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British Pilots wearing American wings...


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#1 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:44 PM

I thought some of you might be interested in this unique press-photo dated February 7, 1942, which depicts four British Flying Cadets receiving American Pilot wings at their graduation from the Southeast Air Corps Training Center's Advanced Flying School at Maxwell Field, Alabama.

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#2 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:45 PM

A little closer image...

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#3 bschwartz

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:46 PM

Well there's a switch.  I'm used to seeing American pilots wearing British wings or even the small wings on the right hand side of the uniform but i don't think I've seen British pilots wearing American wings before.  Thanks for posting.



#4 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:46 PM

Closer...

 

 

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#5 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:48 PM

Possibly an AECO made Pilot wing? Any ideas?

 

 

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#6 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:49 PM

Another close up...

 

 

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#7 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

Each newly winged Pilot is holding a "United States Army - Southeast Air Corps Training Center" diploma:

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#8 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:54 PM

On the back of the photograph is the following press release:

 

 

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#9 rustywings

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

More of the reverse...including a date stamp:

 

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#10 bobgee

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:31 PM

Here's a pic of FSgt Norman Bowker  RAF who completed pilot training in the USA. He was later KIA flying a Lancaster.
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#11 pfrost

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:44 PM

As I understand it, prior  to 12/7/41 the US was training Commonwealth pilots as part of the lend-lease program.  For neutrality reasons, the training of the British and commonwealth pilots was done by private flight training schools (BFTS).  After the US joined the war, they USAAF could openly train our allies' pilots and that not a few of the American Schools had cohorts of British, French, Chinese and Dutch (to name a few) cadets.

 

I think that the only reason why you don't see RAF (or RCAF) pilots wearing US pilot wings is that they weren't authorized to do so by the RAF.  Although I have seen photos (for example) or polish pilots flying with the RAF who were wearing small polish flight badges on their uniforms.  But, considering how stuffy the British seem to be with their uniform regulations, I suspect it would have been VERY rare for an RAF pilot to get away with wearing an American flight badge.

For a moment there, I thought that A.J. Milne may have been the Christopher Robin Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame) but I was wrong. 



#12 mattsmilitary

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:56 PM

These are some great photos.  Thanks for sharing



#13 Patchcollector

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 04:01 PM

As I understand it, prior  to 12/7/41 the US was training Commonwealth pilots as part of the lend-lease program.  For neutrality reasons, the training of the British and commonwealth pilots was done by private flight training schools (BFTS).  After the US joined the war, they USAAF could openly train our allies' pilots and that not a few of the American Schools had cohorts of British, French, Chinese and Dutch (to name a few) cadets.

 

I think that the only reason why you don't see RAF (or RCAF) pilots wearing US pilot wings is that they weren't authorized to do so by the RAF.  Although I have seen photos (for example) or polish pilots flying with the RAF who were wearing small polish flight badges on their uniforms.  But, considering how stuffy the British seem to be with their uniform regulations, I suspect it would have been VERY rare for an RAF pilot to get away with wearing an American flight badge.

For a moment there, I thought that A.J. Milne may have been the Christopher Robin Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame) but I was wrong. 

 

 

Neat photos.Since it's dated around the beginning of 1942 the guys in the first photo must have been at the "tail end" of of the first training phase.

Perhaps the Brits tolerated the occasional Polish wing out of sympathy(and solidarity) for what the Poles had recently endured at the hands of the Germans.

As for A.J Milne,that does'nt seem to be a very common name,who knows,maybe a relative?



#14 pfrost

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 04:22 PM

A. A. Milne was the author of the Winnie the Pooh books.  He would have been too old to be a flight cadet.  Christopher Robin was his son.  He was in the Royal Engineers, I believe.

 

A. J. Milne is someone else, I suspect. 



#15 CliffP

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:17 PM

:)

 

Thank you Russ for posting this thread.

 

I think a good number of us have learned something new today.

 

Cliff 



#16 gunbunnyB/3/75FA

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:25 PM

i know that a lot of british pilots were given primary filght training near where i live, (miami ok) and that i believe 12 of the trainees were killed and are still buried there.



#17 doinworkinvans

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:32 PM

Man these are too cool!!! Ne'er seen this! Wow you learn something everyday! Thanks so much for putting these out there.

Daniel

#18 pfrost

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 05:49 PM

Here is something that went the other way. This is a "mother's cross" that was given out to Canadian military members who died in service. Flight Officer Swanson was actually a Californian (from Long Beach) who went north and joined the RCAF. This is sort of an in between thing, as he was an American in the process of flying with the RCAF. I assume, had he survived flight training, he may have ended up joining the the USAAF in early 1942.

Killed Sept.10,1940, age 25, Central Flying School, Trenton, Ontario. Fleet Fich Aircraft #1015 did not recover from an inverted spin and crashed 5 miles south of Belleville, Ontario,Canada.  I believe that he is buried in Long Beach and it is one of my pending projects to go down and get a photo of his grave.

 

The second picture is of an American civilian flight instructor who worked for BFTS #1 (British Fight Training School #1) of Tyrell Texas.  They were an American School training British Cadets.  Once the Americans joined the war, they closed down (at least for training British cadets).  I have a year book showing all the British (and maybe some Canadians) getting trained.

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Edited by pfrost, 11 July 2014 - 05:52 PM.


#19 bschwartz

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 08:30 PM

You know as fun as it is to collect wings and all the different variations it's nice to be reminded why I got into the hobby in the first place, for the history of it.  To honor the men and women who earned and wore these these little pieces of metal and what it represented to them.  They were all as proud to wear a simple graduation pattern wing as they would have been to wear a Luxenberg.  It wasn't who made the wing but what it meant to wear it.  In fact many of the veterans that I've spoken with about my hobby and that I've shared my collection with are fascinated that anyone collects wings in the first place.  They're honored to be remembered but I think most of them walk away muttering to themselves about the damn fool who spends good money on little pieces of metal.  Always makes me smile when they give me that look out of the corner of their eye when I tell them what some of the wings are worth.  Thanks for reminding me of why I really love this hobby.  Without the history these little 3" pieces of metal wouldn't mean nearly as much.  



#20 gunbunnyB/3/75FA

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:46 PM

You know as fun as it is to collect wings and all the different variations it's nice to be reminded why I got into the hobby in the first place, for the history of it.  To honor the men and women who earned and wore these these little pieces of metal and what it represented to them.  They were all as proud to wear a simple graduation pattern wing as they would have been to wear a Luxenberg.  It wasn't who made the wing but what it meant to wear it.  In fact many of the veterans that I've spoken with about my hobby and that I've shared my collection with are fascinated that anyone collects wings in the first place.  They're honored to be remembered but I think most of them walk away muttering to themselves about the damn fool who spends good money on little pieces of metal.  Always makes me smile when they give me that look out of the corner of their eye when I tell them what some of the wings are worth.  Thanks for reminding me of why I really love this hobby.  Without the history these little 3" pieces of metal wouldn't mean nearly as much.  

 

amen,brother.



#21 Sabrejet

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 12:12 AM

Cuts both ways. I have a dated official "team" photo of USAAF and RAF pilots together at a British OTU (Operational Training Unit) which was taken here in the UK before the United States entered the war. Obviously, the RAF had been at war for a couple of years up to that point and had amassed a wealth of combat experience which they were no doubt engaged in passing on to their ostensibly "neutral" American allies! I'll dig it out and will add it to this thread, but it might not be until tomorrow as I'll be away from home for much of the day today.



#22 Wharfmaster

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:43 AM

Here is something that went the other way. This is a "mother's cross" that was given out to Canadian military members who died in service. Flight Officer Swanson was actually a Californian (from Long Beach) who went north and joined the RCAF. This is sort of an in between thing, as he was an American in the process of flying with the RCAF. I assume, had he survived flight training, he may have ended up joining the the USAAF in early 1942.

Killed Sept.10,1940, age 25, Central Flying School, Trenton, Ontario. Fleet Fich Aircraft #1015 did not recover from an inverted spin and crashed 5 miles south of Belleville, Ontario,Canada.  I believe that he is buried in Long Beach and it is one of my pending projects to go down and get a photo of his grave.

 

The second picture is of an American civilian flight instructor who worked for BFTS #1 (British Fight Training School #1) of Tyrell Texas.  They were an American School training British Cadets.  Once the Americans joined the war, they closed down (at least for training British cadets).  I have a year book showing all the British (and maybe some Canadians) getting trained.

 

There is a photo of Swanson's grave on "Find A Grave"

 

 

W



#23 rustywings

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:52 AM

Thank you all for your contributions and input.  Please feel free to add any additional photos or information you have regarding the mutual efforts Great Britain and the United States made in training Pilots during WWII.

 

Here's a framed photo taken at "War Eagle Field", Polaris Flight Academy, near Lancaster, California (about 50 miles north of Los Angeles) and dated February 16, 1942.  British Flying Cadets are standing...with British Officer's and American Flight Instructors kneeling.

 

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#24 rustywings

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:57 AM

Another group photo from the Southern California high-desert with British Flying Cadets wearing overalls and American Flight Instructors with a British Officer kneeling.

 

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#25 rustywings

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 09:05 AM

Another "Polaris Flight Academy" group photo of British Officers, American Officers and Civilian Flight Instructors at War Eagle Field, dated March 2, 1942. 

 

 

 

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