Jump to content

shelter in place attic find - Eagle Squadron

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 130
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic


The situation confronting  33 Squadron before, during and after Max’s time appears to be well documented including the book that Bob Miller sent to him. (photo) 

When I looked at the cover again, recently, I noticed that the pair of goggles Lance is wearing while standing by his Spitfire is very similar to the pair I have from Max’s trunk. (photo )

Lance Wade wearing the same googles as Max's  copy.jpg


Link to post
Share on other sites

I previously thought they might be his Canada/ England  pair, but, looking again at these photos and the F/O Maxwell on his strap,

I see in his log that he ends signing George S. Maxwell P/O on Oct. 31 1942.

He then starts using F/O in his November entry.

I would like to think that he acquired this pair upon the promotion to Flight Lieutenant in Nov. 1942, and may have only flown with them for two months before he switches to the newer ones when he transfers over to USAAF in January of1943.

We also found these extra lenses for that newer pair of goggles, wrapped up with a Cairo hotel card.


IMG_1173 (1) copy 2.jpg

IMG_1174 (1) copy.jpg

thumbnail-2 copy 2.jpg

IMG_1272 copy.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

33 Squadron continued: 

After the war, Max wrote a short story about a close call on a mission which occurred in October of 1942. 

It was for an English extension class at UC Berkeley. He received an A.

In it, he recounts how he is separated from his squad after a coastal staffing mission, and finds himself alone, being hunted down by German fighters. 

The message of the tale is that in the milliseconds that determined his fate he was saved by acting not thinking, and he credits this to his excellent training in the RCAF/RAF. 

The story does match the log entries for staffing in Oct. 


Here are some excerpts:

“…I was as vulnerable as a fighter pilot could be:

the sun was at my back; I was alone; I had sacrificed the fighters’ two most precious commodities, speed and altitude, in my strafing run…”

“…when the first burst of glowing tracers arched across my cockpit canopy and began gnawing busily at my left wingtip. I became, momentarily, a creature of conditioned reflexes. “No conscious thought directed my hand as it flew to my helmet and yanked the goggles over my eyes, nor was it necessary for me to think of the correct evasive tactics, since the aircraft, seemingly of its own volition, snapped into a blackout-inducing turn toward my attacker. Before the tightening arc of my turn could force the German to break off his attack, he lowered his sights and sent his deadly symbols of Nazi ambition crashing through and around my cockpit. I was thankful for the protection of my goggles as the shattering instruments filled the cockpit with shards of sight-destroying glass, and a severed hydraulic line sprayed it’s burning mixture in my face…”

“Sorry though my performance may have been, the experience removed forever the gnawing fear that I might panic when confronted by an emergency. Though disjointed at times, my thinking had been calm and all-inclusive: I had remembered my training and it, in turn, had paid off with my life.”


 When Max reenlisted he was training pilots.  One wonders if this storied event might have been the genesis of that path.


The other tale about his time in 33 Squadron is not from Max but from his daughter, who upon finding two letters in the attic pile, recognized them as being from Henri, a French Vicomte, writing on his family’s letterhead of the famous parfumerie, House of Guerlain, who would show up at the house showering everyone with presents and regale all about the time he found Max lost in the desert and how he got him to safety. I did get a story from Max about him volunteering for a night mission and getting lost, but I don’t remember the details. So, Please excuse me if I go with this “Casablanca-like”  movie ending, as he at least crosses paths with that city in future service logs. (photo1)


Apparently 33 Squadron liked to fly captured planes. In his service record of planes flown, Max lists a Messerschmitt 109 and a Macchi 200.  (photo 2)



henri.the Vicomte.jpeg

aircrraft flown.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only 3 photos of Max in 33 Squadron.

This group photo is dated Oct.1942.

Max is far left, second row.

That looks like it might be Lance Wade center top, but if it is, it must be early Oct., as Lance is being sent back to the states about that time.

Does anyone know of this photo that also lists their names?

Max is wearing the same British Battledress tunic that we see in his officer ID card, taken a month later, and he seems to have the same epaulets on his shoulders in each.

33 egypt 10:42 under Lance wade center top.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is certainly interesting to see how these RCAF/RAF pilots’ personalities come to the fore in the desert.

Each has a distinctive casual style and flare. Max’s preference for a rakish upturned jacket collar is no exception as it visually echos his RCAF brevet.

Here are the three photos of Max in 33 (photo 1)

Left to right: 

October group shot,    November ID card,    December on the camel before he transfers to USAAF

Looking at uniforms:

He seems to have the same style epaulet on the Khaki uniform as the darker (blue?) Battledress tunic.  

I assume these are all P/O identifiers. 

Philip Caine has Max promoted to Flying Officer on 9/13 /1942, but in his flying log Max is still signing off as P/O until November.

Photo #2  is our uniform #3.  

Does the fact that the stripe on the uniform is to the bottom rather than the middle of the epaulet have any significance? 

Does the fact that uniform #3 has epaulets and the other two, that I have from England and Canada do not,  have any significance?

(photo 2)

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 3.32.25 PM copy.jpg

5khaki BD shoulder copy.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites


We are still enjoying your posts and enjoying getting to see the additional items that you are sharing with us, whether it is a log book, ID, card, uniforms, etc., it is still a lot of fun to look at!

Let's see if I can answer your questions. Starting with the rank on his Battle Dress (BD) jacket. It is quite possible that the rank loops on the shoulder straps of the BD and the bush jacket are the same and have just been moved from one jacket to the other. You should note that the loops are actually quite wide, maybe 2" wide with the rank stripe in the center, where the loop on the bush jacket that you have is much more narrow. It is difficult to discern whether the loop on the bush jacket in your possession is for Pilot Officer of Flight Officer as the only difference between the two is the width of the stripe. Also, it appears to me that the bush jacket in the top photo is made with short sleeves, bit I think that the jacket you have in the bottom photo has long sleeves? It does not look to me like the sleeves are rolled up in the top photo.


I would imagine that Max's date of rank is as Philip Caine reported it. Max was probably still using "P/O" well after the fact because the promotion had probably not been communicated down to his unit while he was using this rank notation. This happened a lot in WWII and even fifty years after WWII! I spent many years as a US Army 1st Lieutenant. I saw a peer promoted and got to call him "sir" because he made captain before I did. Eventually, I got my promotion orders to Captain and my date of rank was a full 18 months prior to the promotion order. I was suddenly senior to that peer! Thee good news for me is that I got a rather hefty paycheck when all of the back pay hit. I would assume that Mx also got a nice payday when his promotion caught up to him.



Never under-estimate the power of prayer.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Allen ,


I, too, had sadly come to the conclusion that the “bush” jacket that Max is wearing astride the camel is not the outfit I have, and was about to announce that in my next posts about our Khaki uniform. I had even tried rolling the sleeves up and muddying up the photo of it to compare, but as you can see, that would be preposterous.  (photo)


The jacket he is wearing is short-sleeved, and I would venture that it is not lined.

Ours is fully lined.

But, interestingly, the camel jacket also appears to have brass buttons and a waist belt, as do all three of our uniforms.


Meanwhile, your story of delayed communication of promotions has me thinking there might be more to the story of why Max decided to transfer out of the 33 to the USAAF. 

He told Phillip Cane that he decided to transfer when the 33 was moved from actual combat duty to convoy patrol over the Mediterranean sea. The convoys started happening in the log on in December 2, and Cain says he relinquished his commission on 1/10/1943. That sounds very Max-like, ie, things were  not moving fast enough for his liking. His log has him leaving 33 on 30/12/42 , and then going to H.Q. Cairo Egypt. (I’m assuming that it is RAF H.Q., as he uses the European standard, day/month/year for that notation) until he joins the 86th on 1/23/43, flipping his calendar notations to month/day/year for the remainder of this log book. 

It is just speculation on my part, not knowing how the process would have taken place. Who would he have contacted first? The RCAF or the USAAF? And how long that would take?  But, the thought is, his decision to transfer might have been helped along by the tardy promotion.  I also mention it because this is how he ends his military career.  Basically, in his opinion the Air Force was moving too slow to make him a general.  After I saw your post, I asked my wife if he might have quit while the promotion was already in progress, and she said absolutely! Everyone was telling him that it was a done deal and to just chill.  But, that would have just been Max being true to himself - right turn, pedal to the metal!

khaki mock up.jpg

service record4 copy 2.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting comparison you made with the goggles.


They are indeed the same and kudos to you for spotting that.

Love it!


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 8:47 AM, soninlaw71 said:

They looked very primitive to me too.

They hinge in the middle.

I don't have his 'stache,

But I hope this help to clarify.

Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 11.33.42 AM.png


Those look very much like my Grandfathers English hinged flying goggles which are attached to his leather flying helmet.  Among many other things, he was a bush pilot for Goodyear Rubber in Ceylon, Malaya & Costa Rica from 1928 to 1945 and would wear them while searching for natural rubber groves in the jungles.  He probably got them in Singapore.  I'll post some photos for comparisons sake when I come across them.


Link to post
Share on other sites

The mysteries of uniform #3:



First, as much as I would like to be able to say that our uniform #3 is the one Max is wearing while aside the camel, as Allen has already pointed out …..      ….. it is not.                        *By the way, the pilot to the left of Max in the camel photo is George Turvey of Toronto, Canada.


These are the pants of our uniform #3.  (photo 1)


I am a bit mystified by what Im looking at.


His name is printed twice, possibly because, without the pin the lining pops up and covers the upper name. If that is the case, I would venture a guess that the top name was put in first. The  bottom signature appears to be also in his hand, but there is a larger C or L shaped mark in front of his G. Maxwell. 

These other markings seem to be not in his hand, and placed far enough away from his G., and also bigger than the G. 




Could it be part of the sequence below his name?  To read :      4 h 707.2


Could this be a tailor’s mark ?


Trying to guess the where and when of our uniform #3 :


So far I have not found a photo of Max wearing uniform #3.


I could venture some guesses that his British Battle Dress tunic on his ID photo and his khaki bush outfit astride the camel,

were purchased in Cairo at our old friends the ABADI BROTHERS.  


Their card was in his wallet after all.


Is it possible he also purchased this light weight tailored Khaki wool uniform in Cairo?


I think a case could be made for that. 


He was in Cairo, with 36 days before his service record puts him in 243 Wing Base, Kilo 8.  

Considering that Cairo must have been one of the most exotic watering holes that he had ever landed in, I would think that 36 days was more than enough time for a fashion conscious, young man like Max to realize he needed a “Cairo” appropriate upgrade.


It is a much lighter weight suit than the tailored Canadian and London made blue barathea wool uniforms, cut a little wider across the chest than the blue ones and an inch shorter pant leg to accommodate the reddish leather boots that left their mark on the inside pant leg cuffs. 


With the information I have, I see two possible origins for uniform #3:     England, or Cairo. 


If it’s England, then he knew what he was in for, temperature wise, and bought it before he left. Possibly, he put one or both of the others in storage before leavIng.

But where is the label?   There are no labels of any kind on the pants or top. 

Also, the fact that we have a picture of Max and friends, hauling around a full length winter pea coat in the middle of Africa has me questioning the purchase previous to the trek. 


Does the brevet give any clues?    (Photo 2)


George St. Maur Maxwell,  uniform #3


Uniform #2 is a tailored jacket and one pair of straight back (“modern style”) pleated button-fly pants.

There is no store, maker label or date on the garment.

The pants bear the moniker of G. Maxwell, which George St. Maur Maxwell has placed on many of his RCAF items.

I believe the uniform was made in 1942, possibly in Cairo Egypt, (awaiting more information).

Material: Khaki wool. The jacket lining is a solid color with more sheen than the Canadian jacket.  The arms are lined with a light white/light brown striped rayon.

The RCAF chest wing brevet is attached. The shoulders have epaulets with a single white stripe. There are no arm patches. 

The hardware on the uniform includes brass buttons and belt buckle; composite pant buttons.


Using: https://propercloth.com/reference/measure-tailored-suit-jackets-sport-coats/

The rough jacket measurements are:

Top back shoulder 17”

Chest 18” 

Middle 16 1/2”

Back  28”

Arm 23 1/2”

The pants measure 29”/30” waist, 31” length


It is certainly tailored specifically for him.  There is a possible tailor's mark on the pant pocket lining (awaiting more information)



This uniform had extensive use. It still looks good but under inspection there is some damage. It was cleaned and pressed some time ago, It is currently need of steaming and pressing. 

The bottom button of the jacket is missing as are the top and bottom buttons on the fly. There is some underarm perspiration staining as well as on the pant waist lining.

There is no wear on the hems of the jacket, but one pant leg is showing a spot of wear at the hem. There is some reddish/tan discoloration, probably caused by boots, on the inside pant hems. The jacket has one small moth hole on the back, above the waist belt, and one small 1/8” probably removable stain below the bottom pocket. There appears to be no ghosting or hint of any former arm patches having been removed.  The pants have no stains or tears, but they have 3 or 4 very small moth holes in the bottom crotch area and 3 or 4 pulls or tiny repairs.


In general, considering he wore this uniform in the desert during WW2, it looks really good!

(Photos 1-11)



1 khaki p ants C G. 4h707-2 Maxwell copy.jpg

IMG_0591 copy 2.jpg

1khaki wool bd 1 copy.jpg

2khaki wool BD back.jpg


4khaki wool top copy.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

It just keeps getting better and better doesn't it? I would seriously doubt that the bush jacket and trousers are English made. I would bet the paycheck that they were tailored in Cairo as you supposed. I would base this assumption on 1) Max wouldn't have known what to order before getting to his eventual destination and it would have also meant adding it to his baggage which he was probably going to have to carry himself from time to time. 2) the RCAF pilot brevet is what I would call "CBI made," but it was most likely hand embroidered in Cairo rather than China, Burma, or India.

Max would most likely have had two bush uniforms because of the extreme temperature differences that one experiences in the desert. In the winter, it gets darned cold there. Many of the British soldiers of the 8th Army who went ashore in North Africa wearing "shirtsleeve order" with shorts instead of trousers, suffered terribly as they endured the freezing temperatures. Yes, the heat in the summer is legendary, and rightfully so, but the cold is one thing that surprises those who aren't prepared for it.

My bet on the numbers below Max's name in the trousers are either tailor's notations or laundry notations for whomever Max was paying to clean his uniforms.

Special Note- the buttons on the bush jacket are RAF vice RCAF. Max and his tailor used what was available.



Never under-estimate the power of prayer.



Link to post
Share on other sites



 Thanks again for all your notes !

Especially about the buttons. 

Often, I find, when you look at something enough times, you are no longer able to see it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are two hats:


Hat #1 is Max’s RCAF hat.

Unfortunately, it has not fared well, as it is misshapen; rather tatty and moth-eaten. Is the embroidered patch also a brevet?


I am very confident that this is the hat he was wearing while astride the camel. 

The camel picture was taken during his time in Cairo, while awaiting his transfer. At this point in time, he would not be buying a new hat, and in the picture, it already looks as if it is slightly misshapen. Max is also sporting the beginnings of a mustache.


Hat #2 

This flat beret has no tag and looks as if it was never worn.  It still has its form ring in it. What could this be?





Max 1, on left pilot george Turvey at pryamids 42 copy.jpg



Link to post
Share on other sites

That hat might be my favorite part of the group...it really has the salty "been there, seen that" look! 

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



Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree Dave! That had is REALLY amazing. I'm sure the that it has "been there" and "done that."


The insignia on the cap is the insignia of the Royal Air Force and was worn by officers up until 1952. The term "brevet" is what the RAF and commonwealth use when referring to what we call "wings," so, no, the insignia is not a brevet.



Never under-estimate the power of prayer.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Two items:


This tie was in with the uniforms. There is no tag.


Since the RCAF required  proper attire of their Pilot Officers, would they have specified a particular tie type or color? 

If so, does this tie fit the protocol?


This pair of blue corduroy jodhpurs was also in with the other uniforms. 

It is cleaned and pressed and seems to have been worn only briefly.  It has a USA manufacturing label.  Could these be part of anyones uniform doing the war? 

Any thoughts? 


thumbntie2 ail-5.jpg



back .jpg


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.