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WW2 RAF wings?


Adrian6256
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Adrian6256

Good afternoon, I have been collecting ww2 US Militaria for some time. I’m now learning about British Militaria and Im excited to learn on this forum. I found this wing and wanted to know if it’s a original or reproduction. I tried to compare to others on the forum, but I’m not sure what to look for. Thanks in advance for the advice. 
best regards, 

Adrian 

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Tonomachi

I'm not an expert on British insignia but one of the first things I learned was to look at the shape of the crown atop the insignia to determine if it is a WW2 era piece or a post war piece.  There was a change in the 1950s where by the King's Crown was replaced by the Queen's Crown.   Queen Elizabeth was inaugurated in 1952 but I believe it took until 1957 before the changeover was complete.  I could be wrong with these dates.  You can see the differences in the drawings of the crowns below.   You can see the differences with these crowns on the pair of British Parachute Regiment beret badges.  The RAF pilot's wing above has the Queen's Crown so it is post war and looks like a current made piece but I don't know for sure as I don't collect British aviation wings.

 

I want to forewarn you if you start collecting the higher end British elite unit insignia (Parachute Regiment, Commando, SAS, SBS, LRDG, SOE, PPA, Chindit, etc.) as there is so much fake stuff being produced in the UK.  Unfortunately over the years what I have found is the attitude amongst collector's in the UK is that if was your fault that you got ripped off by some unscrupulous insignia dealer as you didn't do your homework.  I would recommend a book titled, "Some Talk of Private Armies" by Len Whittaker if you are going to start collecting the WW2 era British elite unit insignia as they have clear color photographs of genuine WW2 era insignia.  Unfortunately this book is out of print but I use my copy as my bible when trying to make a decision if a piece I'm contemplating buying is genuine or not.  You can also join the Chute & Dagger Association UK not USA where they show and describe some WW2 era British elite unit insignia.

 

Good luck

 

 

 

 

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Adrian,

 

To add to Tonomachi's post, the wing (the British call it a brevet) that you have posted is indeed a post WWII wing. It could have been worn anytime between Queen Elizabeth's coronation and today. The crowns changed from the Tudor Crown to the Windsor crown upon her coronation. Her majesty's military forces had a window to change over from the old insignia to the new which I believe was about four years. 

 

One thing that I want you to understand here is that the wing as it is produced here, is a post WWII manufacturing process. You will find all manner of wings produced this way to include brevets with "RFC" in the center and wings with Tudor Crowns. These were either made for collectors or for veterans and were not worn on the uniform. Tonomachi also brings up a great point regarding most British collectors- you had better do your homework before you make any purchases. The more advanced collectors seem to find it quite humorous when a novice collect purchases a fake, believing that it is part of the cost of the collector's education to have been burned by a reproduction being sold as a vintage original.

 

Feel free to ask questions here, but please try to show us that you are trying to learn- tell us why you think a piece is original or a fake and we will help you all day long.

 

Allan

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Adrian6256

Thank you guys for the clear responses and the book recommendations. What caused me to struggle was these wings seemed to be quality made. I compared them to eBay reproductions and those were typically poorly made. So it makes sense that it is a post war crown, and manufactured for collectors and Veterans. This also explains why they are in nice condition. 

The shop where I purchased this also had a RCAF wing and a RFC wing made in a similar fashion. they were only about $15 each. Im happy to start learning about something new and look forward to being an active member of this forum. Thank you guys again for steering me in the right direction, As its much appreciated. I will post a picture of the other two wings I saw just for reference.  

 

Many thanks,

Adrian 

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Scarecrow

HI Adrian,

 

Little late to the party here but I will echo what Tonomachi and Allan H have previously said.  I am commenting on the last two wing (brevet) photos that you posted.  The first RCAF brevet is again post war with a Queen's (St. Edward's) Crown.  It looks modern made but again its use is from 1952 to present.  The 2nd RFC brevet is a modern reproduction made for , as Allan H points out, for veterans or collectors.  Again, as mentioned above, reference books are a must.  Another one to consider adding to your reference library is Warren Carroll's  "Eagles Recalled".

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I have to admit that I was richly blessed by having a couple of real experts in my corner as I started collecting RAF. One mentor had me buy "Eagles Recalled" which is the bible by which all RAF wing collectors swear by. This same mentor introduced me to the late Warren Carroll at a militaria show. We traded email addresses and I got to spend years, trading photos and discussion about various British and Commonwealth brevets. Getting to know Warren was a real treat and a real boon to my collecting acumen. 

 

I want to dive deeper into your statement about "quality made" pieces. You will find that there will be a huge spectrum of quality on RAF brevets. You will find hand made pieces of art. You will find nice, embroidered pieces, and you will even find very poorly executed and downright ugly pieces that were made in various theaters of war- all original, but seriously changing your definition of quality. You will really need to know what you are looking at to be able to determine originality.

 

Get a copy of "Eagles Recalled." Buy it before you put a nickel into buying any more brevets.

 

Allan

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