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IMPERIAL QUEST

WW I Wings that were actually in Theater

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Hi all,

 

From some of my other postings recently, you may have read about my loooooong, unsatisfied passion for a WWI wing in my collection. I have been thinking really hard about which "type" or "style" to get as I can only afford ONE. My question is this: is there a certain type of wing that has a better chance or more likely to have been worn upon the chest of a flyer in Europe during WWI?

 

I realize that unless you have a documented grouping with photos and other evidence, it is impossible to know for sure. As far as the bullion wings, were these more likely to have been made somewhere in Europe unlike the Dallas type wings that seem to be fairly plentiful?

 

I also realize that many wings were probably purchased in the US before the flyer left for overseas. Was there a prefered type amongst overseas pilots? Please forgive my question if it seems somewhat naive, but I am just trying to choose the right wing for my collection, one which has the best chance of actually being there...any hep or input is appreciated.

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HI Steve,

 

This is a good question and one that is not so easy to answer 100%. I would first direct you to a book called "Wings of Honor" by J. Sloan. It does a great job of documenting the WWI pilots who were actually flying in France and Italy. Lots of nice photos, and in many cases you can see the wings that they were wearing in the field. Some of the photos are easy to see the wings, others not so much. Still, you get a pretty good idea of the range of things available to the pilots who were in theater.

 

Be smart and invest in what YOU like.

 

Patrick

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HI Steve,

 

This is a good question and one that is not so easy to answer 100%. I would first direct you to a book called "Wings of Honor" by J. Sloan. It does a great job of documenting the WWI pilots who were actually flying in France and Italy. Lots of nice photos, and in many cases you can see the wings that they were wearing in the field. Some of the photos are easy to see the wings, others not so much. Still, you get a pretty good idea of the range of things available to the pilots who were in theater.

 

Be smart and invest in what YOU like.

 

Patrick

 

 

Thanks Patrick, I'll see about getting that book. I think I am getting very close to having the necessary funding and contacts to get a wing. Fortunately, I have had you, John Cooper, Joe ***************, cwnorma (Chris), Belleauwood (Dennis), and Ron Burkey very kindly offering help and advice. If I can't get a good wing with that line up, well...it will be my own fault :lol: .

 

I know I can't be sure if the wing I get has been "over there" or "up there", but the sentimentalist part of me is prompting the questions above nonetheless. Right now, I am considering a Dallas, Halthom, or a bullion pin back. I really like the padded bullion examples with the pin back fixture. They are very beautiful and HUGE. As nice as some of the "shirt size" examples are, I just don't think I will be satisfied with anything other than a full size wing. I am getting close, and I certainly don't want my 20 year dream to be a disappointment when a wing finally arrives at my door. I will as you say, be smart. ;)

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Steve,

 

Just a warning...it won't be enough! Once you get a Dallas wing, soon you will want a bullion wing to sit next to it. Then you will hear the call of an Eisenstad or Haltom demanding equal time. Get an all metal wing and you will want a bullion pinback wing. Once you have that, you will want a 1/2 wing, an observer wing, maybe a balloon wing, it never ends.

 

Good luck, and keep us informed.

 

P

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Steve,

 

Just a warning...it won't be enough! Once you get a Dallas wing, soon you will want a bullion wing to sit next to it. Then you will hear the call of an Eisenstad or Haltom demanding equal time. Get an all metal wing and you will want a bullion pinback wing. Once you have that, you will want a 1/2 wing, an observer wing, maybe a balloon wing, it never ends.

 

Good luck, and keep us informed.

 

P

 

I enjoy following these wing threads... some good education here and Patrick is right - as with us EGA collector's, "it never ends"



The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps. (General A. A. Vandegrift, USMC, 5 May 1946)

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You guys are killing me :blink: . I can just see my collection a couple of years from now.....I walk into my study and see complete emptiness.....except for a central pedestal containing 5 or 6 WWI wings bathed in a bright light (non-halogen and non-fluorescent of course) from above. :lol:

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You guys are killing me :blink: . I can just see my collection a couple of years from now.....I walk into my study and see complete emptiness.....except for a central pedestal containing 5 or 6 WWI wings bathed in a bright light (non-halogen and non-fluorescent of course) from above. :lol:

 

.....and your first thought will be, "Darn, I think I have a spot right there for one of those rare WWI bomber wings!"

 

Best thing to do is let the professionals handle this situation. Put the wings down and walk away slowly. :lol:

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.....and your first thought will be, "Darn, I think I have a spot right there for one of those rare WWI bomber wings!"

 

Best thing to do is let the professionals handle this situation. Put the wings down and walk away slowly. :lol:

 

 

Yea, I need to inherit some money. :lol:

 

Everyone has a collecting "dream". Mine has always been to find a beautiful rare wing for almost nothing at a flea market or yard sale. Well, it happened recently, but not to me.

 

There was a beautiful set of Eisenstadt wings on eBay about a month ago. I e-mailed the seller for specifics on acquisition. To my complete befuddlement, the seller told me that they had no idea about what they really were and get this....ready......they bought them at a yard sale for $5.00. pinch.gif I promptly offered $950.00 cash (as that was all I could afford). Sadly, I never heard back from them and they sold for $1650.00 (also a steal). I am still crying over that one. crying.gif

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Wings, EGA's, Uniforms, Helmets, Garands, Purple Hearts(Post Humus), Gallantry Medals, etc.etc.... It's all an evil addiction with no sign of deliverance for any of us! pinch.gif


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Everyone has a collecting "dream". Mine has always been to find a beautiful rare wing for almost nothing at a flea market or yard sale. Well, it happened recently, but not to me.

 

Ah, flea marekts..I got my Shreve style wing for 45$ at the flea market! I had bought a wing from a jewelry dealer and asked if he had any other wings. He said he had one at home, but "it was a bit different, it had a gold "US" on the front". He also said he thought the US was real gold, so he would want a bit more for them...about 45$. Well, you can imagine, I said I was interested and asked him to bring them to the next show. For some reason, it took almost 6 months (he missed a show, I missed some shows, he forgot, etc). I had finally consoled myself that it wasn't going to happen, but I would go talk to him one last time. I got to his booth and he said "Hey, someone offered me $1000 for those wings!" My heart sank, and I thought DAMN-IT! someone either bought them OR told him the value and I would have to pay more than that. It must have shown on my face, and he laughed and said, "I am just kidding, here they are". In a little sandwich bag he had 2 wing, the WWI and another WWII pilot wing. He said "I want 35$ for the one and 45$ for the other." I was so elated, I couldnt even add the amounts in my head and just about tore the seat out of my jeans to get my wallet out.

 

Trust me, it happens! Do not underestimate the amount of stuff still out there being sold for peanuts. I have two rare CNAC wings, one was actually pinned on a GI Joe doll, and I bought if for 10$ and the other was in some scrap silver being sold by a silver dealer for 35$. I got my WWI USN wing out of a shoe box for 5$. It just takes patience.

 

Patrick

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I bought these off the widow back in the early 80's..His name was Kermit.. Don't have his last name.. This was all she had..He was in France in late 1917 and came back early 1919. She was re-married, so I don't know his last name..I was just a kid then, so I never thought to ask more. I have one of the collar winged props somewhere, but I don't know where I put it..The bullion recon wings were made overseas. They originally had 2 small screws on the back. 1 was broken off and he put a small nail in it's place. At least a couple ideas/variations to think about. This came from the little flea market they had at the local high school..I gave a dollar for the wings on saterday, asked if she had more, and she brought the other in sunday and she told me the rest..She told me the wings were her husband's saterday.. The rest of the stuff was $4 so I got all of it for $5..

 

Fins.

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That wasn't friendly fire.. If I was being 'friendly', I wouldn't have fired at them!!!

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I'm sure most folks know the following but in addressing the question of the thread, it's good to remember that the August 15, 1917 specifications called for the Military Aviator wing badge to be "Two silver embroidered wings on blue background, three inches tip to tip; each wingshall be one and one-eighth inches long and three-quarters inch wide at the center ends; shield three-quarters inch high and five-eights inch wide with the letters US one-quarter inch high in the center below the horizontal cross lines". The type of material was not specified and it is believed that silk was intended but silver wire soon became the norm.

Initially sewn to the uniform, their durabilty was not good. Soon the embroidered wings were being sewn to metal plates for pinning to the uniform and quickly, some enterprising aviator had a false-embroidered pin-back sterling wing made and then, the idea making total sense, many jewelers started producing numerous varieties of the non-regulation wing badges that collectors now lust after.

If I were looking for a 'wing that might have been Over There' I'd put my money in a regulation embroidered piece. The War Dept did not authorize 'silver wings' until 21 Dec. 1918. I think the majority of Aviators that finished training and made it to France wore the Regulation Wing badges constructed of silver wire.

My 2-Cents.......Bobgee


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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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Initially sewn to the uniform, their durabilty was not good. Soon the embroidered wings were being sewn to metal plates for pinning to the uniform.

My 2-Cents.......Bobgee

 

Those are exactly how the R wings are made. The wings are on a dark blue wool and the back piece is seperate.. They cover a brass plate with the screw posts attatched with silver solder..I remember that from restitching the edge the vet had put the nail on..The remains of the post were still there.

 

Fins.


That wasn't friendly fire.. If I was being 'friendly', I wouldn't have fired at them!!!

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I'm sure most folks know the following but in addressing the question of the thread, it's good to remember that the August 15, 1917 specifications called for the Military Aviator wing badge to be "Two silver embroidered wings on blue background, three inches tip to tip; each wingshall be one and one-eighth inches long and three-quarters inch wide at the center ends; shield three-quarters inch high and five-eights inch wide with the letters US one-quarter inch high in the center below the horizontal cross lines". The type of material was not specified and it is believed that silk was intended but silver wire soon became the norm.

Initially sewn to the uniform, their durabilty was not good. Soon the embroidered wings were being sewn to metal plates for pinning to the uniform and quickly, some enterprising aviator had a false-embroidered pin-back sterling wing made and then, the idea making total sense, many jewelers started producing numerous varieties of the non-regulation wing badges that collectors now lust after.

If I were looking for a 'wing that might have been Over There' I'd put my money in a regulation embroidered piece. The War Dept did not authorize 'silver wings' until 21 Dec. 1918. I think the majority of Aviators that finished training and made it to France wore the Regulation Wing badges constructed of silver wire.

My 2-Cents.......Bobgee

 

 

Thank you Bob very much. This is excellent information and just what I needed...embroidered wing it is for me...

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Those are exactly how the R wings are made. The wings are on a dark blue wool and the back piece is seperate.. They cover a brass plate with the screw posts attatched with silver solder..I remember that from restitching the edge the vet had put the nail on..The remains of the post were still there.

 

Fins.

 

 

Hi,

 

Fantastic find and group. Thank you for posting. ;)

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These seem to fit Bob's informational description. They are 3'' across.

 

 

IMHO - These look like a nice pair of Vintage Regulation wings to me. If you've got 'em, Congrats! If not get 'em if you can.

Bobgee


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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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Here's just the wings front and back.. Sorry for the bad scan.. My digital is even worse.. The back piece is shaped like the front and sewn at the edges.. it didn't show up in the picture.

 

Fins.

post-4106-1222733757.jpg

post-4106-1222733762.jpg


That wasn't friendly fire.. If I was being 'friendly', I wouldn't have fired at them!!!

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Here's just the wings front and back.. Sorry for the bad scan.. My digital is even worse.. The back piece is shaped like the front and sewn at the edges.. it didn't show up in the picture.

 

Fins.

 

 

Looks like a quality wing. Thanks for the additional scans. ;)

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How about these that are on Andrew Jackson MacElroy's english made uniform? thumbsup.gif

 

Dave

MACELROYWING.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Or these from LT Howard Eales, 91st Aero Squadron...

EALES11.jpg


Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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How about these that are on Andrew Jackson MacElroy's english made uniform? thumbsup.gif

 

Dave

 

Wow Dave....excuse me while I jeal0001.gif on myself. Am I the only one that doesn't have a WWI wing???? :lol: Seriously, thanks for posting. thumbsup.gif

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Steve I havea few doz fi you need one or two... I also have a bridge for sale J\K. I am in the same boat mostly because I focus on 1919-1945 or so... As we has discussed some WW1 wings would be nice... so we are in the same boat my friend!

 

 

BTW some nice things have been posted... the photo in the earlier post is very nice.

 

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Steve,

 

No, you're not! I've been at this close to 50 years and always said to myself "Those (wing name/design here) are beautiful, but I can pick up 4 groups for the price of one wing. Well, I drifted in and out of the hobby and can no longer afford a set, unless by chance I stumble on one! So, no, you aren't!!!!! crybaby.gif

 

John

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Well, at least I am somewhat glad that I am not the ONLY one without...misery loves company :lol: . However, maybe this will change soon w00t.gif I am considering a purchase from Ron of Flying Tiger Antiques. Ron's reputation is impeccible, and I think this is a fine example. We are in the process of discussing the specifics of purchase of a bullion pin back wing.

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