Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Inter-War Uniform Insignia

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,648
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts

    Default Inter-War Uniform Insignia

    Dear All,
    This subject was aired a few years ago. But I have ‘lost’ it in my chaotic computer filing system.

    It is a b/w photograph of 8 RAF(?) personnel (Commissioned, WO, NCO, and ORs) taken outside a Meteorological Office somewhere. We know not where – but probably in, or near, the Middle East (or even the Indian sub-Continent). It was probably taken in the winter season – i.e. the subjects are in ‘Blue’ rather than ‘KD’ uniforms. We are looking at (1) post-WW1, and (2) pre-WW2.

    One of the ORs appears to be wearing an SD hat with an RAF cap badge. He is not exhibiting any medal ribbons on his uniform jacket (which has ‘dull’ buttons rather than the brass buttons of most of the others). The peak of his SD hat appears to be narrower than those worn by the ‘brass button’ lot, but the same as those worn by the other ‘dull button’ lot. On his lower left sleeve he has what appears to be an Army “2 Yr Good Conduct” single inverted chevron.

    Q1 Was the wearing of any Medal Ribbons on uniform compulsory? (this will give us a “terminus post (or ante) quem” for any Gongs).
    Q2 Were those who had transferred to the RAF from the Army allowed to wear their Good Conduct chevrons? (presumably until such time as Air Ministry said “Take ‘em orff”).
    Q3 Did the RAF ever have Good Conduct chevrons? If so, from when, to when?

    We are merely trying, by a process of elimination, to exclude dates when this photo might have been taken (there’s a lot of highly technical ‘met’ stuff in view which is being similarly processed ‘off-Forum’).
    TIA
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ottawa
    Posts
    272
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Reference Q3; yes, the RAF did award good conduct chevrons (not sure what they were officially named), I have a picture of my father wearing them on his sleeve in the late-1930s.
    Ian Macdonald

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,648
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts

    Default

    Ian,
    Mni tks for that reply!! Unfortunately it just widens the time-frame!! Ho-hum - it ever was thus!!!
    Time-frame now 1921 to 1939 !!!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 29th December 2011 at 14:52.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,866
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts

    Default

    Sorry to add to your woes Peter, but RAF Service records I have seen from WW2 still mention the award of Good Conduct Badges so the time frame probably extends to 1945+

    Malcolm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,648
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts

    Default

    Malcolm,
    I was relying on you to narrow the time-frame considerably. You have let me down!!
    Oh, well, y'can't win em all!!!
    We WILL, in the end, crack this one. Might take some time!!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,866
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts

    Default

    Hi Peter

    Sorry I couldn't give you better news, can you e-mail a scan of the picture?

    Malcolm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,648
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 14 Times in 14 Posts

    Default

    Malcolm,
    If I had a good scan of the picture, and if my scanty computer knowledge enabled me to actually do so, then I would. All I can do is send you an attachment to an email! Hope for the best!!
    Tks yr interest,
    Peter
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,866
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 36 Times in 35 Posts

    Default

    Hi Peter

    Further to my last, I've just found reference to them stating they were introduced before WW2 (no actual date) and abolished by AMO A594 in 1950.

    One strip = 3 years, Two strips = 8 years service

    Malcolm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    329
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Peter

    Its a little hard to give full answers without seeing the photo in question. If you could post then I or someone else could probably give you an aswer immediately. However, you mention certain things.

    Regarding Question 1. I think the wearing of medal ribbons was compulsory. During the war, aside from gallantry awards, few ribbons were worn (unless they were from prior campaigns or conflicts) as the qualifying period was sorted when the war ended. One exception was the 1939 - 43 Star, the ribbon of which allowed to be worn from November 1943. However, before the medal itself was struck, it was renamed the 1939 - 45 Star, and issued after the war. Most other medals, such as the War Medal and Defence Medal were issued after the war, and thus often dont appear on uniforms until the very end. I'd guess that would pre-date your photo to say, 1944.

    Question 2. Good conduct badges were I think issued from/during WW1 and although I have seen I think about 6 on one chap (a remarkable and well known photo), in the RAF only three were ever awarded. As stated, one stripe was for 3 years good conduct, two stripes for 8 years and three stripes for 13 years, their official title, 'Good Conduct Badges'.

    There were numerous rules, but basically previous service in the Royal Marines, Navy or Army, if continous was taken into account, so presumably any previous badges earned were allowed to be worn. However, if the gap between the swap from one service to the RAF was longer than five years the award did not stand. A few other rules, such as service prior to age 18 were also grounds for no badge.

    Question 3 has effectively been answered.

    Now, you say several of the airmen in the photo have blue uniform and 'duller' buttons. This would effectively rule out the Middle and Far East, where Tropical Service Dress would have been worn (in tan) instead of blues. The RAF had no summer uniform, unlike the RAAF, RCAF and RNZAF. It wore blues all year round in the UK, and Tropical Service Dress in such places as Africa and Asia etc. However, RAF airmen serving in Canada, Australia or New Zealand would be subject to a khaki uniform, and this would be a form of TSD or the Summer dress of the respective air force.

    The 'duller' buttons are more of a clue. The RAF did make and issue black plastic cap badges for other ranks, officers side caps (the eagle and crown) as well as tunic buttons. These are usually referred to as 'economy issue' by the fact they are plastic, which is only partly true. As with similar Army badges, if a true economy version were made, it would be in gold plastic to replicate the brass as close as possible. I have such an RAF other ranks cap badge.

    The black badges were intended for the Tropical Service Dress Uniform (although blue headger was worn), and some does appear on these uniforms. It would seem that stocks didnt reach the middle East, or rather the Middle east conflict largely ended before stocks were used, with the result that you do frequently see side caps with black badges and buttons, often dated 1945, whilst blue tunics can also be found, although less common. It would seem that to prevent wastage, the black buttons were used in that way.

    I would hazard a guess the photo is circa 1943 or 1944, and probably in the UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand (most likely the UK) as they are wearing 'blues'. This would account for the dull buttons, lack of medal ribbons but also the Good Conduct Badges.

    The only other 'RAF' unit to wear dull buttons on the blue uniform was the Civilian Technical Corps, a unit of radar and radio trained volunteers from America. They were civilians, but came under the RAF and wore RAF uniforms with a chromed cap badge and black composite buttons. There was an official 'CTC' shoulder title, and rank badges, as well as a number of badges unofficially worn, such as the RAF 'fist and sparks' telecommunications sleeve badge. Considering you have not mentioned any other sleeve badges, I doubt the photo shows CTC men, as Ive not known any to wear the GCB. However, as they seemed to add badges almost as they liked (within reason) it may well be that.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •