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Thread: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

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    Default RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Hi all,

    I am fully aware of RAF observer brevet (winded O) used till April 1942 and then replacet by "N" and "B" brevets.
    But what was the story of RAAF observer brevet with "O" in the light blue wreath? Was it also an early one and replaced by RAAF "N" and "B" brevets?

    https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1002207

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Hi Pavel
    AFAIK - the RAAF also changed over to the 'N'+'B' Badge by 1943.

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    So far as I know, the "Flying Axxxhole" badge was still alive and well through much of 1943 in Commonwealth air forces throughout the World, but numbers in daily use had probably been very much reduced by 1944. Although the change over to the new range of trades occurred in mid-1942-ish, it took a long time for the new trades (or more specifically the new trade badges) to become the reality on the left breast, and the hardest one of the old badges to kill off was the "Observer" badge. The graduates coming forth from Canadian, New Zealand and Australian schools through 1942 and in seemingly many cases well into 1943 were still being issued with the apparently endless stocks of the obsolete badges. Also the RCAF supervision of this practice in Canadian schools was (to RAF eyes) somewhat negligent, and the Canadians were not slow in implementing changes of their own in defiance of RAF ideas, such as inserting Dominion titles for the normally untitled badges (that is, all badges apart from Pilot badge), as well as providing all flying badges with an appropriate crown (sometimes called ensigning I believe), which they obviously thought was the right of all aircrew, commissioned or otherwise. Most of the graduates were told at the time of receiving their badges was that the ones they were being given were only of a temporary nature and would be replaced in the future "as soon as sufficient supplies are received", so they would not have had too much sentimental attachment to the first badge. However "old-timers" were non too pleased with the news that they would have to give up their hard-won and simple badge, and many were determined to retain them in spite of AMO's to the contrary - and quite a proportion in fact did. Last one I saw on an RNZAF member (probably an NCO) in full uniform and on duty was in the 1980s, at Wigram (Christchurch, New Zealand), on guard duty at the main entry gate to the base. Their main objection to the new "N" badge was that it gave no indication of the many and varied trades intrinsic to the Air Observer trade as they learned it - of course most members of this board (I hope) realize that the Air Observer of early WW2 was fully trained as an air gunner, a navigator, an air bomber, and a photographer, whereas the later "Navigators" were trained as Navigator, and Air Gunner only.
    David D

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    David thank you for your comprehensive answer - this is what I was roughly expecting. My man got the RAAF "O" brevet on 1.4.42 and he was pictured to wear it still in the middle of 1944 while in the UK.

    I have also find out that there werer several different shapes of the half-wing at the RAAF badges. According to the sources online I believe the more rectangle shapes were the original Australian ones while the other with the shape similar to the RAF ones were replacements made in the UK for the RAAF airmen.
    One of the sources is here: http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/austra...observer.shtml

    Anyone can please confirm this?

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    It would seem that in New Zealand A307/42 noted the change to aircrew categories. Thus anyone who carried out navigational duties and wore an O brevet would, henceforth wear an N brevet. That said my man who qualified as an Observer on 19 Sep 42 continued to wear the O brevet until he was discharged in 1945. Regards, Terry

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Sqn Ldr Bob Currie was the senior Navigator for the 1953 Britain to NZ air race team - seen here with his pilot W/Cdr Lewis Hodges.
    Observers were very proud of the 'O' Badge :)


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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Thank you for additional comments chaps.

    Yes they were very proud I know one example of the Czechoslovak officer S/Ldr A. P. Zeleny MBE who was wearing his origininal Observer brevet even in the 1960s when serving at RAF El Adem and also on his last official portrait in uniform in 1971 when he retired. His worn brevet was also always displayed together with his medals in his RAF corner.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    I think Post War Aircrew wearing the 'O' Badge would only wear it on Working Dress and perhaps Mess Kit if they could get away with it - as it was officially verboten to wear obsolete Flying Badges.
    It is generally accepted that once ex Aircrew had been 'grounded' into desk/ground jobs they could wear any flying badge that they were officially entitled/Qualified to wear.

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Yes that is correct, it was also case of A/SLr Zeleny who was the ATC Officer from the 1950s and later CO of the Desert Survival School in El Adem.

    https://fcafa.com/2017/10/17/sldr-ad...ke-zeleny-mbe/

    At the last photo you can see that he was later wearing a service tie - with te Observer badge too!

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Re: RAAF "O" brevet for Observer

    Very nice Link/Article thanks Pavel :)

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