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{style_image_url}/attachicon.gif 22201774228.jpgBill,

 

Here you go. It looks Italian made to me.  Sorry for the crappy pics, the lighting was horrible. The base material looks like it is a rose colored satin. The back side is definitely a reddish pink color.  

That is a beautiful 1ssf patch, very envious. Congrats on the find.

 

Sent from my XT1031 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Here is the one I picked up a long time ago which is an exact duplicate of this wing. Thanks to Eric Queen and Bill Scott for authenticating and identifying the type of SOE/OSS SF Wing.

 

Interesting piece as are the others similarly posted. It does look as though this example began life as an RAF wing, having the crown removed. The S.F. roundel covering the the letters RAF and the surrounding wreath. It looks as though a small portion of brown wreath is still visible at the 10 o'clock position. Is there any photographic examples of this type in use?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a response to the SOE/OSS SF wing.

 

One identical to the one illustrated, with the elevated period following the S of SF, was shown to me back in the late 1980s, and is illustrated in my 1988 Trading Post article on the SF wing, by a retired colonel who was OSS Liaison to the 492d Bombardment Group that supported the OSS as part of the so-called Carpetbagger Operations. He acquired this wing as a private purchase from a London tailor shop - indeed, he still had the receipt, which he showed me. I gathered that the wing was among a number of insignia the shop made and that were on display for purchase.

 

As for these wings having been worn by RAF aircrew, I hoped that I might have put that claim to rest in my 1991 Trading Post article “RAF Special Duties Operations and the RAF/SF Wing Hoax.” Unfortunately, that article was 13 pages in length, long on text and short on photos, and probably was read in its entirety by no more than a half dozen collectors. The article was written in response to the claim that the the SF wing was worn by aircrew of the RAF's Nos. 138 and 161 Special Duties Squadrons supporting SOE from RAF Tempsford, and that the wings were worn there before the OSS had much of a presence in England. In writing my article, I was put in touch with two former commanding officers of the squadrons, the two SOE officers who served as liaisons to the Squadrons, and many - I mean many - former aircrew of the squadrons. All said the SF wing was never worn by RAF personnel in these squadrons and never would have been because of (1) the RAF’s strict uniform regs and (2) the need to cloak their activities in absolute secrecy, a task need that would have been compromised by the wearing of a special insignia. As one veteran of the squadrons put it (I paraphrase his comment), “it would have been foolish for aircrew to have worn an insignia that would have singled them out for special interrogation if shot down on enemy territory.” I find it difficult to believe that these reasons for the SF wing not having been worn by RAF aircrew would have applied only to Nos. 138 and 161 Squadrons.

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Thank you Les for clarifying that. It looks like both Bill and I were under the impression these were worn by support personnel. I wasn't collecting US items when you wrote your articles so unfortunately I have not seen them. Now that I am a member of ASMIC I will go back and read the archived copies on line.

 

So, in summary, would it be accurate to say that these wings are simply a variation of the standard SF wing (English made, most likely in small numbers, worn only by actual OSS personnel)?

 

Thank you sir.

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Les,

 

After reading your article which appeared in the JUL/SEP 1988 issue of the Trading Post I see that perhaps I misunderstood your post here. You say above the man was an "OSS liaison to the 492nd Bombardment Group" which I took to mean he was OSS personnel. Your article states that the wing was purchased by an USAAF officer. I am just trying to understand who this wing was intended for. Thank you.

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Hi, Eric. He was certainly OSS, and given his assignment with the Bomb Group, probably USAAF as well. If you have my email address, contact me and I will give you his name. I suspect the wing with the elevated period after the S, which Scotty illustrates above, may have been his.

 

I believe the so-called RAF SF wings were only worn by OSS or SOE personnel, although anyone may have been able to purchase one privately. If I were to speculate on the origin of these “RAF” versions, it would go something like this. Someone in the OSS or SOE who was familiar with the wing and who may have been authorized to wear one but who did not have one, sought to have one made privately by a tailor shop that produced such things on request. In response to his description of the SF wing, the shop person showed him an RAF wing and said, do you mean something like this? Yes, he responded, but without the crown and with a red circle with the initials SF in lieu of the wreath and RAF. The shop produced the ones requested and a few extras for display, should others want one. That is simply a guess on my part, but not, I think, an unreasonable one.

 

I am aware of two books that identify this type of SF wing as an RAF aircrew or pilot’s badge. These books, and books like them, cover a very broad topic, typically worldwide badges of a particular type or of several nations. While such books can be a valuable reference for collectors, their breadth has an inherent weakness: the author is virtually never an expert in all aspects of the subject, and he invariably must rely on others for some of his material and information. And in doing so, incorrect information creeps into the final product.

 

It is difficult for me to convey in summary form how bizarre was the episode to which I refer, but I will try to do so. In response to an article of mine citing an origin of the SF wing as having been a contest to select an insignia for the Jedburghs that was held at their facility at Peterborough (a contest attested to by two people who were there), a fellow wrote an article aimed directed at mine in which he claimed the SF wing had arisen, long before the Jeds, among RAF personnel of Nos. 138 and 161 Squadrons supporting SOE from RAF Tempsford. The article really irritated me, not just because I felt that the author, not I, was wrong, but also because of his condescension. The basis of his claim was a letter from a veteran of No. 138 Squadron who stated the SF wing was in use in the squadron when he arrived there in June 1943, and he described how they were just a modification of the RAF pilot’s wing. The author did not simply quote from the letter, a copy of it occupied two full pages of the article. It was clear from comments in the letter that its writer and the author of the article knew one another, because the letter closed with comments about the writer’s business, which I took to be a pub, and he asked if the author would be visiting in the spring. The name and address of the writer of the letter, to whom I shall refer as the mystery RAF vet, had been redacted, but not the date or the village in which he lived.

 

I set out to explore the claims of the letter. Among the individuals I was put in touch with was Ken Merrick, author of the book Flights of the Forgotten: Special Duties Operations in World War Two (Weidenfield Military, 1989). Ken gave me the names and addresses of the RAF veterans of Nos. 138 and 161 Squadrons whom he had interviewed for his book, and I wrote to them all. I included a copy of the mystery RAF vet’s letter, and I asked their opinion. I fully expected to hear something along the line of “yes, we wore the insignia in question, but not until later than stated in the letter.” To my amazement, their unanimous response was basically “the letter is utter nonsense!” All emphasized the RAF’s stringent uniform regulations and the extraordinary security that surrounded what they did. And several pointed out terms and phrases of the mystery RAF vet that, in their opinion, no one who actually had served in the squadron would have used. That really got my interest up.

 

The village in Somerset County, England, in which the mystery RAF vet lived was quite small, so in an effort to find someone locally who might be able to help me identify him, I telephoned the offices of the Church of England in Exeter and asked for the name of the vicar nearest the village in question. The local vicar passed me to a long-term resident of the village, who said the person in question undoubtedly must be the former operator of the village’s only pub, who had long ago sold the pub and moved away, and who now, she believed, was deceased. But she provided me with the telephone number of the man’s daughter, whom I called. The daughter confirmed that her father had served in the RAF. In what squadron, I asked. I don’t know, she responded, would you like to ask him? Pause. You mean he’s alive? He was, and I telephoned him. Her father readily answered my question: I was in 462 Squadron, he said, it was actually an Australian unit. He had no idea what an SF wing was.

 

I concluded that the letter from the mystery RAF vet was as bogus as a three-dollar bill. In the past year or two I have revisited all of the claims made by the author of the article in question, and I believe I can make a case for each of them being false. Caveat emptor.

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  • 2 months later...

 

Army Postal Service, thanks to Bondo-Bob for posting

 

The shield insignia is not the "Army Postal Service" as indicated. The shield is for the Army Adjutant General's Corps, to which the Army Postal Service is assigned. See attachment. We pubbed info on a unit in the JM 1974 Trading Post w/ the explanation. Not every Army postal unit wore the AGC patch, either. There are tabs for BPOs (Base Post Office), worn with major commands. Even the Army postal GIs wore what they could get away with. (This misID is an example of how errors in ID get started).

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Here are some of my WW II and occupation APU insignia

 

L - 7th Base Post Office R - 305th Army Postal Unit B - 2nd Base Post Office Co (5th Army unit)

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Thats cool. Ive only seen Vietnam Army Postal Unit patches.

 

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My favorite is an APU patch that says "Mr. Zip's Dear John Express" with whatever unit it is. I just forget the unit...It has the Mr. Zip figure and his mail bag....

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