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Great War French Airman?


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Here is an old photographic postcard I recently obtained which was produced in the 'Photo Rapide H Bessard studio' in Versailles.

From the winged propeller insignia on his headwear I am assuming that this individual is a member of the French Air Service of the Great War. Under a glass his buttons show the French grenade and I am again assuming that this is an army tunic. His belt also appears to be of the standard British 'Sam Browne' type worn without the cross straps.

Any thoughts Gentlemen?

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This picture might well have been taken in the first years after WW1, possibly in the "20s or very early '30s.

The tight beret was worn by tank crews, and air-force enlisted men until 1935. After WW1 the French Air-Force had regiments, which would explain the numeral on the collar of the tunic, which looks more like an officer's.

The fact that he does not show his sleeves and wears the loops for an unworn decoration suggests he might be wearing some one else's tunic, as Rick's sharp eye has spotted. If he had been intitled to any type of rank insignia, he would have been sure to show it off.

Photographers close to military bases had this type of garment available. Satory (see the photographer's adress) was a very important military establishment in the Paris area, and still is for some purposes. It also was a tradition to have a nice picture made to send family and friends during National Service.

I hope I have it all wrong. That kid looked like a good to honest youngster.



Edited by Veteran
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