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Prototype Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

Article about: Col. Edgar S. Gorrell was named Chief Aviation Historian in December of 1918. He was tasked with writing the history of the AEF Aviation Section just after the Great War. In his writings can

  1. #1

    Arrow Prototype Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    Col. Edgar S. Gorrell was named Chief Aviation Historian in December of 1918. He was tasked with writing the history of the AEF Aviation Section just after the Great War. In his writings can be found information that is not found anywhere else in publication. This history is vast and a fascinating read with many illustrations not seen before.

    Many of those illustrations are of protype wings and insignia that were never authorized. Within these illustrations, English and French influence can be observed in the design of these badges and insignia. From what I gather in the text of explanation and from official records contained within the history, the prototype wings and insignia below were actually produced for review, how many will probably never be known. The text of the publications relating to these items leads me to believe that payment was made for production. Thus, there must be some examples out there that could possibly be disregarded as "fantasy" or outright fakes.

    In the creation of these prototype insignia and wings, I believe the Air Service had foreseen the importance, expansion and future of aviation into its own branch eventually.

    Below are just a few of the images contained within the publication. Enjoy...




    I suspect this was intended for enlisted members of the Air Service, however it is not clear if it was intended to be for flying personnel.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	US Round Insignai Wreath Page 62.jpg 
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Size:	236.8 KB 
ID:	68042  
    Last edited by Steven M; 12-08-2009 at 02:53 AM.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  2. #2

    Default Re: Prorotype Wings and Insignia of WWI Found in Gorrell's History

    This one reminds me of some of the Air Corp shoulder patches of WWII. The writing in the lower left hand corner is difficult to make out but it relates to either the person or firm who designed it. This is seen on many of the drawings.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	US Round Insignia Page 61.jpg 
Views:	390 
Size:	235.3 KB 
ID:	68043  
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  3. #3

    Default Re: Prorotype Wings and Insignia of WWI Found in Gorrell's History

    I see some French influence in this one.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wing no. 3 Page 63.jpg 
Views:	264 
Size:	169.6 KB 
ID:	68044  
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Prorotype Wings and Insignia of WWI Found in Gorrell's History

    Not sure if the shield was intended to be left plain or if numbers/emblems/letters would be affixed...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wing no. 4 Page 64.jpg 
Views:	224 
Size:	237.3 KB 
ID:	68045  
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  5. #5

    Default Re: Prorotype Wings and Insignia of WWI Found in Gorrell's History

    Too bad this one was never produced.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wing no. 5 Page 65.jpg 
Views:	487 
Size:	245.7 KB 
ID:	68046  
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  6. #6

    Default Re: Prototype Wings and Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    I can add additional shots (or provide the link to Gorrell's History) if interest develops in this subject.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Prototype Wings and Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    Hi Steven, never seen these before. Thanks for showing them. Very interesting to see.

    I too like the one shown in post 5. A great design.

    Cheers, Ade.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Prototype Wings and Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi Steven, never seen these before. Thanks for showing them. Very interesting to see.

    I too like the one shown in post 5. A great design.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Howdy Ade,

    My pleasure. I'll post some more examples from the publication soon. If I remember correctly, there are about 20 plates of different prototype insignia.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  9. #9

    Default Re: Prototype Wings and Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    Quote by Steven M View Post
    Col. Edgar S. Gorrell was named Chief Aviation Historian in December of 1918. He was tasked with writing the history of the AEF Aviation Section just after the Great War. In his writings can be found information that is not found anywhere else in publication. This history is vast and a fascinating read with many illustrations not seen before.

    Many of those illustrations are of protype wings and insignia that were never authorized. Within these illustrations, English and French influence can be observed in the design of these badges and insignia. From what I gather in the text of explanation and from official records contained within the history, the prototype wings and insignia below were actually produced for review, how many will probably never be known. The text of the publications relating to these items leads me to believe that payment was made for production. Thus, there must be some examples out there that could possibly be disregarded as "fantasy" or outright fakes.

    In the creation of these prototype insignia and wings, I believe the Air Service had foreseen the importance, expansion and future of aviation into its own branch eventually.

    Below are just a few of the images contained within the publication. Enjoy...




    I suspect this was intended for enlisted members of the Air Service, however it is not clear if it was intended to be for flying personnel.

    Very interesting, haven't read Gorrell's history and had not seen these prototypes. The link to his site would be nice. Attached pic of Col Edgar Gorrell.

    Thanks for posting this, a new area to explore.

    Terry
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10

    Default Re: Prototype Wings and Insignia of WWI Period as Found in Gorrell's History

    Hello Major,

    Thanks for adding the photo of the Col. to the thread.

    Page 41 - Footnote.com

    Here is the Footnotes link. The wing/badge insignia section starts at page 53, but the previous pages are fascinating as well, giving us a look at many different drawings of aircraft insignia.

    Personally, I think Gorrell's is a largely unexplored gold mine of information.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

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