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Thread: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

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    Default Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    Hello All,
    I have been sent (from a family-history-expert colleague, an as attachment to an email) a sepia-ish photo of 5 young men in RAF uniform (2 standing, 3 seated).
    They are wearing long, 5-(brass!)-button, jackets. The jackets button to under the chin. The collar turns down and appears to be fastened by 2 x hook/eye fasteners. They have very new looking ‘Eagles’ at top of each sleeve. They are wearing 2-button fore/aft forage caps, with brass badge. They are clean shaven, and with “short back & sides” haircuts. Their toe-caps show evidence of many hours of “spit & polish” (as opposed to ‘cheating’ by lacquering!!!).
    I suspect this pic was taken at the end of their Square Bashing?
    I have been asked if I can date the photo. One of my colleague’s distant rellies might/not be on the photo. We have a photo of 2 x Officers and 5 x ORs from somewhere in the ME around the early/mid-1930’s. All of the ORs are wearing different types of uniform!!!! I am not an expert in RAF couture.
    I am not, similarly, an expert in Flickr (or similar). My technical expertise probably ends with being able (possibly) to attach the Attachment to an email!
    I did try to see if Malcolm’s excellent RAFWEB could give me the answer, but he fights shy of the subject.
    Can anybody help?
    TIA
    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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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    You can send the image to me if you like Peter,I can post on here using imgur.
    I will PM you my email address.

    rgds baz

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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    Here is the photo from Peter.


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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    I would suggest this is a photo taken mid/late 30s (or at the start of WW2 when they were getting rid of the last of the high collar tunics). The three story barrack block in the background, suggests that the photo was taken at the RAF Depot, Uxbridge.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    Hello All who read this one – and to Jonny who’s sharp eyes detected what is probably an Uxbridge barrack-block!
    I doubt if we (on rafcommands) are going to produce anything more positive.
    On the other (family history) side we were given two possible names. (1) Isaac Hawley, and (2) John Horton. It was said they might both be in the photo. They were chased (unsatisfactorily) through AIR 78, etc.
    Then the fam-hist lot came up with the astounding info that Isaac Hawley alias John Horton had been charged with bigamy at Nottingham Court in 1915!! The case M’Lud has collapsed!
    In the unlikely event of any future, positive, info emerging I will inform you. Don’t hold your breath!
    Je reste ma valise!
    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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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    I think a valuable clue in attempting to date period photographs with aid of a fair knowledge of style of uniforms over the years, particularly in case of airmen, is by a study of the type of trousers/slacks worn. From my slim knowledge of RAF uniforms, in the 1920s and early 30s, these were characterised by various styles of breeches and puttees (or alternative field boots for officers). What were called slacks at the time (we would call them trousers) became much more popular with officers - "dress undress" was the name given to this "Order of Dress" in which a pair of slacks could be worn in lieu of breeches (Jodhpurs) and field boots. Interestingly in these early days, slacks could be provided with upturned cuffs (bottoms). Airmen seemed more imprisoned in their breeches and puttees, and this also went for their khaki drill (Overseas) dress, when worn with (rather long) shorts replacing breeches. As pointed out by Jonny, the high collar tunics as worn in this image are a sign of the times even then. Sergeants and above were permitted to wear open-neck jackets with lapels, a shirt with black tie from about 1936/37 onwards as a welcome privilege, although lower airmen were still stuck with those terrible upright collars. Also the field service (F/S) cap was not worn by RAF airmen until about this same time; previously, since about 1920, RAF airmen were issued with a peaked cap, which replaced the RFC-type F/S cap of WW1. Overseas (tropical) airmen and officers tended to wear approved sun helmets of various types in the "hot" countries. Warning! This post compiled entirely from memory, so if it contains errors, could greater experts please provide any required corrections!
    David D

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    Default Re: Dating Early(?) RAF OR Uniforms

    I think David has, inadvertently, hit the nail on the head!!
    That photo must be fairly late (almost up to WW2)? Or else they would be wearing puttees!!! Well done that man!!
    I remember we wore puttees when I did my square-bashing. They covered just the bottom of the trousers and the top of the boots. They were a pain. But not like puttees that came up to just below the knee (in some images) of riding type breeches.
    Thanks all,
    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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