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World War One Weekly Wing #27

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World War One

Weekly Wing #27

Uncut French Made Wing

 

Background

 

We’ve noted since WWOWW 18, that the original badge for Junior and Reserve Military Aviator or Observer, was not officially authorized very long. Only 76 days elapsed between 15 August 1917 when the Army first officially authorized wing badges, and 27 October 1917 when the first major changes were published. After Colonel Bolling made his report to the War Department noting European practice of using half-wings exclusively for Observers the Army re-designated the existing half-wing with shield for its own Observer Airmen.  This change too was short-lived as on 29 December 1917, just over two months later, the Army replaced the shield on Observer half-wing badges with the gothic “O” likely inspired by the Royal Flying Corps.

 

Despite the rapid changes in regulations, there is ample photographic evidence that many Observers simply chose to wear the half wing with shield—apparently individually preferring it to the second type, Gothic “O” badge.

 

Associated Airfields:  Aerodromes in France

 

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Description

 

Manufacture. French made. Stereotypical to type. The single wing is characterized by three rows of roughly horizontal feathers, each picked out in two types of silver bullion.  Individual feathers are constructed with a rachis of one type of silver bullion (faceted) and vane a second (smooth) type to provide sparkle and contrast.  A fine silver bullion coil outlines the entire top and left edges, extending slightly beyond.

 

The shield chief on contains 10 small "stars," executed in an x-configuration, affixed atop a field of horizontal rows of fine, smooth bullion.  The lower field consists of vertical stripes also made from the same type of bullion. The chief and the lower field are separated by a bullion wire coil and the perimeter of the shield is bordered by coiled bullion wire. Overall the badge is well padded.

 

Finally, the US of this badge consists of fine gold bullion coils configured in a two-strand twisted helix with serifs.

 

Mountings.  This sew on badge has never been cut for wear.  There is a fine, tissue paper backing glued to the rear of the badge.  The tissue paper is coming loose and remains only lightly affixed.

 

Notes:  The badge came from a Paris tailor shop that went out of business in the last 10 years.  The shop’s owners had saved the badge, along with some miscellaneous insignia, since the First World War.  It is uncommon to find WW1 era bullion wing badges in such pristine condition; even uncut ones.  This badge, with almost no darkening and nearly all its original sparkle, gives modern collectors a rare glimpse of how handsome these badges looked during the period of their original wear.

 

Chris


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My only criticism is that the French maker only included ten stars.  That is not unique to this badge though and it is interesting to me how common it is to see WWI era badges with more or less than 13 stars.  Another incredibly beautiful badge Chris.


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Chris, thank you for posting another informative and well presented WWOWW thread! There's no doubt, you have dozens of fellow collectors logging onto this Forum every week specifically to read your next WWI wing installment! Please don't be at all discouraged by our lack of participation. Your posts frequently contain fresh solid information not presented in any other wing-related book or format! I mean, seriously, for the past thirty years, I've been spelling that wonderful little jewelry company in Memphis "Homrichous" until you proved to us the correct spelling is "Homrighous" without that damaged serif! 

 

The reality is you've taken the study of WWI USAS badges to a new level... and we're all benefiting!  Thank you for all of your efforts...

 

Russ  


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Gentlemen,

 

Thank you both sincerely for your heartfelt kindness!

 

We're over half-way there.  I have about 20 more planned out and the rest I'll figure out as I get to them.  My hope is that other collectors, after reading the WWOWW series; 1) find WW1 wings more "accessible" and 2) come away with having learned about this fascinating period of Aviation history.

 

Cheers!

 

Chris


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