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British Pilots wearing American wings...

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Here's a terrific piece of 1942 period footage of British Flying Cadets on graduation day at Polaris Flight Academy. The civilian presenting the boxed wings and wearing the light gray jacket is school owner Major C.C. Moseley . (Major Moseley also owned Cal Aero Flight Academy and Mira Loma Flight Academy here in Southern California.)

 

 


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As promised, here are the pics of USAAF officers training in Great Britain in June 41...six months before the USA officially entered the war!

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"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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Cont'd...

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"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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Cont'd...

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"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

 

 

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

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Cont'd...

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"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

 

 

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

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Note the nice mix of AAF uniforms...black neckties, visor hats, garrison caps pink and /OD, plus one officer in what I presume is a "pink" cap, shirt and pants which makes him stand out from the rest! The Americans as yet display no ribbons but the RAF officers, being combat vets already have a smattering of awards...DFCc, DFMS, DSOs and MCs etc.


"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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Very cool stuff guys


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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As promised, here are the pics of USAAF officers training in Great Britain in June 41...six months before the USA officially entered the war!

 

A very distinct group photo Ian! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us. The senior British Officer seated in the center front row (Group Captain Jones) looks very similar to the individual in the youtube video shaking hands with his senior American counterpart.

 

The word "Allies" doesn't always sound descriptive enough when viewing these historic group photos!

 

Russ

 

 


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I just finished reading an interesting article published by the BBC regarding the "British Flying Training Schools" located in the United States during WWII... and it really stirred my collecting juices to seek out more examples of wings, insignia and militaria related to these U.S. based and managed Contract Flight Schools.

 

Under President Roosevelt's directive, General Hap Arnold oversaw contractual agreements for the opening of the following seven BFTS programs:

 

#1 B.F.T.S. Terrell, Texas, (opened on June 9, 1941).

#2 B.F.T.S. Lancaster, Calif., (also opened on June 9, 1941).

#3 B.F.T.S. Miami, Oklahoma, (opened on June 16, 1941).

#4 B.F.T.S. Mesa, Arizona, (also opened on June 16, 1941).

#5 B.F.T.S. Clewiston, Florida, (opened on July 17, 1941).

#6 B.F.T.S. Ponca City, Oklahoma, (opened on August 23, 1941).

#7 B.F.T.S. Sweetwater, Texas, (opened in May, 1942, but closed just three months later and refocused on the WASP Program).

 

The training program was referred to as "Arnolds Scheme" and initially called for each Flying Cadet to pass a 28 week program which included:

 

"Primary" flying in Stearman PT-17's.

"Basic" flying in Vultee BT-13's.

"Advanced" flying in North American AT6A's.

 

Over the course of it's three year existence, the combined BFTS program in the United States was responsible for training approximately 18,000 RAF Pilots. That sure seems like a significant number of Pilots until you take into account we also trained nearly 200,000 USAAF/USN Pilots during the same period!


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I am in and out of Mesa #4 BFTS (old Williams AFB) now and then.

Here is a photo I took a few years ago of one of the WWII era hangars.

I was told the shape was to represent a RAF wing...not sure how true that is,

but you can see the resemblance for sure.

 

John

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

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Here's a couple of embroidered #1 BFTS Flight Instructor wings worn by American civilian contract instructors at the Terrell, Texas school. I understand the wings with the five-pointed stars gave way to the six-pointed star variation. (I wonder if this was an effort to distance the school a bit from the Red-Star symbolism of the USSR?)

 

#1 BFTS (b).jpg

#1BFTS Instructors.jpg


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The #1 BFTS Flight School logo and motto is sure loaded with some cool symbolism with depictions of the British Lion, American Eagle, hand-shake of cooperation and the Star of Texas. The Latin motto "Mare Nos Dividit - Sed Caela Conjungunt" translates to "The Seas Divide...But The Skies Unite."

 

 

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Russ, If you go back to post 18 you'll see that they wore both the 5 and 6 pointed star wing concurrently. In fact, the year book for BFTS #1 shows a mix of the 5 and 6 pointed stars being worn as either hat or breast badges. This school wasn't opened that long before the US got into the war.

 

P

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Russ,

 

If you get a minute you might want to check out my old thread about a uniform grouping from an American that graduated from BFTS #5 in Florida.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/226264-usaaf-pilot-grouping-graduate-of-5-bfts/?hl=bfts

 

Hello Scarecrow,

 

I appreciate the connection to your old thread. It's interesting that the USAAF Command, responsible for overseeing the standardization of training with all American-based Contract Flight Schools, would allow American graduates from "Riddle-McKay Aero School" in Clewiston, Florida, to wear both British and American Pilot wings? I'm not aware of that happening at any of the other five BFTS Schools. Curious stuff! I'd like to learn more if there's additional info to be had?

 


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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.

 

Hey Patrick,

 

I recently picked up 6 hardbound class-books which cover 24 consecutive British Flying Cadet classes (courses) at #1 BFTS in Terrell, Texas. To my surprise, "Terrell Aviation School" did not change their focus after our official entry into the war and continued to produce a steady stream of RAF Pilots until August, 1945. In 1942 they began integrating a few USAAF Flying Cadets into the predominately British classes... and when it was all over, #1 BFTS had graduated 1,994 RAF Pilots and 125 USAAF Pilots.

 

Your #1 BFTS Flight Instructor C. Siebenhausen (pictured above in Post #18) is pictured in 5 of the 6 books I own. It's kind of cool seeing the progression of uniforms the Contract Flight Instructors wore over the years.

 

Here's a C.F.I. group image from 1941 with Siebenhausen on the far left. (I love the C.F.I. who bloused his pants like knickerbockers!) With a loop, you can F/I Siebenhausen is wearing only a leather nametag on his A-2 and a prop/wing insignia on his overseas cap.

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In this 1944 CFI (Contract Flight Instructor) group photo, now "Flight Commander" Siebenhausen (far left) and his fellow Flight Instructors are wearing the British style school wings. Note, one CFI is wearing the more traditional WTS (War Training Service) cap piece with upswept eagle wings.

 

With a loop, you can see F/C Siebenhausen is wearing an unknown type third wing over his right shirt pocket? Patrick, your guy apparently has quite a flying past!

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Of the six flight schools, apparently only #2 BFTS (Polaris Flight Academy) changed training focus after we officially entered the war. This beat-up copy of "Salute' is a class book from the fourth course of RAF Pilots to graduate from the Lancaster, Ca. program. The front cover depicts #2 BFTS Flying Cadets marching around the Rose Bowl.

 

Check out the paragraph describing the closing of #2 BFTS in August, 1942.

 

#2 BFTS Polaris L.A. Coluseum.jpg

#2 BFTS Polaris.jpg


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The Flight Instructors from each of the six BFTS schools wore their own unique patches and wings.

 

#2 BFTS Flight Instructors wore this style of gilt Pilot wing, cap badge and patch:

#2 BFTS Polaris (2).jpg


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#3 BFTS Flight Instructors from Spartan School in Miami, Oklahoma, wore this:

 

#3 BFTS a.jpg


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Here's a shoulder patch for #6 BFTS, Ponca City, Oklahoma:

 

#6 BFTS.jpg


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Here is another BFTS wing. I used to know what school this belonged to, but forgot.

 

I once corresponded with a gentleman who was a US contract flight instructor who was involved in training RAF pilots early in 1941 at No 5 BFTS at Embry Riddle Field. Apparently, in about 1939, he and a buddy took off from home in an old truck "living the hobo life style" (his words). He had taught himself to fly somewhere along that trip and ended up in Florida, where he got a job as a flight instructor. He said he only trained RAF pilots but when the US entered the war after Pearl Harbor he immediately tried to sign up with the USAAF. They wouldn't take him right away, so he spent about another year as an instructor before finally getting into the USAAF as a service pilot flying fuel in a converted B-24 over the Hump in 1943 or so. He said he HATED his service pilot wings and lobbied mightily to get to wear regular pilot wings (which he eventually was awarded). Once he was allowed to wear his pilot wings, he got rid of his service pilot wings. He told me that he was "insulted" by having to wear service pilot wings because he felt it was a step down from a regular pilot.

 

I asked him about this civilian pilot instructor insignia and he said they never wore any special uniforms, wings or patches that he could recall, but he did remember the WTS Eagle cap badge (and in fact, he had a nice picture of him wearing that badge on his cap).

 

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Nothing to do with flight schools, but here’s a picture of Guy Gibson of Dambusters fame wearing a Senior Pilot wing, most likely given as an honorary award during a tour of the States after the mission (he’s got his VC ribbon up).

 

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Any ideas on the maker? I can’t tell if it’s got the little stilts that would suggest Meyer.

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