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WWI Nurse with wings...

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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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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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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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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

 


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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


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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

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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

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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


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:)

 

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?

 


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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


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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.

 


Dennis (Bertmedals)

Collecting WWI AEF relics, artifacts, and memorabilia

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Does not add up. Armor triangle and wings.

 

Military Aviator wings not authorized for civilians.


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

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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/


Dennis (Bertmedals)

Collecting WWI AEF relics, artifacts, and memorabilia

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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.

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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..

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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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


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

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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


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Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

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Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

Thanks for the assist.


Dennis (Bertmedals)

Collecting WWI AEF relics, artifacts, and memorabilia

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Here is the pic referenced above by bertmedals

 

 

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


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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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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WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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...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

post-518-0-99242200-1444357699.jpg


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


donation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

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...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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