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WWI wings supplemental posts French made bullion wing popular with 94th AS pilots


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I didn't want to post any new wings until Chris was finished.  This is an interesting French made wing.  What is interesting is that it seemed to have been a popular pattern worn by the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Aero Squadron.  You see about 1/3 of the 94th pilots wearing this type badge, 1/2 of the pilots wearing the "Rickenbacker" type badge and the rest of the pilots wearing other patterns (this is just an informal summary of my research).




Description and Construction


Reserve Military Aviator bullion wing made in multi-strand bullion (silver and gold wires) and a gold sequin between the U and the S. Sewn on a velvet type material.  The Shield has 12 stars in gold bullion thread and a unique thick border.  There are 10 rows of "feathers" that form a triangular pattern with the longer feathers on the to and the shortest rows on the bottom.  Each row of feathers is separated by a bullion thread (rather than a simple black thread). The top and bottom of the wings extend above and below the shield, which gives it a "unique" profile.


If you have the Wings of Honor book, in chapter VIII pages 113, 116, and 117 there appear to be a few pilots wearing this type of wing. Jimmie Meissner and Rick Smyth on page 113, Edwin Green on page 116 and Meissner and Reed Chambers on page 117. All of these pilots were in the 94th.


This pattern of wing was worn during the war (see below LT Alan WInslow).  I have yet to see this particular wing show up in other squadrons, but I will be the first to admit, my research is spotty.



This French made badge shows up in photographs of 94th AS pilots dated to the occupation.  This is Samuel Kay, Joe Dawson & Bob Donaldson ca. April 1919. Kay and (maybe) Dawson seem to be wearing this type badge, while the man on the right is wearing the "Rickenbacker" style badge.






A better photo of Sam Kaye  It is hard to date when he got these wings exactly, but based on other photos of Lt Alan Winslow, the pattern was being warn in early 1918 and clearly up to the post war occupation period in 1919



Another photo from 1919. 




And a photo of Alan Winslow.  The first U.S. Air Service aerial victories by fighter planes in the American sector in France were by Lts. Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell, who had just been transferred to the front. This photo shows Campbell and Winslow after their victories in April of 1918.  A few months later Winslow was shot down, lost an arm and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.  So from these photos of Winslow (he has both his arms), we know the wing was worn during the war in 1918.  I don't know if Campbell is also wearing a similar badge.  But it is pretty darn neat that this bullion wing was worn by the first pilot who got a victory. 



So from my count, at least 5-6 of the 94th pilots wore a similar badge.


This is what I call the Rickenbacker badge(on his uniform)







Other photographs from 1919 (although not exactly like the Rickenbacker wing, its pretty close) show that the pilots tended to wear similar wings  This version seemed to have been popular in the 94th (shown are Reeds and Chambers).


I believe that this wing was removed from a uniform, but no idea whose it may have been worn by.  So, I believe that it likely was worn by one of the 94th AS pilots (but have absolultly no proof one way or the other).





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That is a fantastic, and very rare wing!


There is a similar half-wing, clearly made by the same French maker, for sale on Bay State Militaria, sewn to a Third Corps Enlisted Observer's uniform <- Link to uniform.




Hopefully Scott won't mind me posting a snap of the for sale wing here.





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I count 7 stars in the top row and 6 in the bottom row for a full 13 on your wing, or am I seeing things?


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OK I have stared at your wing for two days now... I see a top row of seven and a bottom row of six... maybe its just the way the Xs look in the shot?





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Patrick, I think this is what people are counting.  I'm guessing that far right star is the one that's causing people to think that there are seven instead of six.  Gorgeous wing by the way.  I love it.


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I also love how all the detail in the shield (stars, bar separating the chief from the field, and the US are all done in gold embroidery.  A very neat stylistic choice on the part of the embroiderer and this would no doubt have been an even more "eye catching" wing when it was new!

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