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Is this wing good? Post you advice requests here!


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Thanks again for the info!  I’m happy with the wings that I’ve found and any concerns have been put to rest.  

 

bschwartz, your website is extensive.  You have really put some time and effort into it.  What a fantastic resource for information.  I will certainly be visiting the site again soon.

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I really like these gunner bullion wings, however I am curious about the tan cloth between the blue combat backing and the wings??

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Looking for anything related to WWII ETO gliders and pilots, uniforms, photos, etc. I am also looking for 8th AF B-17 crew uniforms and gear.








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The tan was usually sewn to the tan summer uniforms. Looks better against the blue than a gabardine one.  BTY the "combat blue " back is most commonly found on 9th AAF and some 8th.

Paul Conrad
Still looking for quality wings!

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I am bored prefixing everything I say with "I think" or "in my opinion".
Everything I say is my opinion; the only thing of which I am certain is that there is very little of which one can be certain.

 


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Just a small quibble, it seems that only some of the squadrons of the 8th AAF authorized the combat blue backing (and there seems to be some evidence that some of the 9th AAF squadrons may have worn them as well).  Although I don't recall ever seeing a period photo of a 9th AAF guy with the combat blue backing under his wings.  Of course that doesn't mean they don't exist, I just don't recall seeing them.  The blue backing with the gold border was apparently used by the crew of the lead aircraft in the squadron. 

When making bullion (or silk thread versions) wings, the wire was sewn onto a backing material.  Sometimes the backing material was a blue melton type fabric, sometimes a gaberdine or khaki material.  The backing material would then be trimmed (or not) and sewn to the uniform. 

I can say that I think the bullion wings are vintage WWII (although they strike me as being American made), while I don't know that I am totally convinced that the lead aircraft combat backing in vintage to the wings.  This is what I like to call a "force multiplier" when talking about WWII uniforms.  A relatively cheap and easy thing to make and add to a uniform that can significantly increase its value.

But its hard to know for sure in this case.

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Patrick,

You've articulated what I was thinking when I first saw this wing. I would say that the bullion is US made and obviously was cut down from the tan background material. These were made for the tan blouse. They would NEVER stand up to laundering on a shirt. The "lead crew: backing gives me a lot of heartburn. It doesn't look like the real ones that I have handled over the decades. I love your "Force Multiplier" term. If it ever fit in militaria collecting, it does so here.

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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BTY - the blue backgrounds are always "iffy"  I was just pointing out that if you see one on say, a 7th Ike its probably bad - I was just answering why the tan..

Paul Conrad
Still looking for quality wings!

www.conradwings.com
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I am bored prefixing everything I say with "I think" or "in my opinion".
Everything I say is my opinion; the only thing of which I am certain is that there is very little of which one can be certain.

 


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  • 1 month later...

How about these paratrooper wings and patch? The wings were pinned to the patch when I got them. Pretty confident the wings are WWII-era, but would like other opinions. Any idea what the number represents that is scratched into the back of the wings? Looks like P5428.  542nd? laundry number?  other ideas? There is just enough space between the 2 and the 8 to make me wonder. Is the patch from WWII?

 

Thanks, 

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Both your 11th A/B patch and your jump wing are WWII vintage. The number scratched into the back is probably the trooper's laundry number- First initial of last name and the last four of his service number.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Not sure if it's WW2 or post war. The catch was repaired and inverted. Inset "Sterling" can be seen at the bottom right on the reverse. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking for opinions on this set of J.R. Gaunt wings. Thanks guys!

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Looking for anything related to WWII ETO gliders and pilots, uniforms, photos, etc. I am also looking for 8th AF B-17 crew uniforms and gear.








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I haven't seen any Gaunt wings stamped sterling.  British made wings are usually brass with a silver wash.  If they did make them in silver (which are very rare) they would use their assay system to mark it instead of the American sterling mark.  Additionally, the marks are missing that show where the findings should go and the hallmark should have some additional "tells" which are not there as well.  I really wanted this one to be real but decided to pass on it because of these reasons.  

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2 hours ago, WWIIinterviews said:

Looking for opinions on this set of J.R. Gaunt wings. Thanks guys!

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For me this set of wings is a cast repro. The obverse detail is very weak, as is the maker mark. Further, they've used an Observer base wing, rather than a Pilot base wing, to attach the crude G shield to. This pattern of Gaunt observer base wing was not typically made from silver, let alone Sterling Silver, so the nice crisp Sterling stamp is another red flag.

 

Regards

Mike

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm looking for opinions on this set of wings.  I think they are WWII British RAF.  They came with a red piece of leather.  I would appreciate any information as to their authenticity as well as who would have worn them and on what uniform.  Also, any idea of their value?  Thanks in advance.

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With the screw fastenings, I’d say this is a WW2 era piece. Usually this eagle would form part of an RAF officer’s side cap badge with a separate crown above it. This would normally have had a triangular brass backing plate to fix both badges in place. This one looks like a RCAF variant having a flat tail.

 

These devices were also used by pathfinder aircrew of 8 Group to differentiate themselves, worn on the left breast under their brevet and/or medal ribbons. If the leather backing is of a commensurate age it could point towards this use but unfortunately as they were usually the same eagle device as cap badges it’s impossible to tell without provenance.

 

Pathfinder wings can also be found in pin back, such as the below example, the story being that pathfinders who were captured would be shot or lynched on the spot as they marked the targets for area bombing operations which killed many civilians. Pin back wings allowed these aircrew to remove evidence of their status on ops. Make of that what you will. Essentially it’s the same device with a different fixing.

 

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As Kropotkin stated, this is a portion of a Canadian RAF officer's cap device. The red material is stiffener meant to be worn behind the cloth to keep the "Hawke" from drooping on the cap. There should be a crown device worn above this one. As this has a squared tail and a huge beak, it is decidedly Canadian and not one of the other commonwealth AF cap devices. Those threaded screw posts on the back would disqualify its use as a Path Finder device. RAF regulations called for a badge that would be able to be removed easily without showing wear or damaging the uniform. Holes on the uniform's chest would be a no no.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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I wouldn’t say that only pin-back eagles were used by Pathfinders. From memory there are several examples of contemporary tunics in the Pathfinder Collection at RAF Wyton which have screw-back or cotter pin fixings. I suspect it was a matter of personal choice as to whether they were kept on or not - operational units tended not to follow regulations to the letter. Far from it.

 

I’ve not seen reference to the regulations stipulating removable PFF badges, so would be very interested if you have a source or link to share. I’m always learning!

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5 hours ago, Kropotkin said:

I wouldn’t say that only pin-back eagles were used by Pathfinders. From memory there are several examples of contemporary tunics in the Pathfinder Collection at RAF Wyton which have screw-back or cotter pin fixings. I suspect it was a matter of personal choice as to whether they were kept on or not - operational units tended not to follow regulations to the letter. Far from it.

 

I’ve not seen reference to the regulations stipulating removable PFF badges, so would be very interested if you have a source or link to share. I’m always learning!

Air Ministry Order Number A 1244/42 authorized the wear of the path finder badge for wear by the path finder force. In the order, it is stated that the eagle was to be gilt metal and that it was only authorized to be worn by members when not on operations flights. Finally, it states that the badge must be affixed in a manner so as to not alter or damage the uniform in any way so that it would be apparent that the badge was missing when it was not being worn. There is an article on the British Path Finder badge in the April-June 2016 issue of the ASMIC "Trading Post."

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Thanks for this information, Allan. Very useful and, as I say, something I haven’t up until now been able to source. It has definitely shifted my perception on the subject.

I suppose the period examples of screw-back and cotter pin fixings being on dress tunics relate to the fact that these were not worn on ops, with battledress used for the purpose, so no need to remove and re-affix.

I think this photo neatly illustrates the difference in tunics and battledress in terms of when the wings were worn or not (or at least worn permanently), with removable pin-backs more likely being used on battledress and so not always ‘up’:

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And this photo shows what looks like a pin-back badge being worn on battledress, which makes sense:

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I believe that is supposed to be an Apollo space capsule on the shield . I believe that this is a souvenir wing from visiting Cape Kennedy (at the time). I am afraid that I can't comment on the originality, but I do not believe they are specifically military.

 

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Technical Observer wing currently for sale on Ebay. I don't think its legit because of the hallmark "LGB STER"

 

Looking for others to give their opinions.  I notice that there have been some discussions regarding re-strikes or fakes out there attribute to Fitzsimmons and marked "STER"    

 

Would this wing be one of those?

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WWII-USAAF-STERLING-TECHNICAL-OBSERVER-WING/203080089367?hash=item2f48843f17:g:DGUAAOSwNmNfMV3d

 

On 9/7/2018 at 5:16 PM, pfrost said:

I wouldn't waste much money on Fitzsimmon's book. In my opinion there are a lot of fakes in his book and you get much better information from the Pinks and Green's books than you can get from Charlie's work. I don't even know if he is still alive. When I was first collecting he was very helpful and sold me a steady stream of fakes, that (to his credit) he steadily accepted back when I challenged him on their vintage. After the 2nd or 3rd such transaction, I figured why bother? I have to say, he was always very nice to me, but...

 

I can't verify that this is true, but I have been told that he approached Balfore or Blackinton and had them make up a bunch of their old WWII wings (including the 1920's pilot/observer and observer wings). All the restrikes had STER on the back (rather than STERLING) where very thin and had funky pin placements. I still periodically see them showing up to this day.

 

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I my opinion it is a known restrike, for the exact reasons you already stated.

John

...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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