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ITALIAN WINGS-WWI?


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Ok, this is a little bit of a curve ball. These wings were awarded to a WWI US pilot who trained at Foggia, Italy. He served until the mid-1950s, retiring as a Brigadier General. I don't want this discussion to go too far afield, but I would like to know the opinion of our wing gurus as to the date of these wings.

 

The front

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The back

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A closeup of the catch

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And an attempt at art. His wings and National Unity medal.

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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. "

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Seeing as how they include a fasces (in the bird's talons) they are not WWI vintage. Also the style of the bird is post-1935. The royal Savoy crown makes them prior to1947-ish.

 

 

Thanks! I thought it looked too "new" in style to be WWI, but I could not find any clear photos of the WWI Italian wings. Wonder when he would have worn them? Can't see him wearing them during WWII. Maybe I can find a photo of him wearing them.

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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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I can remember seeing some Paratroopers from the 509th wearing (or something similiar)this badge over the right pocket.Not officially of course.Wish I could remember where I saw the pic.Always heard it was an Italian AF pilots wing.

 

RON

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Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

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These would be wings worn by a Fascist Italian pilot. I believe in September of 1943, the Italians agreed to an armistice with the Allies--the king and his cronies fled Rome, and seemed to have failed to tell the Italian military, which quickly collapsed. Those Italian pilots who stayed loyal to the Fascist cause (or were in German controlled areas) tended to remove the crown from their wings. Those that ended up in Allied controlled areas went the other way and removed the fasci (the ax--spelling?) from their wings. So, you can typcally find 3 types of WWII Italian wings, the pre-armistice wings with crown and fasci (like this one), the wings without crown, and the wings without the fascis.

 

I would think that during WWII, it would have been unlikely for an American to wear an Italian wing. However, the Fascists were in power starting in the 1920's, so it is possible that some sort of WWI reunion items or keepsakes were given out to WWI pilots.

 

Here is an interesting photo of a WWII fighter pilot wearing italian wings (this picture was taken after the war). The wings have neither the crown or the fascies.

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pfrost,

Thanks for the photo and information! This pilot looks too young to have been trained during WWI. Did we train with the Italians after their surrender or before the war?

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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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Nope,not a WWI vet. He was a WWII fighter pilot, I have some other pics of him and members of his squadron. I suspect he was flying in Italy and either picked up the wings, maybe for serving as a liaison with the Italian Air Force. It is an interesting photo. Wish I knew more about him.

 

Patrick

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WW1 italian wings badge dont 'exist.

Italian Air Force born in 1923- 3/28/1923 -

WW1 italian pilots were infantry, artillery, engineer...an so on officers/s.off. and they had just a little metal badge (propeller) over the original infantry/artillery...hat badge.

During the war was made a special sleeve bullion braid badge - eagle with crown -

Ciao/regards

Max

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This is the uniform of Allen Bevin. He was an original "Foggione" pilot. He trained and flew in Italy. The wings on the Lt. Sleeve are Italian WW1 Wings. I'll post a studio portrait of him later. The are several examples of other WW1 Italian Brevetted pilots in several publications. Sorry for the poor shot.

 

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A large portion of the photos in the book "Wings of Honor" under the Italian section, are from the Allen Bevin album.

"RETREAT HELL.....WE JUST GOT HERE"

 

LOOKING TO PURCHASE IDENTIFIED WW1 AVIATION GROUPINGS, INCLUDING MEDALS, UNIFORMS, STUDIO PHOTOS.

PURCHASE ANY AND ALL ID'ED WW1 NAVY CORPSMAN OR PHYSICIAN GROUPINGS; MEDALS &/or UNIFORMS.

WW1 USMC ID'ED OFFICER'S GROUPS, esp. MARINE AVIATORS -

ANY LARGE FORMAT 5X7 OR LARGER IMAGES OF MARINE OFFICERS & AERO PILOTS

 

 

Collecting/Preserving/Researching WW1 Marine Corps Items and WW1 Aviation Items

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American pilots worked, trained and flew with Italian pilots after the armistice, fighting against the loyal fascists still allied with Germany in northern Italy. It is entirely possible they were given honorary Italian pilot wings. Somewhere out there is an excellent website article about htis, but darned if I can find it.

 

 

I am more confused with the discharge patch on an officers jacket?

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Guys,

Thanks for the input. Here is another Foggia pilot. He died before the war's end, so I know that these aren't post-war wings. The photos that I have of him do not show any wings on the sleeve. Now I assumed these were Italian, but could they be French wings? After training at Foggia, he was sent to Issodun for further training. All of the French wings that I am familier with are in a circle or wreath.

 

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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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In the late 1920's and 1930's the Italians began to glorify the Italian military, including the building of war memorials to WWI. I suspect that either your man participated in one of these dedications during the 1930's or was sent something by the Italians to commemorate his service during WWI. Then, it would be likely that they included a small Italian pilot wing to go with his medal.

 

I sometimes see similar keepsakes from US pilots who flew in China during the war. The Nationalist Chinese government would send out awards, certificates and small wings to the veterans, either because they asked or because of some anniversary or commemoration. Somewhere I have a small plaque, medal and wings that were sent to a guy who flew the Hump from the Chinese government as part of the 50th anniversary of WWII.

 

Just my theory.

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In the late 1920's and 1930's the Italians began to glorify the Italian military, including the building of war memorials to WWI. I suspect that either your man participated in one of these dedications during the 1930's or was sent something by the Italians to commemorate his service during WWI. Then, it would be likely that they included a small Italian pilot wing to go with his medal.

 

I sometimes see similar keepsakes from US pilots who flew in China during the war. The Nationalist Chinese government would send out awards, certificates and small wings to the veterans, either because they asked or because of some anniversary or commemoration. Somewhere I have a small plaque, medal and wings that were sent to a guy who flew the Hump from the Chinese government as part of the 50th anniversary of WWII.

 

Just my theory.

 

I think that is a good theory. Maybe part of the answer may lie in the National Unity medal. If this was made after the war, and provided to US vets, the wings may have been sent at the same time.

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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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Guys,

Thanks for the input. Here is another Foggia pilot. He died before the war's end, so I know that these aren't post-war wings. The photos that I have of him do not show any wings on the sleeve. Now I assumed these were Italian, but could they be French wings? After training at Foggia, he was sent to Issodun for further training. All of the French wings that I am familier with are in a circle or wreath.

 

post-203-1219003719.jpg

 

Very interesting picture.

The 'wings' on the yankee's pilot jaket is Italian not French.

Italian pilots respected the italian military rule - wings on the sleeve - but the allies officiers had more 'freedom' about.

Perhaps he had the wings on the poket to remember the US style.

Do you have others "Foggia-pilots" pics to show ?

Ciao

Max

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As long as we are on Italina stuff, anyone in here know about the Regia Aeronautica at the time of Balbo's mass-flight to the US in 1933? I am doing an illustration of the Atlantici.

 

From what I have been to find, ENLISTED aircrew MAY have worn nothing in the way of wings or brevet. This may have changed effective wih the 1935 uniform/insignia changes, but I cannot be sure.

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Very interesting picture.

The 'wings' on the yankee's pilot jaket is Italian not French.

Italian pilots respected the italian military rule - wings on the sleeve - but the allies officiers had more 'freedom' about.

Perhaps he had the wings on the poket to remember the US style.

Do you have others "Foggia-pilots" pics to show ?

Ciao

Max

 

Max, I agree, the wings on the American pilot are Italian, sans crown. I have several photographs with American pilots that flew in Italy with wings in diferent locations on thier uniorms. I also have in the same album, Italian pilots with wings sewn to one or both sleeves. There is also one with an Italian pilot with a large wing and prop sewn to the lt. sleeve. It is very similar to those the French wore on their sleeves early in the war. I will post these at some time on a new thread. We have gotten off track on your original question for sure, but it sure seems that there is a lot of speculation about WW1 Italian wings, esp. concerning where they were worn or style. There are several Navy pilot photos around that show both US and Italian wings being worn on each breast..

 

Dennis

"RETREAT HELL.....WE JUST GOT HERE"

 

LOOKING TO PURCHASE IDENTIFIED WW1 AVIATION GROUPINGS, INCLUDING MEDALS, UNIFORMS, STUDIO PHOTOS.

PURCHASE ANY AND ALL ID'ED WW1 NAVY CORPSMAN OR PHYSICIAN GROUPINGS; MEDALS &/or UNIFORMS.

WW1 USMC ID'ED OFFICER'S GROUPS, esp. MARINE AVIATORS -

ANY LARGE FORMAT 5X7 OR LARGER IMAGES OF MARINE OFFICERS & AERO PILOTS

 

 

Collecting/Preserving/Researching WW1 Marine Corps Items and WW1 Aviation Items

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Greetings -

This is my first posting, so I hope it is useful. I collect WWI aviation items. I am especially interested in Fogianni items as I became friends with the last surviving US pilot from the Foggia crowd back in the '90s: George Cronin. Some of his items are on display at NASM next to the case with Raoul Lufberry's French kepi. I enclose 2 photos I took of his Italian wings - showing front and back. There are 2 sizes of bullion Italian wings that they wore - the photos are of the larger size that were normally worn on the sleeve. George said the smaller versions were usually worn on the chest where US wings would be worn. George also had metal wings, however I am unable to find photos of these (all I have is a xerox in B&W).

 

Charlie W.

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Boy, am I glad I started this thread! Thank you to all that have shown the examples of Italian wings worn by US pilots. I wasn't quite sure where this thread was going to go when I sent the first post, but I never expected to see actual examples of the WWI wings or a photo of Italian wings being worn by a WWII aviator. You guys never cease to amaze me!

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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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  • 4 weeks later...

As I said in the other similar topic, the fascio was added to the pilot wings M1935 in 1937. This badge could be simply a WWII souvenir. On an italian ciollector site I found a couple of useful pics.

In the first pic n.2 and 3 are the M35 wings with fascio made by two different manufacturer.

The secon pic shows variations due to political changes:

n.5- M35 new made without fascio immediately after the july 1943 when fascism collapsed from inside

n.6- M35 with fascio and crown cut awzy in 1946 when Italy became republic

n.7- early m35 born without fascio wit crown cut away in 1946

n.8- M35 with fascio but with crown cut away in 1943 by fascist northern republic

n.9- New model wings made in 1943 by fascist northern republic

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  • 3 years later...

My father, Ist Lt A.G. Johnson, trained at Foggia, Italy in 1918. He completed Military Aeronautics training at Ohio State University in October 1917. While at flight training in Italy, he qualified as a Brevetted pilot and was granted the right to wear the Italian wings on both sleeves. He was assigned to Romorantin, France as a ferry pilot. He continued in the Reserve into the early 1920s. I have a photo of him in uniform, US pilot wings on chest. The Italian wing tips show on the sleeves, but I don't have a close-up. His uniforms disappeared during the Depression years. I have his "Libretto Personale Di Volo" from Battaglione Scuole Aviatori.

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Ed,

 

That's great! When you get a chance, would mind posting a photo(s)?

 

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

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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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Ed,

 

That's great! When you get a chance, would mind posting a photo(s)?

 

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

 

I will look for photos. I also have his AEF photo ID and all his wartime and post-war Air Corps Reserve orders and commendations.

 

FYI: He logged 97 training flights in Farman, Farman Colombo 110, Caudron, Nieuport 18 and 23 Meter. His first trip from "Romo" to Colomby was in Oct 1918 in a DH-4 Liberty Motor. He was assigned to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, War Damages in Allied Countries, Paris after the war. In March, 1919 he was transferred to Marseille and returned on the S/S Patria. Col. G.S. Patton, Jr., Tank Corps, was in command of the troops. He authorized service chevrons for my father. Patton made it well known he had little respect for flyers! Dad flew in the Air Service Reserve until 1924 in Kansas and Nebraska. He said once during that time he and some other flyers "buzzed" Patton's parade ground!

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Guys,

Thanks for the input. Here is another Foggia pilot. He died before the war's end, so I know that these aren't post-war wings. The photos that I have of him do not show any wings on the sleeve. Now I assumed these were Italian, but could they be French wings? After training at Foggia, he was sent to Issodun for further training. All of the French wings that I am familier with are in a circle or wreath.

 

post-203-1219003719.jpg

 

Beast,

Notice that he is not wearing the Crown above the eagle. Most American pilots that trained and flew with the Italians and were breveted wore only the eagle without crown. Attached are a couple pic of Lt. Earl Forsyth at Foggia, notice he is wearing the eagle only.

Terry

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  • 2 weeks later...

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