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Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

Article about: Are there serial numbers on the reverse of the mount / phot?

  1. #31

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    It has me stumped. The ribbons don't make sense to me either - doesn't the Victory Medal
    ribbon ( if that is what it represents ) belong last, or second last place within the group ?

    Volunteer Reserve - ok, but why does it have US buttons ? An inside joke maybe ?
    Perhaps somewhere out there is another studio photograph of an RAF Pilot
    with a US Offcer's crusher.........! ?


  2. #32

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Walkwolf: I can't imagine you being stumped, but what has me stumped is trying to decide what this guy was trying to be--RAF or USAAF. Either way he blew it big time. If he wants to be RAF where are his RAF wings and why is he wearing USAAF wings? If he's trying to be USAAF, where are all the required insignia and why the RAF hat? Maybe he was just a split personality trying to find the middle ground. And then there are the campaign ribbons that BlueBadger says are all WWI French. Maybe that was his fall-back position if all else failed. Dwight

  3. #33

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Lol, the French had their own distinct Pilot wings.

    Perhaps lost to history, and we'll never know.
    It is a great photo though.........!


  4. #34

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    RAF pilots training in the US under the 'Arnold Scheme' were awarded USAAF pilots wings on completion of their training. Of course, they were replaced with the RAF Pilot Badge very quickly but pictures do exist of them being worn, these often being 'graduation' photos. Here is an example of an Arnold Scheme Sergeant Pilot wearing both:

    Name:  allan_gent.jpg
Views: 118
Size:  15.4 KB

    I don't know whether it's real or not, but the only scenario that I can think of that would explain it would be an Arnold Scheme pilot trainee purchasing a uniform from an American tailor. If the tailor couldn't get proper RAF buttons, perhaps he made it with standard USAAF buttons?

    Just a thought


  5. #35

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Rob: Good thought, but what about the WWI French ribbons? Dwight

  6. #36

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Quote by drmessimer View Post
    Rob: Good thought, but what about the WWI French ribbons? Dwight
    Yes, another two-pipe problem right there, shame I quit smoking 10 years ago

    Are we sure we have them positively identified though?


  7. #37

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Rob: We need to hear from BlueBadger to see what he has concluded. Last heard he had the lower right ribbon ID'd as (I think) the US WWI Occupation Ribbon and two in the upper row were questionable. He did conclude that they are all WWI ribbons. Hopefully BlueBadger will will bring us up to date on his present thoughts. But the problem I have with the ribbons is that they are entirely from an earlier war, and I don't think that the guy in the picture looks old enough to have participated in WWI, especially if he was a volunteer in the French army. But that's part of the mystery here. And according to asterpious (post #21) the VR device on the man's left lapel is an RAF Volunteer Reserve from before the war, which would suggest that the guy in the photo didn't take part in the Arnold Scheme since he would already have been a pilot. The problem is that everything about this guy is a guess, which shouldn't be the case if the uniform was up to snuff and regulation. Dwight

  8. #38

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Am currently researching the studio. According to the national archives in the UK, this photo would have been taken around 1943. They doubt that this is a hoax our dress up photo, due to the fact that this photographer was quite high end and usually only performed portraits for prominent types by appointment only. Research is continuing... I will keep you all posted. Glad to see that my entry post created so much interest. I have much more to show you all in the future and look forward to some good conversation. Many thanks.

    North Carolina, U.S.A.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    Just had another epiphany... I own several RAF volunteer items. I have a Dutch pilots RAF officer cap with gilt Dutch air force buttons holding the chin strap on. I also own several Polish RAF items, including aPolish RAF tunic with gilt JR Gaunt Polish buttons in place of the standard RAF buttons. I can say that the basic uniform shown in my photo is certainly RAF, when compared to the ones I already own. Just the buttons are different. Given the aforementioned information, this was not an uncommon practice by volunteers. As many of you have likely seen, not all volunteers towed the line in regard to regulations. Pierre Closterman was famous for his very non regulation riding beeches and knee high riding boots.

  10. #40

    Default Re: Unusual Pilot... Help with ID

    BlueBadger: Historically, air force types have played havoc with uniform regulations and have gotten away with it, but your guy is way over the top. Have you identified the ribbons? You did launch a really fun thread that I hope continues to attract contributors. This is one of the most enjoyable discussions I have had in a long time. Dwight

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