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An interesting engraved Army Aviation Wing on eBay


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#26 CliffP

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 02:37 PM

And I'd like to add that customized WWI aviation insignia was worn by men of all ranks while in the field. Maybe not breast wings, but certainly collar insignia.

I still think the original set of wings that started off the topic is a legit customized piece. Whether or not he wore them seem a moot point.

- Chuck

 

-_-

 

Patrick was correct to point out that Gorrell wrote the article some 18 years after the fact and his recollection may not have been exactly correct.  And frankly, although I saw no need to mention it in the original article, I too think Gorrell may not been completely accurate at the time the article was written.

 

Why?  Keep in mind that the Army did not have any official wings in June 1917 when the Bolling Mission went overseas because the War Department had not approve any type of pilot wing insignia until 15 August 1917.  Therefore, I have to question if the three Army officers were actually wearing any wings at the time they went overseas; however, I have no reason to doubt that later they did make some ingenious pilot style wings via a field modification to some eagle insignia removed from some officer caps which were later attached to their uniforms before going to Italy.  Colonel Gorrell would not have forgotten that.   

 

Yes, the modified insignia was unapproved and was not all that attractive . . . but sometimes when necessary while in the field. . . or under fire, rank does carry with it certain temporary privileges if the priviledge serves a useful purpose. 

 

Cliff


Edited by CliffP, 10 March 2015 - 02:50 PM.


#27 cthomas

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 02:44 PM

Cliff -
I could not have said it better...

Patrick (aka Paul) - my apologies for the mixup

#28 pfrost

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 02:50 PM

You can call me Patrick, Paul, or Mr. Potato Head!  No problem!



#29 rustywings

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:17 PM

Just wanted to let you all know what a pleasure it is being associated with the 'Wing' section of the Forum! 

 

The generous sharing of facts and history about our chosen collectibles from members who truly know the hobby...

 

The free exchange of ideas and willingness to be patient with those who are less experienced...

 

And the occasional chuckle that only a potato-head can bring to the discussion, makes this Forum well worth our time!  

 

Thank you Gents...

 

 



#30 Patchcollector

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 06:27 PM

I too would like to add my thanks to all here for maintaining a well run Wing section where collectors of every level feel comfortable,and are patiently allowed to join in and participate in these interesting conversations.And following some of the gentlemanly sparring between the "heavies" such as Cliff and Patrick is like watching an Ali and Frazier fight for us Wing nuts. :)

After reading this thread,I will put forth some thoughts.If inaccurate,please correct.

 

There are at least three types of these Wings:

1.The three original "Bolling Mission" pieces.
2."Sweetheart",or "presentation" Wings made throughout the years.
3.Wings made to deceive,e.g,Russ's warning about the fakes,and Patricks telling of the guy who wanted him to buy the "more commonly worn than thought" WW1 Bolling type Wings.

 

Now for a question;What became of the original "Bolling Mission" pieces?One would think that such historical curiosities would have found their way into a Museum,or major collection.



#31 CliffP

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 12:33 PM

What became of the original three "Bolling Mission" pieces?  One would think that such historical curiosities would have found their way into a museum, or major collection.

 

I might be able to share a little light on what happened to those three "Bolling Mission" pilot wings.

 

(1) Colonel Edgar S. Gorrell resigned from the service in 1921 when he was just 29 years old.  Several years ago I exchanged some correspondence with his only son and spoke to him but he had no knowledge of what may have happened to any of his father's early insignia. 

 

(2) Colonel Virginius E. Clark resigned from the service in 1920 when he was 34 years old.  Like a few other people who come to mind I did some extensive research into his background but was unable to trace down any of his immediate next-of-kind and to the best of my knowledge none of his military insignia has every been accounted for. 

 

(3) Colonel Raynal C. Bolling died on March 26, 1918 the first high-ranking officer of the United States Army to be killed in World War I.   Some of his insignia does exist but in regard to the "Bolling Mission" wings I only have a theory about what may have happened to them.

 

After Colonel Bolling summited his Bolling Mission Report to the government on August 13, 1917 he stayed in France. . . and just a few days later on August 15, 1917 the War Department approved the first official Army pilot wings. 

 

While it is pure speculation on my part, I know that when Bolling visited the U. S. Army 3rd Air Instruction Center at Issoudun, France on September 17 and 18, 1917 he met with and possibly gave the wings to a close family friend and military pilot who was a supply officer there, Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the youngest son of Teddy President.  Quentin did not have any official pilot wings at that time so he wore the unofficial wings for a brief time.  Note below that a photograph taken on September 18, 1917 does exist which shows Quentin wearing the wings Bolling may have given him. 

 

So, what became of Quentins wings?  Who can say? It's possible he may have kept them but after being reassigned to the 95th Aero Squadron as a pursuit pilot, he was killed in action on July 14, 1918. 

 

Cliff

 

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  • 001.png
  • 002.jpg


#32 Patchcollector

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 01:32 PM

Wow,this story has more twists and turns than a good spy novel.Seeing that photo of Roosevelt wearing what may be Bollings Wing is nothing short of amazing.And speaking of amazing,I'm always blown away by how you are able to dig up the info and photos that you do.Once again,thanks Cliff for adding these interesting pieces to this puzzle!



#33 rustywings

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 04:28 PM

Here's an original photograph of Quentin Roosevelt, date unknown, wearing a pair of bullion Pilot wings with a somewhat down-swept British look.

 

 

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#34 CliffP

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 05:11 PM

Here's an original photograph of Quentin Roosevelt, date unknown, wearing a pair of bullion Pilot wings with a somewhat down-swept British look.

 

Russ, 

 

Oops, but that is not Quentin Roosevelt.

 

Cliff



#35 rustywings

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 08:02 PM

 

Russ, 

 

Oops, but that is not Quentin Roosevelt.

 

Cliff

 

Copy that...thank you Cliff. 
 



#36 CliffP

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 06:34 PM

For anyone who might be interested in seeing what Quentin Roosevelt actually looked like, here is a better photo of him.  It was taken at the 3rd Air Instruction Center at Issoudon, France when he was serving as supply officer.  Note the sign above the door behind him which reads, "ENTRANCE TO HEADQUARTERS."

 

Oh and Patchcollector, talking about a story having more twists and turns than a good spy novel. . . a whole chapter could be written about how Quentin died. 

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  • Quentin_2B.jpg

Edited by CliffP, 20 March 2015 - 06:41 PM.


#37 cthomas

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 08:26 PM

Cliff - 

Not to split hairs, but this image of Sergeant Roosevelt was taken sometime the first week of July 1917, shortly before he received his RMA on 6 July 1917. 

For anyone wanting to read a nice period article on QR's promotion, which coincidentally uses the same image posted above, here's the link:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=Zsc_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA24#v=onepage&q&f=false 

 

Regards,

Chuck



#38 cthomas

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 08:38 PM

Here's an original photograph of Quentin Roosevelt, date unknown, wearing a pair of bullion Pilot wings with a somewhat down-swept British look.

 

 

 

I believe this image was taken at Kelly Field in San Antonio, TX. Those permanent buildings seen in the background remind me of the ones seen in period photos of this aviation training field.

For what it's worth, the unknown pilot is standing in front of a DH.4.

Regards,

Chuck 



#39 CliffP

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 12:34 AM

 

I believe this image was taken at Kelly Field in San Antonio, TX. Those permanent buildings seen in the background remind me of the ones seen in period photos of this aviation training field.

Regards,

Chuck 

 

Chuck,

 

I don't mean to split hairs with you either but in one form or another we were both in error.   Quentin Roosevelt never served in Texas and that picture of him still wearing his Sergeant stripes was taken at Hazelhurst Field, Mineloa, LI, NY were he learned to fly with the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron before being sent to France.

 

Cliff

 

 



#40 cthomas

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 07:12 AM

Ooops...My apologies for not stating it clearly, but I was referring to the image of the pilot standing in front of the DH.4 as seen in post #33 by 'Rustywings'.

 

Russ's image shows a DH.4 parked in front of the permanent buildings at Kelly Field(?). I'm going to go out on the limb a little further and date the image to the immediate postwar era/interwar period.

 

And I do need to read that article on QR that came out in a recent volume of Over the Front...

 

Regards,

Chuck



#41 Patchcollector

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 08:59 AM


Oh and Patchcollector, talking about a story having more twists and turns than a good spy novel. . . a whole chapter could be written about how Quentin died. 

 

Your statement piqued my curiosity so I went online to read about his passing.He was quite a character,accomplishing much in his short life,and I'm certain had he lived he would have gone on to do even greater things.

 

Here is one persons' remembrance of him:

 

Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Commander of the 94th Aero Squadron (also known as the "Hat-in-the-Ring" Squadron), in his memoirs described Roosevelt's character as soldier and pilot in the following words:

 

"As President Roosevelt's son he had rather a difficult task to fit himself in with the democratic style of living which is necessary in the intimate life of an aviation camp. Every one who met him for the first time expected him to have the airs and superciliousness of a spoiled boy. This notion was quickly lost after the first glimpse one had of Quentin. Gay, hearty and absolutely square in everything he said or did, Quentin Roosevelt was one of the most popular fellows in the group. We loved him purely for his own natural self.

"He was reckless to such a degree that his commanding officers had to caution him repeatedly about the senselessness of his lack of caution. His bravery was so notorious that we all knew he would either achieve some great spectacular success or be killed in the attempt. Even the pilots in his own flight would beg him to conserve himself and wait for a fair opportunity for a victory. But Quentin would merely laugh away all serious advice."

 

His German opponents also held him in high regard:

 

A clipping from the Kölnische Zeitung obtained through the Spanish Embassy gave this account of the fight:

 

“The aviator of the American Squadron, Quentin Roosevelt, in trying to break through the airzone over the Marne, met the death of a hero. A formation of seven German airplanes, while crossing the Marne, saw in the neighborhood of Dormans a group of twelve American fighting airplanes and attacked them. A lively air battle began, in which one American (Quentin) in particular persisted in attacking. The principal feature of the battle consisted in an air duel between the American and a German fighting pilot named Sergeant Greper. After a short struggle, Greper succeeded in bringing the brave American just before his gun-sights. After a few shots the plane apparently got out of his control; the American began to fall and struck the ground near the village of Chamery, about ten kilometers north of the Marne. The American flier was killed by two shots through the head. Papers in his pocket showed him to be Quentin Roosevelt, of the United States army. His effects are being taken care of in order to be sent to his relatives. He was buried by German aviators with military honors."

 

While doing my research I came upon this fine website:

 

http://www.earlyaero...chive1.htm#list



#42 navalgunner

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 03:58 PM

I have a collection of Bolling items (including his tunic) that I got from his granddaughters estate sale.  I will try to post some pics this week.  The officers club at Bolling AFB has most of his memorabilia.



#43 njaviators

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 07:43 AM

Fun thread.  The Roosevelt shootdown has been covered quite a lot and I think the account by Alan Toelle in Over the Front is definitive. 

 

Here's a previously (first appearing in the OtF article) photo we found on QR's crashed Nieuport.   A widely distributed photo - which included commemorative postcards produced by the Germans - shows poor Q's uncovered head, grotesquely broken leg and is devoid of the soldiers in the background.  It's also considerably less clear.

 

In 2009, I was in Saints, France - which is where the 1st PG including the 95th were based in July 1918 - and the town sponsored a ceremony at the local cemetery to unveil a plaque in QR's honor. It was doubly impressive to me - apart from commorating QR 90+ years after his death - that they took the time organize the event on the day QR was shot down - 14 July - Thier own national holiday.  

 

There have been a few times when hearing our national anthem that I have been moved to the "manly single tear"... hearing it played in that commmunity cemetery in Saints was one of those time.

 

Far afield from the original wing discussion, but I thought worth including in the QR discussion.

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#44 njaviators

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 07:46 AM

Here's a shot of the ceremony at Saints.  The Mayor of Saints, of nearby Mauperthuis (where the 95ths officers were billeted in 1918), the local Air base commandant and a host of local townsfolk attended. 

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  • QR Ceremony Saints.png

Edited by njaviators, 22 June 2015 - 07:47 AM.



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