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Thread: Arm band and badge query.

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    Default Arm band and badge query.

    Can anybody explain the significance of the arm band and chequered badge on my uncle's right sleeve?

    See

    I think the photograph was taken circa 1939 - 1945

    Thanks

    Tony

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    The arm band is the bog standard RAFP arm band. Black and Red with the letters 'APM'. They still wear variations today, either on their rank epilettes or as an arm band in No.1 uniform. It basically signifies their authority as Service Police working for the RAF Provost Marshal.

    There is no chequered badge on his arm. Those are his rank stripes, for Corporal.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Late spring, or early summer, and probably not in UK (windows don't look UK?).
    And do I detect chains inside the bottom of each trouser leg to make the trouser leg "fall" neatly over the gaiter?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I must correct Jonny. The armband is black, with a central red stripe as mentioned, but the lettering would have been 'R.A.F.P.' for R.A.F. Police. High ranking Provost officers wear the same pattern armband with a variety of lettering 'P.M.' (Provost Marshal), 'A.P.M.' (Assistant Provost Marshal), 'D.P.M.' (Deputy Provost Marshal) and 'D.A.P.M.' (Deputy Assistant Provost Marshal), some with an eagle and crown or Air Officers cap badge between or surmounting the letters. Generally these officers would be of Group Captain or above in rank.

    The same 'R.A.F.P.' armband is still worn by service Police.

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    Although I may take this opportunity to correct AIRMAN 1 as well. The early days of WW2 saw the same armband with the letters 'SP' (for Service Police) in white. It appears that this was supplemented by an armband with the letters 'RAF' over 'SP', once again in white. This in turn was replaced by the 'RAFP' version (black letters on the red segment). It appears that there were two types of this armband, but only varying in materials used (1st Pattern and a Second Pattern introduced late in the war). There is some question as to whether the armband in this form was used on stations and when the RAFP were not operating under the authority of the RAF Provost Marshal in a true policing role. I would defer to more learned colleagues on this point. Armbands were only normally worn when performing a policing duty or when wearing a uniform for ceremonial reasons; like today (although a small version on rank slides is now utilised at all times in working dress). A variance of the officer armbands were worn, but once again this was not routine, unless in No1s, when undertaking a policing function, or when occupying a specific post.

    I would suggest, if so motivated, you contact the RAFP Museum at Southwick Park for a deinitive answer.

    I have just found confirmation on the RAFP Association website that the Air Ministry Order confirming the 'RAFP' armband came into being in Sep 1944.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    Last edited by jonny; 23rd May 2012 at 13:41. Reason: More research added
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    The RAF Police have never worn an armband with 'S.P.' in white, although the American Air Force did, (with embroidered lettering) and the R.A.A.F. (white felt lettering on a black felt armband, with white felt border top and bottom). The R.C.A.F. wore a black thick cotton armband with red felt lettering 'S.P.', with a stores reference of 22H/174. This was later changed to 'R.C.A.F.' over 'S.P.'.

    From the 1920s the forerunners of the Air Ministry Constabulary, the Air Ministry Wardens, wore a black cotton canvas armband with red felt lettering 'A.M.W'. Later the Special Duties section of the A.M.C. wore an armband of dark blue felt, with edging in pale blue felt, and lettering 'SD' woven in pale blue.

    The first RAF Police armband was 'R.A.F.' in red felt, over 'S.P.' also in red felt, on a blue cotton canvas armband, authorised in 1920. This was ammended in 1921 to a black armband, and worn in that form from then on. An Air Ministry Order of 1947 changed the use of this armband to those of the 'R.A.F. Supplimentary Police'.

    The first R.A.F. Police armband (an armband of three bands black, red, black of equal width, with the red bearng the letters 'R.A.F.P.') was first authorised in September 1944, but like many items of insignia it was already in use. It was also worn side by side with the 'R.A.F.' 'S.P.' armband, and in fact I have a photograph of two R.A.F. Police in Normandy in June 1944, one wearing each type.

    During the war, two types of 'R.A.F.P.' armband were produced, one in wool with a two-prong buckle fastener, and a printed version with brass popper studs manufactured by Newey Brothers. Later the wool version was also produced with Newey poppers, although current issue usually has velcro. Printed variations, bearing ranks of Corporal up to Warrant Officer are also issued today. Every few years the 'proof pattern' of a badge (the approved sample) is reapproved or a new approved pattern is authorised, even when only small changes such as the fastening are made. Thus approved patterns of badges and armbands, first authorised 50, 60 or 70 years ago can be found with very recent dates if still in use.

    The provost armbands mentioned in my previous post have only ever been in wool, and never printed.

    I have examples of a number of the above, as well as photos of them in use, collected over 30 years.
    Last edited by Unverified 9395; 23rd August 2012 at 12:21. Reason: typo!

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