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    Request for identification assistance - FFL


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    Hi can any one assist in identifying this badge, manufactured in Cairo during WWII, of the Free French Forces.  My best guess is that LAM equates to the French equivalent of "Military Airline", but I find no reference to "LAM" on French lists of military abbreviations. Thanks in advance.


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    Thanks Hendrik, that was my thinking as well,but I couldn't seem to get that term to shake any information loose on the Internet.  I tried again after receiving your post with much better results, so thank you again.

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    gfh : After the occupation by the Free French Forces of Syria , General De Gaulle envisaged the neccesity of a Military Airline with the task of establish the contact among all the territories controlled by the Free France. He asignated the task to Lionel de Marmier a officer of the Free French Air Forces . the Lignes Aeriennes Militaires were created in Damascus with flying material surrendered by the Vichy Forces .In September of 1941 they realized the first liaison from Damascus to The Cairo ,after this they fly between Damascus and Brazzaville.the Airline was very useful and accordingly was expanded .

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    • 2 years later...

    I was interested to see this Cairo-made Free French Forces badge. I mostly dabble in research on a small number of Egyptian medals (I'm not a collector), but Fahmy Tewfik Bichay, one of a Egyptian family of medal makers, recently turned up in my auction site searches of photographs with a few Cairo-made Free French Forces enamel pins. Only one has a "T. BICHAY" maker's mark on the reverse, apparently it was quite common for his work on these pins to be unmarked. The original auction listing show images of the reverse of all 6 of these badges, but only the first example is marked. The seller of these pins also notes in the auction description that: "This and other Free French badges I have listed originally had locking pin reverses. Mr. Fahmy Bichay removed these and replaced them with clutch style pins in the early 1980s; traces of the original pin mountings are visible in some cases. At the same time these were altered, he also replaced the pins on a series of South African "Sweetheart" style squadron badges that the company had also made during the war." The first 5 of these image come from an 18 February, 2018 eBay auction, archived on the WorthPoint.com website. The 3rd-to-last image is also an eBay auction listing archived on WorthPoint.com, but I cannot identify the auction date for it. The seller states that all of these are original, not replica Cairo-made pieces. The final 2 photos in this post, from the same seller, show a pin identified as a copy that was made by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay in 1977. 


    Obverse of a Free French Forces enamel pin featuring the design of the Croix de Lorraine, that the seller states was adopted as the symbol of the Free French Forces in 1940 and was featured as part of many Free French Badges. The auction description does not identify the measurements of this pin, but one of the photographs is provided with coins (a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin) for scale (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cairo-made-croix-de-lorraine-badge-1915138740)


    Reverse of the same Free French Forces enamel pin with the design of the Croix de Lorraine on the obverse. This is the only example of the 6 pins this seller had on offer in this auction with Fahmy Tewfik Bichay's maker's mark on the reverse. 


    Obverse of a Cairo made Free French Forces enamel pin identified by seller as made for the Commandant Dominé by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay (Cairo). The seller provided Wikipedia information that: the Commandant Dominé was an Elan class vessel made as a minesweeper, although none of these vessels were apparently used in that capacity; and that the Commandant Dominé served with the Free French Forces after following use in the Dunkirk evacuation and having been interned in England. An image of the reverse is included in the archived auction listing, showing no maker's mark but evidence of the refitting of the clutch pin replacing the locking pin, situated in the middle of the reverse. No measurements on this pin are provided, but again, but one of the photographs is provided with coins (a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin) for scale. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/original-cairo-made-fnfl-badge-1915140208)


    Obverse of an enamel pin identified by the eBay seller as a 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion, and identified as a Cairo-made example by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay, The seller states that the "13th Demi-Brigade of Foreign Legion was created in 1940, and, with the Senegalese Tirailleur Regiment of Tchad, one of the two regiments which rallied as a constituted unit of the Free French Forces (FFL)." Two additional photos accompany this auction list, one illustrates the unmarked reverse showing the location of 2 pins at both lateral ends of the pin and the other showing the obverse in comparison with a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin for scale. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cairo-made-badge-free-french-13e-1915136126)


    Obverse of an enameled pin identified by the seller as an insignia for the Régiment de Tirailleurs du Cameroun, made in Cairo by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay. The seller includes the Wikipedia information that: "This Free French regiment existed from 1940 to 1944 and participated in the following actions according to the French Wikipedia: The Battle of Bir Hakim; The Campaign in Gabon and the Campaign in Syria." The two addition photos that accompany this auction listing show the unmarked reverse showing the location of the pin (slightly more superior than the middle of the pin, and showing the scar from replacing the locking pin with a clutch pin) and the obverse in comparison with a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin for scale. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/original-cairo-made-ffl-regiment-de-1915137548)


    Obverse of a pin identified by the seller as for ambulance chirurgicale légère, of the Free French Forces, made in Cairo by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay. A photo of the unmarked reverse in the auction listing shows the showing the location of the 2 pins (at the superior and inferior ends of the piece,  and showing the scar from replacing the locking pins with a clutch pins) and the obverse in comparison with a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin for scale. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cairo-made-badge-ambulance-1915137854)


    Obverse of an enamel pin identified by the eBay seller as an insignia for the 4e Régiment de Tirailleurs Sénégalais made in Cairo by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay. The two other photos include in the auction listing show the unmarked reverse showing the location of the pin (in the middle of the pin, and showing the scar from replacing the locking pin with a clutch pin) and the obverse in comparison with a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin for scale. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cairo-made-badge-4e-regiment-de-1915138513)

    Examples of some of the South African Air Force stick pin insignia for various squadrons that were made by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay in Cairo, of the kind mentioned by the seller of the above FFL pins, are shown in low-resolution illustrations, but with good identifications, on the MP Antique et Militaria website (http://www.militaria.qc.ca/air-force/south-africa.html).



    The same seller of the above eBay Fahmy Tewfik Bichay FFL pins also listed this example on an undated past eBay auction that is archived on the WorthPoint.com website. This is stated in the auction listing to be copy of a pin insignia of a: "Free French 1ére Compagnie de Chausseurs Parachutists badge that was made during the Second World War in Cairo, Egypt by Maison Tewfik Bichay. This particular badge was made by Fahmy T. Bichay using the company's original dies in 1977 at the request of a collector." The description identifies the mark on the reverse "R 77" as having been placed there by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay to mark this piece (and others?) as modern replica(s) of a genuine WWII pins. The seller did not know how many such copies may have been made by Bichay. (From: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cairo-made-copy-1ere-compagnie-de-1915140395).


    Reverse of the same replica of a FFL Parachutist pin showing the "R 77" mark identified as a mark used by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay to indicate this was a replica of a pin manufactured from the original dies in 1977. The dimensions of this pin are not given, but again the seller has included a photo of the obverse with a US 25¢ piece and a 1€ coin for scale. 

    Edited by Rusty Greaves
    added another image
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    Hello Rusty,

    Only the para badge (the last two photos) was a post war reproduction made in 1977.  The rest along withe the South African squadron pins were period production.  I was the seller on eBay of all the items shown.  I've attached the original artwork for one of the badges that I obtained from Fahmy Bichay's brother.

    Bichay FFL17.jpg

    Here's a photo showing the coins for scale.


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    Many thanks of the additional information and illustrations. Have you encountered images of any of the other executed badges made from the designs shown in the lower panel? I also want to thank you for the very informative eBay listings for your FFL pins and the very thorough photographic documentation you provided. As a non-collector, I rely on a lot of auction sites for some comparative images in my amateur research, and of course, the quality of photos and information runs the full range from excellent to drek. I was very impressed with the effort and knowledge you put into those eBay listings. 


    Military issue (1941) identity card for Fahmy Tewfik Bichay (spelled "Fahmi Tawfik Bishay") from a section of the MP Antique et Militaria website that illustrates and identifies a number of South African Air Force squadron pins that the site moderator obtained personally from Fahmy Tewfik Bichay in the 1950s after he had emigrated to Canada (http://www.militaria.qc.ca/air-force/south-africa.html). I previously posted this ID as the last photo in my post of 21 October, 2019 where I was illustrating some variation in J. Lattes cases (mostly for the more common Order of the Nile in that post) & labels as well as the  fewer examples of labels I've encountered for Tewfik Bichay and Fahmy Tewfik Bichay, on the thread "Question about the Order of Ismail/Nishan al-Ismail", started on 8 November, 2017, in the "Middle East & Arab States" subsection, under the "Rest of the World: Medals & Military" section here on GMIC. Are the illustrations in your last post from Sadek Tewfik Bichay? He designed a medal commemorating the closing of the Egyptian International Tribunals (the Mixed Courts) on 14 October, 1949. One of the requirements for service as a judge on those Courts was fluency in French. 

    Edited by Rusty Greaves
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    I'm embarrassed to say that I no longer remember Fahmy's brother's first name.  I think I visited his business (the brother's) on only one occasion.  At that time I obtained a number of copies for the artwork of Free French insignia that Maison Bichay made during the war.  The only examples of manufactured badges were the ones I obtained from Fahmy and sold on eBay.  The brother had a business that made, among other things,  enameled signs of the type you see in  Paris as street signs, house numbers, etc..  Fahmy I know spoke French though we used English when we spoke together.  I don't remember whether I used English, or French when I spoke with the brother. I also had and sold a collection of the South African Squadron pins - unfortunately I did not retain photos of that material.  

    Thanks for the compliment on the listings, I try to get it right to avoid disappointments on the part of the bidders/buyers.

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    • 4 months later...

    Below is an image of from a 22 April, 2016 auction by Ader-Nordmann, archived on the AUCTIONFR website (https://www.auction.fr/_en/lot/1ere-compagnie-de-chasseurs-parachutistes-france-libre-fabrication-du-caire-tewfik-9740941), Lot 81, that is identified as an original of the 1ère Compagnie de Chasseurs Parachutistes France Libre made by Tewfik Bichay in Cairo.


    Obverse of a Fahmy Tewfik Bichay-made FFL Parachutist badge for the 1ère Compagnie de Chasseurs Parachutistes France Libre. The auction description states it has a "safety pin" or locking pin attachment (modèle attache épingle à nourrice), but no identiication of the materials it is made from nor dimensions are given. No image of the reverse is shown in the Ader-Nordmann listing. The metal and colors of this original contrast with the 1977 replica of this badge that was reproduced by Fahmy Tewfik Bichay, shown above in the last 2 photos of my post of 2 April, 2020 and in gfh's post of that same day. 

    Edited by Rusty Greaves
    correcting spell-check
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