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British Pilots wearing American wings...

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

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

 

 

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

Norman Bowker RAF-USAAF.JPG


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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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.

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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?


High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew;

and while, with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941

 

 

 

" And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 

Don't let the B@stards wear you down -"Vinegar" Joe Stillwell

 

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.Unreasonable

people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.All progress,

therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

George Bernard Shaw

 

 

" Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" , Fletcher,from the movie "The outlaw Josey Wales"

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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.

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:)

 

Thank you Russ for posting this thread.

 

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

 

Cliff


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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.

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

 

Daniel


Actively collecting:

13th USAAF uniforms and groups/medal groups!

307th BG, 5th BG, 11th BG, 42nd BG

Also looking for:

WWII Far East Air Force uniforms/groups!

Any Pacific Army Air Force Groups to 5th, 7th, 10th, 14th, 20th AAF

Collecting CBI and ATC Pacific Army Air Force groups

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USMF's custom photo resize tool:http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/229816-custom-resize-tool-exclusively-for-the-usmf/




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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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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.

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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.

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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.


"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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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


In Peace and War, US Merchant Marine. WARNING: Dangerous Cargo. No Visitors, No Smoking, No Open Lights.

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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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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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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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