enclosing stars, with nil star equivalent to Cadet, one star was Cpl I think, two stars Sergeant, three stars F/Sgt, and top dog "Master Aircrew" featured the Royal Coat of Arms. Actually from memory the star system did not exactly match the equivalent "ground" NCO ranks, so these did create a slight problem - my equivalents may not be absolutely correct as I am certain the full range was nil to four stars, that is five "ranks".

    So plenty of Dakotas, Hastings, one Solent flying boat (probably civilian). I am somewhat intigued by the "wrecked aircraft", but that is possibly becasue it may be laying on its side! The atmpshericc shots with the snow certainly give some "colour" to these small but interesting snaps.

    David D

  2. Notice the Astral crown atop the design, which signifies that this badge is NOT an official RAF badge, and the organisation it represents if is not strictly speaking an official military service.. I only know this because I have a relationship with the RNZAF Museum at Wigram (also known as the Ir Force Museum of NZ), which uses the Astral Crown, and it controlled by a civilian Trust Board rather than the Ministry of Defence, although there are RNZAF officers (including retired officers) military as appointments. I believe the Naval crown is used for similar purposes.

    David D

  3. Peter,

    Thought you would be a good sport about this, but your behaviour is exemplary!

    David D

    Here's what the official RCAF web site has to say: "Ever since the birth of the RCAF, the heraldic descriptions of the various Air Force badges have described the bird as "an eagle volant affronté, the head lowered to the sinister", clearly answering the question. As Wing Commander Hitchins put it, "...it was still an eagle and always had been - although the albatross was a very nice bird, too."

    The debate on what kind of bird it is has gone on since 1918, when both the British Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air service adopted the badge. So web-footed half of me was kidding! :whistle:

  4. Couldn't help but jump in on this one!

    The motto of course is the same as used by the RAF, RNZAF, RAAF, etc. I agree with everything else suggested by members, but feel that Peter is kidding us about the albatross though, presume he served in the Navy! Navy types always seems to be the source of the hoary old myth of the RAF albatross. I think the only reason they get away with it is that the rendering of the bird is so poor that it could be just about ANY kind of bird you could name! Blame the original artist.

    David D

    Simple blazer crest, definitely post 1952.

  5. Tomas,

    I would imagine that this is rather a rare item - I have never seen anything like it (although I do live in New Zealand!) This type of protective helmets began to became popular just a few years (2 or 3) before the Great War (WW1) in Europe and the UK (Rhood was a well-known maker, and another type was the Warren helmet). The Germans were rather keen on a similar type for their aircrew during the Great war. However the British seemed to shy away from protective helmets (probably because of their weight and general ungainliness) during this war, and the RAF did not introduce another protective helmet for general issue until the mid-1950s (the "Protective Helmet, Mk. 1"!) However the RAF did have an interesting looking helmet in the 1920s and 1930s, which was a modified "Solah Topi" (British style tropical protective helmet), although the protection in this case was from the sun, and not accidents. So, all in all,t thank you for showing us this most interesting specimen.

    David D

  6. Todd,

    I have never heard of RAF Transport Command buttons, and am somewhat at a loss to explain nyour SD tunic. However the button you display does conmtain the key - this is NOT and RAF button, because it it ensigned by the Astral crown rather than the soverign's crown (which was the "Imperial" crown in WW2). The use of the Astral crown (formed with stars and bird's wings) shows that this is a civilian-type uniform item (all true military and full time official services such as Police, CUstoms, etc, carry the soverign's crown). For instance the ATA of WW2 (Air Transport Auxiliary) might have worn the Astral crown, although I am not certain of this. One organization of which I do have some inside knowledge is the RNZAF Museum (I work there from time to time!) and this is NOT a military organization as such as it is controlled by a civilian-adminsutered Trust Board, although it does have military officers serving on this Board. Another interesting crown used by British and Commnwealth bodies is the Naval crown (formed from views of ships!) which is used to ensign Naval badges, among other duties!

    Nevertheless your tunic seems very similar to the normal RAF officer tunic of WW2, with 4 normal fromt buttons, and breast pockets with inverted box pleats. However the pilot badge is interesting as it is NOT and RAF badge, and does look somewhat like the ATA badge, although their uniform is black! So what do the letters on this badge read? Lii,m forward to your reply.

    David Duxbury

    Hello everyone. I recently purchased a nice RAF Transport Command tunic named and badged to an American. I would very much like to restore the tunic. As is sometimes the case, all the buttons have been cut off. Might you have some I could acquire in that button box of yours?

    I have attached images of the tunic and the buttons I am looking for. Requires four jacket buttons and four pocket buttons.

    Here is the tunic:


    Here is the button:


    Thanks for your help.




  7. This is DEFINITELY an aircraft instrument. My (limited) knowledge of the Air Ministry (RAF) stores system is that Section 6 = Aircraft equipment, with 6A = instrument, 6D = Oxygen equipment, et, etc. All you have to do it to locate a copy of AP (Air Publication) 1086 (RAF Catalogue of Stores and Equipment), Section 6, and look up Sub-section A, then check in index to find 0890 and see what it says! Of course not everybody happens to have the right volume of AP 1086 to hand, and you also have to have the issue which covers the right era (they are continually updated, and new editions are periodically issued to keep up with changing technology and style), so the suggestion to check with the RAF Museum is an excellent one. Good hunting! I also agree that in its original condition, this compass would be painted with grey enamel or similar rather than polished brass.

    David D

  8. Siegfried

    Looks very much like a typical British popeller of the 1920s to 1940s period; in fact I am part owner of an Auster 5D (DH Gipsy Major, 130 HP) which has a very similar looking prop (although with the rest of the blades of course), and to me your prop it does not look typical of WW1 props at all.

    David Duxbury

    Hi all,

    Can anyone help identify this propeller clock please , it has serial number 54064, 8 holes for the bolts and a number on the base of each blade1 or 2 stamped.

    See picture attached,

    Thank all.

  9. Stephen Miller,

    Have not got any modern RNZAF aircrew badges, but I can say that they are down to just two main flying badges being issued these days, Pilot and Air Warfare officer (I believe they got the second idea from the RAF in recent times!). However we still have the Helicopter Crewman, Flight Steward (mostly, if not exclusively female), and Load Master. There are still plenty of AEOP and Navigator badges in use, but these will gradually fade out as members retire, and I believe they also still issue a type of Air Gunner badge for ground crew personnel who volunteer to man the Browning machine guns sometimes mounted in the doorways of UH-1 helicopters when the need arises. Lastly the PJI badge is still in use, although all the trainees tend to be Army, or RNZAF personnel who have taken up parachuting as a recreational sport, including at least one padre! As with most other contemporary Commonwealth air forces, all these badges are "ensigned" (are "topped off") with a St. Edwards crown. This crown is usually referred to as the Queen's crown because most people have a problem with fact that the queen is naturally female, but St Edward was obviously a man!

    Why don't you enquire at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum? Or the Official RNZAF web site? One of these institutions should be able to supply you with the latest information, and probably downloads of the badges in question.

    David D

  10. Naxos,

    I catalogued the RNZAF MUseum textile collection about ten years ago, including all badges, rank insignia, uniforms, flying clothing, webbing gear, etc. My recollections of flying badges is that the variety is ENORMOUS, and it would be impossible to categorically state that any particualr badge was a fake as there is so little information on what the badges in question were supposed to look like. As no copies of actual manufacturing specifications sem to survive (if they ever existed in the first place, which is problematic as my feeling is that manufacturers interested in tendering for manufaaacturing contracts were probably simply supplied with an actual sample of an exisiting badge (which may have been manufactured anywhere, such as the UK, Canada or Austrailia, or Singapore, or Cairo, or Bombay!) Then the manufacturer might say that "Yes, they could make that badge, for this price, buit our machinists are not properly trained and very inexperienced, and the standard of finish might not be as good as the sample, and we cannot (in conditions of wartime NZ 12,000 miles from main source of supply) obtain good manufacturing materials at the moment, so do not expect miracles! At least that is how I imagine the system, such as it was, worked here in NZ. I do know for a fact that many newly qualified RNZAF aircrew in NZ were issued with two new badges on graduation, but were so apalled by the quality and look of them that they threw tham away and privately purchased at least one nice fat and smooth unoffical one from scertain well-known retailers, the presence of which was known to all qualified aircrew. Of course there were probably more "RNZAF" badges issued to RNZAF personnel in Canada than in New Zealand, and these were all actually Canadian-made badges which were generall of a better standard thab gebuine New Zealand ones. These baddges were also designed in Canada to Canadian standards and ideas, and their design had no NZ influence whatsoever, as the NZ Air Board was simply told that these badges would be supplied to those who qualified and the Air Board did not have to worry about sending supplies from NZ. Thus these badges were typically Canadian in style (although with "RNZAF" featuring on them), with King's (Imperial) crown on all types of aircrew, unlike any other Commonwealth air force (and very demoncratic in its way), and the pilot's badge ("Wings") often featured a sort of "Continental" (French?) touch be featuring the "slash" across the oblique stroke of the letter "Z" in the "NZ" centre piece. However I cannot say for certain that the prescence of this "slash" indicates that the badge in question was definitley of Canadian origin, but it does seem very likely. Of course the famous Canadian "WAG" badge was also issued to RNZAF graduates in Canadian schools in 1941/42 and these certainly created problems when they turned up in the UK, as the RAF would not recognize them at first, but they were very popular (especiually amongst commissioned WOAG personnel) because their full trade qualifications were contained iin the one badge instead of two (the winged A/G badge on breast, and the "Fistful of sparks" on the upper sleeve. Commissioned WOAGs liked them because, when commissioned, WOAGs had to give up their hard earned "Sparks" as this was a trade badge, and officers could never acknowledge that they were mere "tradesmen" (read "despised tradesman") for reasons of, well you know what I mean, the class thing!

    As to your "wings", the backing for this badge appears to be of the type modified for attaching to a khaki jacket (which was attached with small "snap" studs, so that the badge itself could be removed when laundering was about to be inflicted on it, which was of course guaranteed to prematurley wear the embroidered badge. On blue unforms the badgess were permanenetly attached by sewn thread. However there is no sign of there having been studs on your badge, but it still loooks like this type of backing to me.

    David D

  11. Lee,

    Try "RAF Commands", although I cannot remember if they actually have the RAF codes avaibale (although most of the memberts do!). Also "Air of authority" is an excellent site, and I think you will find a list of the codes there. Also has Command, Wing and squadron histories as well as all training units. Note that both therse sites cater moslty for the WW2 era.

    David Duxbury

    Hello All,

    Does anyone know of a website(s) that lists/explains the unit/aircraft codes that were on the sides of WWII RAF aircraft?



  12. Looking through my old Coast Guard Manual a seacock is defined as such: A vavle in a pipe connected to the sea; a vessel may be flooded by opening the seacock. The seacock is connected to the sea chest which is the opening in the hull to to allow water in.

    You are right that a ship could be scuttled that way but there are other reasons, mostly to allow counter flooding to keep the ship level. But the seachest(s) allowed sea water in for various functions, engine cooling, fresh water distillation, sanitation (before self contained sewage systems). There are many mysteries to a ship that defy reasoning but it all works.

    If your ship is in danger of capture, a valve opening to the sea is a handy thing to have, otherwise the more dangerous way would be to blow the ship up. That doesn't give much time to clear the ship.

  13. Learned old salts,

    I have always been interested in the expression "sea cocks" used to descibe some kind of valves supposedly mounted in the lowest regions of a ship (naval or merchantile apparently) which seem to serve the sole function of providing a speedy and neat way of deliberately sinking said ship for reasons unknown. I have also read one or two artilce by various 'salty sea dogs" who claim the entire concept of sea cocks is a myth spawned and propgated by writers of cheap novels, and why would any well-designed ship require a built-in self-sinking device anyway? What would the ship's insurers think of such an installation for instance? As my only experience of the bottoms of ships was working for about one wek in 1967 in a graving dock (where I also learned that practically all ships of whatever size have flat bottoms - this in itself was a revelation to me), I wonder if any of the highly knowledgeable blokes on this board could enlighten the rest of us land lubbers as to the truth or otherwise of the sea cocks legend. I can see that such a device might be useful in a top-secret experimental type of warship that might be in danger of falling into enemy hands and would have need of a rapidly functioning self-scuttling capability, and perhaps some kind of valves might be handy for purging some difficult to get at bilger water deep within the bowels of a ship in dry dock perhaps (something akin to the corks found in transom of some dinghies and small yachts), so any htopughts on this matter would be of great interst to me.

    DAvid Duxbury

  14. The General Duties Branch of the RAF was the aircrew branch; included all commissioned aircrew (officer ranks only); pilots, navigators, bomb aimers etc. There were some non-flying people in the GD Branch, such as Intelligence Officers.

    There was no citation for his MiD, he was just listed with several hundred other men.

    Regarding 'duty', where he was posted and what units he was with, I suggest you post the question at RAFCOMMANDS forum. This forum is acknolwledged as the best source of info on Commonwealth airforces on the web.

    Tell them everything you know about him, include his service number - and I suggest you paste the LG entries I provided in your query to save some duplication of effort-the forum members will appreciate it and it will demonstrate that you have done some digging already.


    Cheers, Ken

    I would just like to add that to be a member of the General Duties Branch, you HAD to be Officer aircrew; if an Intelligence Officer was in the G/D Branch he would have to be still more-or less medically fit for posting to flying duties. Normally if you were no longer fit for flying duties you would be transferred to Administrative & Special Duties (Admin) Branch. There would normally be no provision whatsoever for non-flying officers in thre G/D Branch.

    David Duxbury

  15. Not quite the same thing, as this is a Royal Air Force story, but I think it is worth the telling as it contains quite unmistakable references to Army regimental nomenclature.

    In 1941/42 the Royal Air Force was attempting to build up a credible heavy bomber force for conducting the nocturnal campaign against the 3rd Reich. One of the great white hopes so far as new aircraft types on order to undertake this campaign was the Avro Manchester, a large twin engined type powered by two very large 24 cylinder engines built by Rolls Royce and called the Vulture. Unhappily for all concerned, this engine was a bit of a shocker (typical WW2 story, revolutionary new engine, bigger and more powerful than anything else so far attempted for normal squadron use, rushed into production in a new aircraft, desparately reuqired for the growing campaign), and the reputation of this aircraft went from bad to worse. Although issued to some seven squadrons (49, 50, 61, 83, 97, 106, 207, with last named being the first to be issued with Manchesters), all of which suffered basically similar problems with this revolutionary new aircraft, one alone became known by a nickname that stuck. This was No.97 Squadron based at Coningsby, and perhaps this unit spent more time grounded because of technical issues than any other, to such an extent that it became referred to jokingly as the "97th Foot". It was re-equipped from January 1942 onwards with the Lancaster, basically a Manchester with a longer wing centre section and four Merlins in place of the two Vulture engines. Perhaps some board member can enlighten us why 97 Sqdn was so honoured as to be selected for such a name as this? Perhaps some wit in Headquarters of Bomber Command or the Group HQ who imagined it had an authentic Army ring to the number?

    David D

  16. These are certainly flying goggles, and Meyrowitz was a well known maker of such. These were not a military pattern as such, but they were a popular goggle in the 1930s, and could also be worn by motorcyclists or drivers of open cars. I believe they were quite expensive at the time, but I am not certain of the country of origin. They were widely advertised in British flying magazines in the 1930s (and American I think) - perhaps they are German or Austrian, or some other Eurpopean country. They may in fact have been one of those manufacturers with factories in several countries.

    David Duxbury

    New Zealand.

  17. Could one of our armourers help here?

    A poster on another forum has asked what the prefix letters 'BS' on a Browning aircraft machine gun serial number mean. The gun in question is the Browning M2, originally 30-06 calibre which was adopted by the RAF, rebarelled for .303 and known as the Browning MkII. Serial number is six digits with prefix BS.



    I hasten to add that I am NOT an armourer, but I believe that the "BS" prefix to the serial number indicates that it was manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms in the United Kingdom (also famous for its bicycles and motor cycles!) In fact BSA made ALL the Browning 0.303" guns delivered to the RAF so far as I know, but then again they were also manufactured (to British specs) in Canada as well. I have some serial numbers of Canadian manufactured Brownings somewhere, mainly because the RNZAF took delivery of a number of these guns to completely equip its Hudsons in 1942, and after the delivery the Canadians advised that some of them had suspect sears, and quoted the batch believed to include the faulty parts. From memory the information I saw included no prefixes for the serial numbers, but this would not have been necessary anyway as the manufacturer was already known.

    David D

  18. David,

    I wish they had always written what they had photographed on the back of their photos, including names, ranks and units of any soldiers in the background, where the photo was taken & exact date.

    Thanks for your reply and welcome to the forum.



    Glad I could be of assistance. Actually you may have noticed that I was so busy looking up my reference books that I did not even notice there was a "Part 2" to your thread, which included fact that the other readers were on to it too! Still, I got there in the end, and it was only a matter of time - they even had an excellent picture of it already on the thread. A great hunt!

    David D from New Zealand

  19. Engineers in pacific.

    Some numbr of years ago I catalogued the textile collection of the RNZAF Museum at Wigram (Christchurch, NZ), including several types of Tropical helmets. Most were of the American variety as shown in the photographs of NZ personnel in the Pacific. Others were very similar but manufactured in Canada by the Canadian branch of one of the American companies. They are NOT Pith helmets as such, which were generally made in India for the British forces in that part of the world and were made from the pith of a tree called the Sola, this Sola Topee (or similar spellings). Topee (Topi) is a Hindi (Indian) word meaning hat. The RNZAF also received genuine Sola Topees from India earlier in the war, and you sometimes see these in use with the RNZAF in Fiji. RNZAF personnel in the SIngapore/Malaya theatre in 1941/early 1942 (and of course later in India and Burma) were also issued with true "Pith" helmets. The true "Pith" helmet (Sola Topee) was quite light (probably the reaon this material was used in the first place), had a completely flat top with attached ventilator, a thick steeply sloped brim with a thick rolled-under lower edge, and a real pugaree (from Hindi Pagri, for turban) made from cotton (at least I presume it was made from cotton - have only ever seen one for real, many years ago). There was also another type of British sun helmet called the Wolseley helmet (named after Chief of the General Staff of British Army at time of Boer war). Although I have never seen a Wolseley helmet in use in the RNZAF (and doubt they ever were) it is interesting to see this type mentioned (probably in error) in one Air Department Order dated 1944. MOst personnel seemed to dislike the varios types of sun helmets, although fewer thought they were good value. They were issued in large numbers (when available), and were required wear in the tropics, but few personnel seemed to actually wear them as required, preferring morre comfortable soft cotton caps or brimmed hats to the rigid helmets. I have been told that when the personnel were aboard ship on return to NZ at the end of the war they took great pleasure in hurling their tropical helmets (by this time they would have been the American/Canadian type) overboard, or smashing them up. This is probably why these items are EXTREMELY scarce now! And the RNZAF DID frequently wear the "RAF flash" on the side of the helmet in the Pacific, although its wear was erratic to say the least. Incidentally this flash (Dark blue, narrow light blue, maroon) with the dark blue leading (not the maroon/red, as on RAF aircraft fins from 1934) as the introduction of the "flash" predated this order by many years, and would have been based on the earlier fashion in the RAF/RFC, with blue first. The "flash" was only worn on one side of the helmet (cannot remember which, although it is detailed in all the early editions of RAF Dress Regulations). I have also seen the RNZAF Airmen's brass cap badge (and Officer badge) affixed to the front of the helemts.

    David D

  20. Hello,

    Can anyone tel me if this aeroplane is a Lancaster or not?

    I've always wanted a pic of a Lancaster with its crew only this crew will have to do for the time being.


    Tony, I am absolutely certain that this aircraft is NOT, repeat NOT, a Lancaster, Halifax, Wellington, Beaufort, or Liberator (although I briefly thought it may be last named by shape of coskpit, and nose turret placement compared to location of cockpit), but the slab-sided box-section fuselage and strange "windows" a little further back make me think that this is something considerably older from a European manufacturer - perhaps French. The Bloch, Amiot and Potez companies produced some mighty ugly looking bombers prewar, usually high winged and two or four engines mounted alongside fuselage, the 4-engined type having pusher/puller engines mounted back to back so to speak. However my choice would have to be the Potez 540 of 1933 (entered service 1934), very slab-sided, high wing monoplane, nose turret, conventional tail surfaces, two Hispano Suiza V-12 engines driving 3-bladed metal propellers mounted low alongside fuselage. The main undercarriage units retracted into the lower regions of the engine nacelles, which appear to be attached to the fuselage by stub wings, or possibly struts. The wing is strut braced by large parallel lift stuts (as in Catalian flying boats), and there is a mid-upper turret which would make it quite an advanced aircraft for its day. It also has rear fuselage windows apparently identical in design to the aircraft in your photograph. Also important is fact that this type was still in ervice with the Armee de l'Air in 1939/40. What do you think? (Find a photo by googling) Some (49) were also delivered to the Spanish Air Force in 1936, and according to my information ("The Bomber Aircraft Pocketbook" by Roy Cross, published 1964, pages 84/85) over 210 were delivered to the French Air Force, and "the last remnants were still in use in North Africa for transport duties in 1943".

    David D

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