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    Please take a look at the pictures. This is a uniform named to Cpt. Marillier. It is a standard South African forces uniform with an RAF. The uniform has orange "abroad" tabs and captains pips. The ribbons on the front include the MBE, Africa Service Medal, George V jubilee (1935) and George VI coronation (1937). This is a very odd group of ribbons. In the sleeve and on the pants is a penned code: A1138 (I know, looks like a nine, but the pants are clearer). Don't know if it is some kind of service number. There are also museum codes. I am trying to find out any service history to this man. Any help out there from S. Africa?





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    • 1 month later...
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    • 4 years later...

    Contact the Military Archives in Pretoria.(Military Archives, D DOC S, Private Bag 289, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa --- at least this was their address five years ago). Since you have his service number you're in luck (WWII pers records there are filed by serial number). They should be able to pull his record card easily enough which would give a brief record of postings etc.

    My guess would be this is the uniform as worn during WWII and may not represent his full medal entitlement. The coronation & jubilee medals would have been awarded pre-war in either civil or military service. MBE is the military version, so perhaps he got the MBE in WWII for training or some or other important backroom activity (e.g. radar development or intelligence). He may have got his RAF wings before the war - perhaps with the RAuxF or on a short-service commission. Probably working in Africa when the war began and joined the SAAF instead of the RAF as a result of geography.

    It was very common for SAAF and RAF pers to be seconded to each other's units but they usually wore the uniform and rank of their "parent" service e.g. a RAF Wing Commander could command an Air School in South Africa and a Major in the SAAF could command an RAF fighter squadron. So this one is indeed rare as it's RAF wings on SAAF uniform indicating he was RAF qualified and joined the SAAF rather than being on secondment.

    Edited by milhistry
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    • 2 years later...

    Though it has been a while since you posted your thread I just discovered it.  I wouldn't buy into he idea that the RAF wings have some long and winded story.  They are most likely incorrect to the uniform.  Secondly the ribbons are pretty much completely wrong.  He's not on the SA roll for the 1935 Jubilee medal nor the 1937 Coronation medal.  If he received the Africa Service Medal he would have had to have been awarded the War Medal.  He's also not on any South African roll for WWII for an MBE, OBE or CBE and there isn't anyone with this name for WWII in the Air Force for any decoration (book Honour the Air Force).  Search his name in the London Gazette and you'll probably not find anything.


    You could request His service card, but without a service number it could be a long shot and a lot of effort for nothing.  The number in the uniform, 1033, would have been used for a man serviing with the 1st Natal Mounted Rifles, not the SAAF.  Perhaps it is the same.  I guess it's worth a check.  That being said, I have a set of medals to a enlisted man who was in North Africa with the Tank Corps who later served as a Pilot in Italy.  So it's technically possible, it's just the ribbons and wings are not authentic to the uniform.


    Uniforms are very tricky and unless they are coming from a VERY reliable source I'd be very suspect.


    Sorry to be the bearer of such news.




    PS: Nothing on Ancestry, The National Archives (UK) or nothing that seems to be relevant in the London Gazette from 1920-1980

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    OnceRetired   -   welcome to GMIC.   Although this is an old post , I feel that your summary has many good points

    and you have covered the likely history of the awards.   I tend to agree with your conclusions that this is not an

    original group  -  the medals just seem to be so haphazard that it is hard to find a reason for their grouping.  You

    quite rightly point out that the Africa Service medal is not awarded on it's own  -  even when the man served only in

    South Africa the  award was War Medal & Africa Service.

    The Uniform is obviously an original - however, I suspect that it has been put together for display and an RAF wings

    added in place of a proper SAAF wings.   The pity of this is that the uniform is on display in an American Musuem

    and could cause confusion to any serious collector.    Best wishes    Mervyn

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    • 2 years later...

    A number of SAAF pilots wore RAF Wings as those are what they were awarded in Southern Rhodesia if they did their flying training there and not SAAF wings.
    Southern Rhodesia was part of the Empire Scheme where as SA was not, SA had her own scheme with the RAF JATS which differed in a number of ways.

    One very well known SAAF Fighter pilot had RAF wings on arriving in North Africa, he did his training in Southern Rhodesia.

     He was told by his Sqn Commander to bin them and wear SAAF wings in North Africa.

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    I only just saw this thread, after the most recent post. From the initial post to the most recent is just shy of 10 years. So while I understand it is unlikely to be of use, some of the following may still be of interest:

    A quick look at the reference "Springbok Fighter Victory - SAAF Fighter Operations 1939 - 1945" volume 1 by Michael Schoeman, there is one fighter pilot listed with this surname. He is 205546V 2/Lt Roland Marillier. He was originally from Pretoria and served in 223 (RAF) Squadron and 4 (SAAF) Squadron. He was listed as KIA in about Jun 1942. Commented on the Alamein Memorial.


    Obviously there may have been a bomber pilot with that surname, so except for that, I am basing some observations on evidently the only fighter pilot for some consideration:

    1. He was not a captain at the time of his death, as per the uniform. This most likely means the uniform was certainly enhanced with at least additional pips

    2. In support of some of the previous comments, he did not have an MBE. I would estimate that he likely qualified for the 39-45star, Africa star, war medal, Africa service medal and a WW II memorial plaque. If these were ever in fact issued to next of kin is a different question that can be answered by looking at his service records. (The archive referred to above still exists as I understand, but it has moved recently). This indicates that likely the ribbon bar was an addition.

    3. The RAF squadron service may explain the RAF wings, perhaps a stretch.

    Hope it was of interest




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    • 7 months later...

    I realize this is an old thread but thanks to everyone who commented. Some things that I feel are more correct about the uniform:

    - the name and ink seem original. The 1943 date, captain rank in ink and captain rank on shoulder seem to line up. Therefore no relationship to Roland Marillier the fighter pilot. 

    - the uniform was tailored in SA.

    - the ribbon bar is a fanciful addition

    - The RAF/SAAF wing will not resolve until I actually can identify the man and a) if he even qualified for them or served in any air force; and b) if he did, what service did he qualify in and what unit(s) did he serve in.

    For now, I will keep trying to narrow down any South African Marillier that was a captain in 1943 and see where the chips fall. 



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