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WWI Nurse with wings...


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#1 rustywings

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:29 AM

A few weeks ago, while visiting the Indiana War Memorial Museum in Indianapolis, I saw a WWI Red Cross display with a nice assortment of Nurse uniforms:

 

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#2 rustywings

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:34 AM

What caught my attention was this WWI era Red Cross Nurse uniform with a pair of full size bullion US Air Service Pilot wings sewn to the left cuff area:

  

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#3 rustywings

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:36 AM

I assume the wings were representative of the Nurse's husband or boyfriend? Or did this represent a type of early Flight Nurse status?

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Edited by rustywings, 07 October 2015 - 10:53 AM.


#4 CliffP

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:07 AM

I assume the wings were representative of the Nurse's husband or boyfriend? Or did this represent a type of early Flight Nurse status?

 

:)

 

Russ,  I don't believe we had aircraft back in WWI that were large enough to serve as 

transports and/or could carry both wounded and flight nurses.  :-)

 

Since the uniform has some overseas stripes sewn to the cuff one could assume that

whoever wore it at the time may have had a love interest also serving in the AEF with

the US Air Service. 

 

cp 
 


Edited by CliffP, 07 October 2015 - 11:20 AM.


#5 cutiger83

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:14 AM

Cliff,

 

Actually, the first airplane air evacuation in history was from Albania and was carried out in November 1915 by the French Expeditionary Forces and Serbian pilots using French fighter aircraft.

 

I can't believe that someone would be allowed to add wings to their official uniform just because they belonged to her husband. I will do some looking thru my books.

 

..Kat



#6 pfrost

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:21 AM

If she was a Red Cross nurse (wouldn't she be a civilian), and thus restrictions to her "uniform" wouldn't have fallen under military rules, correct?  It also looks like she has a tank core patch on her shoulder.   She may have decorated her jacket with patches and stuff as she saw fit.

 

P



#7 Too Much WW1 Militaria

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:26 AM

Is the SSI Tank Corps? Sure as heck looks like it! Also, whatever the stripes indicate, they aren't standard WW1 overseas chevrons, which are V shaped, gold for overseas service, silver for stateside. Here is my WAG. Sometime after the war and after getting out, our gal added the wings, etc. to her tunic. As for the other bars, they're running the wrong way for French rank, and don't know why CPT's railroad tracks would be there, but another WAG is that she served a year overseas, couldn't acquire proper o/s chevrons, and used those bars instead. Or, whoever sewed on the rank ran it the wrong way, God know's that's never happened! LOL And, there were no flight nurses in WW1, I'm with Cliff on that one. It's period from appearances. And the Red Cross ranks ran horizontally like the French ranks, not vertically.

 

John


Edited by Too Much WW1 Militaria, 07 October 2015 - 11:29 AM.


#8 CliffP

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:27 AM

Cliff,

 

Actually, the first airplane air evacuation in history was from Albania and was carried out in November 1915 by the French Expeditionary Forces and Serbian pilots using French fighter aircraft.

 

I can't believe that someone would be allowed to add wings to their official uniform just because they belonged to her husband. I will do some looking thru my books.

 

..Kat

 

 

 

Kat, you are right.

 

Officially, wearing that insignia would have been unauthorized by The War Department. . . but neither were medal squadron insignia worn by many of our pilots who served on the Front. 

 

Lets just assume that in a theater of war not all the rules are followed as closely as they would be while on the home front.  

 

Cliff



#9 rustywings

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:29 AM

 

:)

 

Russ,  I don't believe we had aircraft back in WWI that were large enough to serve as 

transports and/or carry both wounded and flight nurses.  :-)

 

Since the uniform has some overseas stripes sewn to the cuff one could assume that

whoever wore it at the time may have had a love interest also serving in the AEF with

the US Air Service. 

 

cp 
 

 

Thank you Cliff. Yes, I'm in tune with the size of WWI aircraft and their limitations. I was thinking more along the lines of a nurse with special medical skills being flown to forward field hospitals...or being air mobile from one hospital to another?  
 



#10 Too Much WW1 Militaria

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:30 AM

Just noticed the colors on the SSI are out of whack for the Tank Corps. Then again that happened too! 



#11 cutiger83

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:42 AM

This is from the book "Dressed for Duty":

 

The collar tabs appear to be Horizon Blue which is for the "Chairman and Vice Chairman, Directors, associate and assistant directors or the Department of military Relief and bureau of the Department of Military Relief (eg, canteens). "

 

 

I do not agree that women would adorn their uniforms after the war. These women were extremely proud of their service. I am still looking but I wonder if she flew on planes for military relief.

 

...Kat



#12 bertmedals

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 11:57 AM

This is from the book "Dressed for Duty":

 

The collar tabs appear to be Horizon Blue which is for the "Chairman and Vice Chairman, Directors, associate and assistant directors or the Department of military Relief and bureau of the Department of Military Relief (eg, canteens). "

 

 

I do not agree that women would adorn their uniforms after the war. These women were extremely proud of their service. I am still looking but I wonder if she flew on planes for military relief.

 

...Kat

Just to build off Kat's comment, and this is only a semi-educated guess, this uniform seems to align with the "American Red Cross Uniforms for Women in Foreign Service Other Than Nurses and Doctors" (ARC Regulation 410, 1918) uniform that was based on the British Officer's uniform.  In this case, the horizon blue color of the British style collar tabs signify "Department of Military Relief (Canteens, etc.)".  The stripes on the cuff may indeed be rank stripes for a "Captain" or "Director" based on ARC 403 (1917): "Upon this narrow band shall be worn two bars in silver for Captain or

Director, one bar in silver for Lieutenant or Assistant Director."  My reference is "A Guide to  American Red Cross Uniforms" by Shirley Powers, 2006.
 
While I collect WWI AEF militaria, I've only just started looking at the Women's Services so this, indeed, is a guess.

 



#13 Wharfmaster

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 01:58 PM

Does not add up. Armor triangle and wings.

 

Military Aviator wings not authorized for civilians.



#14 bertmedals

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 02:26 PM

There does seem to be photographic evidence of Red Cross (and other volunteer service organizations) wearing SSI of the units they were in direct support of -- there is plenty of evidence that many service organizations volunteers identified with the units they supported and that many units considered them "part of the team".  The wearing of the tank SSI and perhaps the wings could fall into that category and may not be all that far-fetched. See this page for two photos of Red Cross workers wearing SSI, including one with the same type of cuff bars as on this uniform:

http://portraitofwar.com/favorite-images/ 



#15 pfrost

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:27 PM

Just noticed the colors on the SSI are out of whack for the Tank Corps. Then again that happened too! 

 

I think she just had the orientation of the patch wrong.

 

My suspicion is that we are trying to hard to explain this uniform. 



#16 BEAST

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:32 PM

The IWM has a nice display of women's uniforms and continues to improve..  Several of the women's uniforms are ID'd but looking through my photos, I don't see any names associated with this uniform.  I was under the impression that the wings and armor insignia were units with which she was associated. 

 

Here are a couple of other views of the same uniform..

 

WOMAN WINGS 2.jpeg

 

WOMAN WINGS 1 web.jpeg



#17 pfrost

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:38 PM

Here is another very beautiful ARC Nurse's uniform with an SSI.

 

http://uncgspecial.b...army-nurse.html



#18 Wharfmaster

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:49 PM

The Armor patch is correct for WW1, red to the left. It's certainly possible she was with a unit.

 

However, wings are a qualification badge and should not have been worn. Maybe she was given a plane ride and the pilot gave her a set of wings.

 

 

W



#19 cwnorma

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 06:27 PM

My suspicion is that we are trying too hard to explain this uniform. 

 

I agree with Patrick.

 

It is a fantastic uniform, and I would love to have it in my collection as it intersects the twin foci of my collecting; WW1 women and aviation.  I have no doubt that the uniform was worn that way.

 

All of these crazy, one-off combinations are what makes collecting WW1 interesting!

 

Chris



#20 mtnman

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 08:12 PM

Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

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#21 bertmedals

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 02:46 PM

Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

Thanks for the assist.



#22 Patchcollector

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 03:17 PM

Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

 

 

Great photo.Love her hat.Nothing like a pretty lady in uniform!



#23 cthomas

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 06:27 PM

Guys -

One USMF member suggested any additional unit patches worn by auxiliary components, like the Red Cross, were a means to associate the nurse with that unit.

Case in point: here's an image I grabbed from an ebay auction last year. Tried hard to win it, but the auction ended beyond my means.

Note it's dated on back alongside a partial name, as well as an ID of the Paris studio.

 

I'm also in full agreement with Cliff. Overseas duty was definitely the Wild West of its time. To heck with the regs...

 

-Chuck  

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#24 cthomas

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 06:29 PM

...and the caption on back.

 

Certainly food for thought for all of you reg hounds. When it comes to the AEF, you need to just put those books to the side and keep your mind open.

 

-Chuck

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#25 cutiger83

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 06:46 PM

...and the caption on back.

 

Certainly food for thought for all of you reg hounds. When it comes to the AEF, you need to just put those books to the side and keep your mind open.

 

-Chuck

 

Very interesting that she has the same wings and type of stripe on the sleeve. Great picture!

 

...Kat




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