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Thread: Air Photographer crew or passenger

  1. #1
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    Default Air Photographer crew or passenger

    Connected to the RAF but primarily this inquiry is with the SAAF.
    SAAF service records advise me that the post of 'Air Photographer' entailed payment of 'Flying Pay' but was this duty as air crew or as a passenger. The SAAF appear to have issued what I think is an immediate post war brevet to Air Photographers but I am wondering if such things existed in the Second World War. The SAAF No 67 and 66 Air Schools did engage in Air Photographic Training so the duties appear to be rather specific.

    I am aware that some instances exist where RAF pilots achieved their wings but then flew in Mosquitoes as Navigator Camera Operators so a great many anomalies exist. That said I believe the primary duties of an Air Photographer relate to mapping and not operational imaging.

    Someone may well have looked at this previously and I hope may be able to add some clarity for me.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Hi Colin

    I can confirm the SAAF trade of Air Photographer was both WW2 and air crew.

    The SAAF effectively used three designs of wing during the war. One had, like the pilots wings, the national shield in the centre and was surmounted by a crown which was used by Observers. They also used the exact same pattern as the RAF for some trades (such as air gunner), I suspect the wings being manufactured in Britain. The third type was specifically South African, and was based on the RAF style (brown wreath, no crown) although is distinct and easily identifiable. This type developed through the war, and later had red lettering and a white wreath and wing, and later still dual lettering, such as 'AG' over 'LK' (Air Gunner' and 'Lug Kannonier') the latter being Afrikaans.

    I collect aircrew badges and have a SAAF 'AP' Air Photographer wing (white wing and brown wreath and lettering, so confirming it to be an aircrew trade.

    As for it being a WW2 trade - a few years ago I was at a collectors fair and got chatting to a bod who had bought a lot to an RAF lad, which included a lovely studio portrait of him in South Africa wearing the AP wing, and others taken in the UK of him wearing the standard British Observers 'O' wing. The story (as it had come direct from the veteran) was that he had trained in South Africa I think as an Observer, but had been awarded the AP wing (presumably as he was initially at least, detailed for photographer duties) which he wore and was photographed with. Once he returned to the UK this was swiftly spotted and he was told to remove it, swapping it for the standard O wing, which he was also photographed wearing. So I can confirm it was worn during WW2.

    My only regret was that I didn't at the time get a photo of the photo, showing the AP wing being worn.

  3. #3
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    Airman

    Thanks for a most informative post on this subject that few appear to have much knowledge upon. Your clarification is most warmly received please look out for a pm from me.

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    Hi there Airman 1

    I am new to this forum and I noticed that you have some information on the SAAF AP brevet. Do you have an interest in SAAF brevets in general?

    Regards

    Doug

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