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WWI Nurse with wings...


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#26 rustywings

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 07:34 PM

Ahhh, it appears the plot is thickening.  Thank you Chuck. 

 

I agree with Kat. The consistency of style and placement of the bullion wing on their respective left cuffs is certainly noteworthy, if not dumbfounding... 

 

 

 

 



#27 Wharfmaster

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 10:12 PM

Angles have wings.

 

 

 

 

W



#28 cutiger83

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 05:24 AM

 The consistency of style and placement of the bullion wing on their respective left cuffs is certainly noteworthy, if not dumbfounding... 

 

 

 

 

 

Rusty,

 

I honestly think these two women were assigned to Air Corps units. While searching on-line for any information, I found this in the book "

In Uncle Sam’s Service: Women Workers with the American Expeditionary Force". The fact that the headquarters for the US Air Service was in Paris lines up with the picture posted with the Paris print shop.

 

https://books.google...reserve&f=false

 

 

Elizabeth Putnam had taken a new position as a clerical worker in the technical department of the US Air Service, Paris headquarters. The job meant giving up her work with a Red Cross hospital canteen.  The air service was racing to deploy airplanes, the administrative personnel was currently taxed to the limit, and an American secretary was essential.

 

Addressing the acute shortage of skilled stenographers and typists proved difficult. American officers and officials sometimes made individual arrangements to bring American secretaries to France, and they frequently raided the YMCA and Red Cross for office workers (as in the case with Elizabeth Putnam).

 

....Kat



#29 jagjetta

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 07:02 AM

Kat, 

That is some great sleuthing...and I am glad you reminded me of that book!   I am glad you have kept at the research on this one. It is a good reminder to all to not be too hasty to dismiss something that doesn't quite click into the collector's mold of what is "correct". 

I may have missed it, but has anyone contacted the museum where the uniform is displayed? There may be some useful information in the accession file for this uniform.

 

Keep on diggin!

 

John



#30 jagjetta

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 07:04 AM

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  

 

Wow...CHUCK TO THE RESCUE!   

 

I just spent the morning plowing through my albums trying to come up with an image to support this uniform.  Should've guess Chuck would have one that nailed it on the head.

 

Again, I bow to a superior photo collection.  ALWAYS a delight to see things in Chuck's collection!

 

John



#31 cutiger83

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 07:36 AM

Kat, 

That is some great sleuthing...and I am glad you reminded me of that book!   I am glad you have kept at the research on this one. It is a good reminder to all to not be too hasty to dismiss something that doesn't quite click into the collector's mold of what is "correct". 

I may have missed it, but has anyone contacted the museum where the uniform is displayed? There may be some useful information in the accession file for this uniform.

 

Keep on diggin!

 

John

 

John,

 

You are right about people too quickly dismissing something. I have read a LOT about women who have served our country. It drives me a little crazy that people so quickly dismiss things and stating these women either "adorned" their uniform after the war or state "it must have been their husband's item". These women were extremely proud of their service for our country. I have never once believed they just added stuff to their uniforms for the sake of adorning them. .

 

...Kat
 



#32 pfrost

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 08:43 AM

Not to quibble, but correct me if I am wrong, since the ARC isn't a military organization, they wouldn't have any military uniform regulations proscribing wearing of AEF insignia, patches or qualification badges by ARC civilian personnel.  The ARC had their own internal regulations, of course, about suitable attire and uniform restrictions that they would have had to abide by, I assume.

 

Thus, wearing military SSI or qualification badges on ARC outfits and such would not have been something that the AEF would have required the ARC personnel to wear, (unless there is some regulation that the AEF had for volunteer units that I don't know about) and so wearing these things could be seen as "adornments".  This doesn't preclude the fact that these women weren't associated with our involved with particular units or groups--especially at the higher divisional levels.

 

This isn't intended to reduce the "cool-beans" aspect of the uniform or what these women were doing. By 1919, the ARC was hip deep in trying to deal with the Spanish Influenza pandemic and was dealing with all sorts of humanitarian crises in a Europe trying to recover from the Great War.  So it isn't a slur to suggest that they may have adorned their uniform to show solidarity with the groups that they may have been assisting.

 

My initial point is that I doubted very much that wearing an wing badge on the cuff was indication of an early flight nurse.

 

P


Edited by pfrost, 09 October 2015 - 08:46 AM.


#33 cwnorma

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 08:44 AM

 

John,

 

You are right about people too quickly dismissing something. I have read a LOT about women who have served our country. It drives me a little crazy that people so quickly dismiss things and stating these women either "adorned" their uniform after the war or state "it must have been their husband's item". These women were extremely proud of their service for our country. I have never once believed they just added stuff to their uniforms for the sake of adorning them. .

 

...Kat
 

Kat,

 

Lets not get too hasty with overgeneralization or romanticism.  To be certain, some embellishment most assuredly happened.  I have seen WW1 Women's YMCA uniforms with no fewer than 30 SSI patches!  Some women were known to collect insignia and there is ample photographic evidence of the practice.

 

On the other hand, you are absolutely correct.  These women were fiercely proud of their service and in this case, especially with Chuck's corroborating photo, there is enough consistency to indicate that this practice of wearing pilot wings on the sleeve enjoyed some sort of "official" sanction.   No doubt, as these women performed their duties, the fact of their wearing the badge would have been known the the officers of the unit.  At the very least, it was tolerated if not allowed.

 

Moreover, Both the uniforms in question belonged to Red Cross Volunteers.  They were not part of the Army and were only subject to its regulations in as much as much as they could be dismissed for violations.  Given the extreme lack of clerical workers, perhaps they enjoyed a good bit of leeway?

 

On the other hand, it is possible, even probable,  that these women were associated with Air Service units and at some point were "taken up" in an airplane and were thus semi-officially granted "wings"  for having "seen the elephant."  Alas, it is now too late to ask.  

 

Finally, there is a persistent rumor among collectors that there were actually a handful of WW1 era "flight nurses"  Not that this is the case in the matter of these particular uniforms, but the rumor has survived nonetheless.  I for one have never seen any proof--but it is pervasive enough that one faker even went to the trouble of making a wing:

 

FAKE ANC Wing.jpg

FAKE ANC Wing

 

There are indeed published accounts of pilots taking women up for flights.  It is not difficult to imagine a circumstance where a clerical worker at the airfield would be granted this opportunity.

 

As Cliff and Chuck have so ably noted, WW1--especially the AEF--was pretty much the "wild west" when it came to uniforms and insignia.  This general lack of control is what led to the myriad versions of WW1 pilot wings (pretty much the reason "Wings" has its own section of the forum) and to paraphrase  Duncan Campbell; "we may never know all the variations."  The Army struggled mightily to maintain control, but looking at the often fantastic combinations we see today, it must be admitted that their success was mixed.

 

Chris



#34 cutiger83

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 09:02 AM

As Bertmedals stated and I have also read, the Red Cross workers would wear the SSI to the units to which they belonged.  IMO, this is something different than “adornments” because they are wearing an item worn by their units. To me, an adornment is something not having anything to do with an assignment of the owner.

 

I too don’t believe this wing has to do with a nurse. I believe these Red Cross women were assigned to Air Corps units in their headquarters but not on a flight status.

 

Chris, patch coats are something entirely different.  You are correct that they are adorned with patches but this uniform is one wing attached to an otherwise official uniform. To me, a patch coat cannot be compared to this uniform.

 

In my searching, I have looked for WWI flight nurses but haven’t found anything yet.

 

As Rusty stated, this uniform is very interesting to ponder. I sure wish we could talk to the original owner.



#35 pfrost

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 10:29 AM

It is sure hard for me to get my head around the concept that taking an ARC nurse on a joyride in a USAS Jenny over occupied Germany/France was something that would have been allowed or condoned at any level.  I don't care how much of a "wild west" atmosphere people think the AEF existed under.  Never say never, but....

 

It is well known that after the war, there was a fair amount of barnstorming and airplane rides at state fairs being offered stateside, but I can't imagine that ARC nurses and USAS pilots had nothing better to do in 1919 than firing up the old Curtiss and going out for a quick romp over the Somme, and then a picnic :P.


Edited by pfrost, 09 October 2015 - 10:30 AM.


#36 cutiger83

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 10:35 AM

These ladies were Red Cross workers not Red Cross nurses. I don't believe these wings have anything to do with nurses.



#37 pfrost

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 10:55 AM

Nurse, clerk or canteen worker, I still doubt that they were being taken on joyrides by appreciative pilots, much less that this was being commemorated by giving them wings to wear on the sleeve.

 

You are probably correct, that they were assigned to a headquarters or such and they wore items to indicate this service.



#38 cutiger83

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 10:59 AM

I agree. I do not think they were taken on joyrides. :)



#39 BEAST

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 11:53 AM

For another example of WWI Red Cross workers wearing divisional insignia, this was posted under women's services.

http://www.usmilitar...unic-and-skirt/

RC3.jpg

Edited by BEAST, 09 October 2015 - 11:53 AM.


#40 pfrost

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 02:06 PM

This thread seems to have gone off wings, but here are a couple of other vintage ARC women in uniform.  This lady has the same vertical hash marks and what seems to be a red cross in the same place as the first woman was seen wearing the wing.

This other photo is of Mrs. Vanderbilt wearing what looks to be the USA Army eagle badge on her own cap.

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  • Mrs Markey.jpg
  • w e vanderbilt.jpg


#41 TLHSS

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 04:55 PM

The practice of American Red Cross workers wearing military SSIs continued into WWII.  A named example from my collection:

 

DSC01192 (480x640).jpg

 

Tim

 

 



#42 jagjetta

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 01:41 PM



It is sure hard for me to get my head around the concept that taking an ARC nurse on a joyride in a USAS Jenny over occupied Germany/France was something that would have been allowed or condoned at any level.  I don't care how much of a "wild west" atmosphere people think the AEF existed under.  Never say never, but....

 

 

I believe there was a standard protocol for taking a plane for a spin.  I don't have a representation of the form for the Army of Occupation, but here are shots of a flight request form submitted by a (stateside) Pigeon Section private to ride as a passenger in 1918. 

Pigeon-1.jpg  Pigeon-2.jpg

 

 

FWIW,

JAG



#43 pfrost

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 02:03 PM

That is really neat document.  Still, I think it is one thing for a military personnel to seek a ride on an airplane (I assume that the private was in the aerosquadron that was providing the flight) than for a civilian in a war or occupation zone trying to get a ride in a plane.  I would never say never, but it is hard for me to imagine that happening.



#44 cthomas

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 02:49 PM

John - now it's my turn to say "kudos!". That was an excellent document you posted.
'Pfrost'- I must say you're being obstinate. It happened - plain and simple. Whether they followed protocol (as seen in the document posted by JAG) or not (as you will read below), non-aviation personnel did indeed have the rare occasion to go for a "flip" at a nearby aerodrome.
Case in point: American nurse, Marion L. Overend, was killed in a flying accident on June 16, 1918 when the Nieuport Type 80 flown by Capt. Thorp crashed near Field #2, 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun, France killing both Thorp & nurse Overend.
This was just one well documented case, and I'll bet my last $5 it happened more often than not...just not documented because of all the red tape involved.

Edited by cthomas, 15 October 2015 - 02:50 PM.


#45 pfrost

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 04:27 PM

Not being obstinate, --who am I kidding, of course I am being obstinate...but again, If you do a google search, you will find that Marion Overend was an Army Nurse who was assigned to Field #2, 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun and was killed in an airplane accident.  While some reports say it was  joy ride, I'd like to see proof of that, as it could have been something  else.  It is possible that she was, as a nurse assigned to that unit, being ferried by a senior officer as part of her duties--for example.  Still, that is a far cry from taking a civilian ARC member on a joy ride in a war zone by her boyfriend and commemerating it with giving her wings to wear on her sleeve--which was one of the ideas posted.  I still think we are trying to hard to explain this uniform but that Cutetiger83 is probably correct, I suspect that she was assigned to an Aviation Headquarters unit and that is what the wings on her sleeve represent.

 

This is a thread on another forum about the Overend/Thorpe crash.  Maybe Cliff can expand on this?

 

http://www.theaerodr...ead.php?t=61431


Edited by pfrost, 15 October 2015 - 04:36 PM.


#46 cthomas

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 05:01 PM

Small correction...Capt. Thorp survived the crash and was shortly thereafter shipped back to the states.
Also for nurse Overend, she was assigned to Camp Hospital #14 at the 3rd AIC.
There was a several page article on this crash done in the Vol.29, issue #4 Winter 2014 of 'The Over the Front' magazine.
I would post the actual accident report, but it's a bad copy to begin with and with the cropping involved, would make it even more illegible.
I will say after reading the above OTF article, it's clear this was a 'joy ride'. You want proof? Then disregard the Internet chatter and read the OTF article with its primary source documentation.

It appears to me there is no convincing you otherwise, so pick up that issue and read away!

As for 'other' people going for rides, my experience in this field of study tells me it happened. I don't have the will nor the time to recite them all (or even a few) in the hope of convincing you. So I will leave it at that.

If Cliff has a better copy of the accident report, then maybe he can post it here.
- Chuck

#47 pfrost

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 05:17 PM

Chuck, does the official accident report say "joy ride"?  I said, "never say never" and I'm sure everything possible that someone can imagined happened in the military actually happened at one time or the other.  But don't be pissed at me because I don't think that the wing on the uniform that started the thread represent a commemorative joy ride with her lover/boyfriend.

 

And yes, I am sorry but I would like to see proof that civilian ARC personnel were being given regular joy rides in the AEF in 1918-1919.  I can imagine politicians, visiting dignitaries, and even reporters being taken up, I can even see a pilot taking his brother up for a spin to look over the trenches.  I can imagine staff or personnel wrangling a flight or two. But like I said above I still doubt that they (ARC personnel) were being taken on "joyrides" and that this was being commemorated by giving them wings to wear on the sleeve.


Edited by pfrost, 15 October 2015 - 05:19 PM.


#48 cwnorma

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 06:48 PM

I can't personally speak for what happened in France in 1918, but in Korea in 1988, there were monthly "incentive rides" given at the 51 Fighter Wing.  These were short rides in the back seat of F-4s and later in the back seat of F-16 Trainers.  Civilian base employees were frequently selected for this privilege.  We were literally seconds away in a jet from the DMZ, but the pilots knew where not to point their planes...

 

I have a WW1 wing in my collection from a pilot who signed for and checked out a DH-4 from Kelly Field (!) flew it home on leave (!) and was killed in an accident in front of his parents (!).  The Air Service of 1918 may not quite have been the "tightly run ship" some might imagine...

 

I recommend too that anyone who doubts these sorts of "non-professional" things may have happened find a copy of "The HAWKS that guided the GUNS" by 1Lt Lawrence L. Smart, 135 Aero Sqdn, USAS.  It is a short read but in some ways, nicely de-mythologizes what it was like to be an Aviator in WW1.  Interestingly, I found parallels in Lt Smart's book to "events" from my own Air Force career.

 

Lastly, those who have never been in the military, or especially those who have never deployed to a war zone, might have a less-than-complete imagining of just how much or how little actually "goes on" when military personnel are not--in those rare and brief moments--directly engaged in the deadly game of war.  Even today, It is often said; "what goes on deployment, stays on deployment..."

 

Just to keep this on topic, as I said before, I can easily imagine circumstances where a civilian employee of, at, or near an airfield, far behind the front lines, could be given the chance to be taken up.  I could also imagine circumstances where a young, 1st Lieutenant or Captain in charge could see fit to bend the rules and award "wings" to someone who had "flown."  Not saying this is the case in this circumstance, and none of this should be interpreted as denigrating the people engaged in these activities.  They were after all, often young adults--very full of life.

 

 

 

Chris



#49 Too Much WW1 Militaria

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 09:12 PM

Amen! A lot of people don't realise what sort of stuff goes on during a deployment, or in a combat theater. Perfectly logical that some aviator took a gal he was sweet on up for a ride. I have a group to a stateside pilot that has orders covering everything from "Pilots should adhere to uniform regulations, to one that covers all sorts of aircraft mischief. Personally, as a fromer pltoon SGT in combat, it wasn't the combat stuff that drove me nuts, it was being "in the rear with the gear" where the trouble occurred. And, it's been going on since the first organized military. Social disease was a major problem in WW1, WW2, (can't say for Korea, but why buck a trend) and was a problem in Vietnam! Bottom line, when deployed, rules get bent and broken, and speaking from experience, keeping healthy young men and women on track can be like herding feral cats! As chris as stated, in forward areas/war zones all sorts of stuff goes on!

 

John

 

 

 

I can't personally speak for what happened in France in 1918, but in Korea in 1988, there were monthly "incentive rides" given at the 51 Fighter Wing.  These were short rides in the back seat of F-4s and later in the back seat of F-16 Trainers.  Civilian base employees were frequently selected for this privilege.  We were literally seconds away in a jet from the DMZ, but the pilots knew where not to point their planes...

 

I have a WW1 wing in my collection from a pilot who signed for and checked out a DH-4 from Kelly Field (!) flew it home on leave (!) and was killed in an accident in front of his parents (!).  The Air Service of 1918 may not quite have been the "tightly run ship" some might imagine...

 

I recommend too that anyone who doubts these sorts of "non-professional" things may have happened find a copy of "The HAWKS that guided the GUNS" by 1Lt Lawrence L. Smart, 135 Aero Sqdn, USAS.  It is a short read but in some ways, nicely de-mythologizes what it was like to be an Aviator in WW1.  Interestingly, I found parallels in Lt Smart's book to "events" from my own Air Force career.

 

Lastly, those who have never been in the military, or especially those who have never deployed to a war zone, might have a less-than-complete imagining of just how much or how little actually "goes on" when military personnel are not--in those rare and brief moments--directly engaged in the deadly game of war.  Even today, It is often said; "what goes on deployment, stays on deployment..."

 

Just to keep this on topic, as I said before, I can easily imagine circumstances where a civilian employee of, at, or near an airfield, far behind the front lines, could be given the chance to be taken up.  I could also imagine circumstances where a young, 1st Lieutenant or Captain in charge could see fit to bend the rules and award "wings" to someone who had "flown."  Not saying this is the case in this circumstance, and none of this should be interpreted as denigrating the people engaged in these activities.  They were after all, often young adults--very full of life.

 

 

 

Chris


Edited by Too Much WW1 Militaria, 15 October 2015 - 09:12 PM.


#50 Wharfmaster

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 09:32 PM

I have a copy of the WW1 History of the YMCA, "THAT DAMN Y" A Record of Overseas Service by Katherine Mayo, Copyright 1920.

 

It confirms YMCA personnel were attached to US Aviation Camps and Centers. It also confirms YMCA men and women served at the front.

 

It lists nine Y Workers that were killed in action (2 Women) and one man that died of wounds. Also lists a number of men and women that were wounded, gassed

and shell shocked. Also a list of died, other causes.

 

Four YMCA men were awarded the US Distinguished Service Cross and one the DSM. A number also received Citations from US Divisional Commanders. Plus foreign decorations.

 

 

Wharf




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