Britain - World War I Wings

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Pin
Chris Langley Collection
8/16/2010
"These are original RFC 1913 pilot wings for the field uniform. Even photographs of these in use on field dress are exceptionally rare. They were only in use between Feb 1913 and Feb 1914 when the RFC was a very small body with a very limited number of pilots. When they were replaced in 1914 with the woven badges, apparently many of these badges were simply thrown away as they had developed a bad reputation for tearing uniforms when snagged by belts, coats etc. The long pin bronze wing was most usually found open-backed and had the typical British simple folded wire hinge instead of the bar hinge found on the gilded wings. This wing was used with field service uniform only (and the gilded one was NOT for use with the field service uniform). This badge was approved for use in 1912, came into use in Feb 1913 and was replaced by cloth badges by Feb 1914. The problem with the field service wing was that it was used on the lighter fabric field service jacket and this was worn all the time including when preparing for and completing flight, which meant that it was always catching on straps or clothing and coats and consequently tearing the uniform jacket open along the line of the pin. It was quickly replaced by the wool backed embroidered wing in very early 1914. In Feb 1913 there were two squadrons of aircraft and one balloon unit, so 24-30 aircraft and pilots plus the balloon unit. This badge was VERY rare then and of course most of the pilots were pleased to chuck it away when they got their fabric wings." - Chris Langley
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Chris Langley Collection
12/23/2010
"United Kingdon, Royal Flying Corps, Pilot, field dress uniform. Authorized in late 1912, this item is unusually manufactured in bronzed copper. This example is a Firmin production. It was first issued in February 1913 to the very small army flying corps and then fully replaced by February 1914 by woven fabric badges. The first military pilot badge. These metal badges with their pin backs frequently caught on straps and exterior clothing during field use causing tears to uniforms. When replaced with woven badges many metal badges were simply discarded." - Chris Langley
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GJ DF in shield
Pin

12/11/2012
Royal Flying Corps, Pilot, field dress uniform. - This badge was manufactured by Jackson and Fullerton in London. George Jackson and David Fullerton were the proprietors of Joseph Williams & Co from 1884 through 1915. The company itself existed before them and lived on after them as well. The "GJ DF" mark was no longer used after 1915 when George Jackson left the firm.
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Chris Langley Collection
8/16/2010
"This is a sample of the dress uniform and undress uniform wing (same wing, two forms of wear). It is of course gilded and is usually found with either a full plate over the back which would be hard to detect as an add-on if the small gas holes were not present, or with the reverse tips of the wing plated over (the main part being open) with the hinge and hook attached to these partial plates. This wing was brought into use in 1913 and continued in use to 1916 in dress and undress use. It was commonly replaced in 1916 by the bullion type wings though some did continue to wear the gilded wing on dress uniform until the unification of the RFC and the RNAS into the RAF on April 1st 1918." - Chris Langley
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/5/2010
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JR Gaunt & Son LTD - London
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Chris Langley Collection
1/6/2011
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J&Co
Pin
Cliff Presley Collection
8/5/2012
1913 Royal Flying Corps metal pilot wings - The original metal Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilot badge was designed by senior officers General Sir Frederick Hugh Sykes and General Sir David Y. Henderson. It was authorized by Kind George V on February 1, 1913 under Army Order 49/13. The metal badges were phased out in favor of fabric wings in February 1914.

This scarce full size example was die struck in bronze with a hollow back. It has a round metal 'C' catch for the horizontal pin and is hallmarked 'J&Co'. It was manufactured by Joseph Jennens & Co., London, a prestigious maker of high quality Royal military officers' cap-plates, breast-plates, badges and buttons. The company was founded in the early years of the 19th century and changed its name to Jennens & Company, Ltd. in 1913. In 1924 the firm was purchased by J. R. Gaunt & Son who continued to market their products for several years as 'J. R. Gaunt & Son, late Jennens' to emphasize the quality, such was the reputation of Jennens.

Special Note: Authentic metal 1913 RFC pilot wings do not have metal blades that extend out from the back which must be folded flat in order to secure the badge to a uniform; therefore, do not be fooled by the pretense that any badge made like that was meant to be worn.
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Pin & Hook
Chris Langley Collection
1/6/2011
This is the smaller Mess Dress size wing. Click on the photo to see a comparison of the small wing with the full size wing.
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/5/2010
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Cliff Presley Collection
9/5/2010
This is a dress uniform wing
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Rob Dekker Collection
12/20/2001
Click on the photo of the wing to see the rare tunic it is attached to. It was used just from Apr. 1918 until spring of 1919.
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112 mm



Michael D Long Collection
8/14/2002
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110 mm



Michael D Long Collection
8/14/2002
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109 mm



Michael D Long Collection
8/14/2002
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Rory Langran Collection
2/10/2005
Royal Flying Corps Pilot
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Dennis Jackson Collection
5/2/2011
Worn by Lt. Harry C. Dille, American Volunteer, Pilot 34th Squadron - Note Mexican Campaign Ribbon! - April 1918 RAF Blue Uniform
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Dennis Jackson Collection
5/2/2011
Worn by Harry C. Dille , American Volunteer, 34th Squadron on his Khaki Uniform
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Rory Langran Collection
2/10/2005
WWI Royal Flying Corps Observer wings
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Chris Langley Collection
2/5/2011
WWI Royal Flying Corps Cap Badge
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Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II