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Sheriffof0

Unidentified WWI RFC Observer

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Sheriffof0

Among some medium-sized glass-plate negatives i was digitising last weekend were these attached.

I am not an expert but I take this to be the No. 1 Dress Uniform of an RFC Aerial Observer, rank is unclear to me.

There is a wonderful image of the same young man in what is clearly an homage to T.E. Lawrence.

It is a shame I have no other means of identification as the images are marvellous.

 

If anyone can shed any further light I would be fascinated.

glassNeg_11.jpg

glassNeg_12.jpg

glassNeg_13.jpg

glassNeg_14.jpg

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Andrew Upton
6 hours ago, Sheriffof0 said:

Among some medium-sized glass-plate negatives i was digitising last weekend were these attached.

I am not an expert but I take this to be the No. 1 Dress Uniform of an RFC Aerial Observer, rank is unclear to me.

There is a wonderful image of the same young man in what is clearly an homage to T.E. Lawrence.

It is a shame I have no other means of identification as the images are marvellous.

 

If anyone can shed any further light I would be fascinated.

glassNeg_11.jpg

 

 

 

 

Not RFC, but the uniform of a junior officer c.1918/1919 in the newly formed Royal Air Force. Difficult to tell from a black and white shot, but it does appear to be the early version in khaki (and not blue). Rank was originally worn on the cuffs and also designated by bars either side of the cap badge (the latter were soon eliminated, as here), so unfortunately nothing in shot to say what specific rank.

 

Edited by Andrew Upton

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Sheriffof0

Andrew, Many thanks for this clarification. I had spotted that the cap badge wasn't quite right but I wasn't able to interpret that fact in the expert way that you have. I really appreciate the help in narrowing down the dates.

 

Regards,

 

Jon.

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FROGSMILE

As Andrew says, he is wearing the very first RAF pattern of 1918 service dress cap badge, which was all metal.
In 1919 all of the badge apart from the eagle was made of gold bullion wire.  From that point on just the RAF Warrant Officers wore the all metal version of the badge.

1BD9DF25-C4DB-4ABB-8A0C-170BD7749829.jpeg

F383211C-8718-40B0-AE7E-589618730E32.jpeg

BB9CE7E1-515B-4109-98A4-392023300581.jpeg

8E368747-8BF3-4A34-A516-03D76734B8D6.jpeg

6BFDCB91-3BF4-472C-9BD5-3C4F4C8D1EB7.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE

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alex revell

Bearing mind that this photograph was taken well before the days of photoshop it argues that the Arab headgear was available to the chap, which would possibly place him as serving in the RFC in Mespot during T E's time there and that he knew of T E's activities in the area. 

Just a thought.:-) 

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charlie962

Excellent detail in those glass plate negatives; I notice that he previously had collar badges which are now removed ? As well as the fixing holes there is a faint trace of the old collar badges but I cannot guess what they were.

 

Charlie

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Alisonmallen62

He has a look of Robson Green about him. 

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scottmarchand
On 17/01/2020 at 12:29, charlie962 said:

Excellent detail in those glass plate negatives; I notice that he previously had collar badges which are now removed ? As well as the fixing holes there is a faint trace of the old collar badges but I cannot guess what they were.

 

Charlie

It is a great picture! But what you are thinking are collar badge holes aren’t - that is a bit of stitching showing through for the button fasteners and tab for the “wind collar” , the jacket collars were able to be turned up and buttoned closed around the throat for additional protection against the cold.

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Sheriffof0

Other plates in this small series of 16 and the only others which are military are attached here.

They do not appear to be the same chap or look sufficiently like him to be close kin, but who knows?

He must surely at least have been a friend to the family.

I shall leave it to you experts to theorise as to his military pedigree but he's clearly young and looks more like an infantryman to my untrained eyes.

Again, I'd be grateful for your contributions.

 

glassNeg_10.jpg.6b8a3403064e8fade79e96634d88fd59.jpgglassNeg_08.jpg.e32401d95755e1f5c0de90b2dc7ba242.jpg

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scottmarchand

He is a Canadian Machine Gunner, likely the 1st, 2nd or 4th MG Bn based on the formation patch on the shoulders. Has seen action based on the would strip on the left sleeve and is in a nice privately tailored OR's service dress jacket.

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Sheriffof0

@scottmarchand Well that's a fantastic bit of sleuthing! I did try myself but the lapel stars had me stumped.Couldn't see that anywhere except on Italian uniforms of the period.  Of course NOT stars but Maple Leaves! The jacket itself was interesting as it appears to have some kind of reinforcing layer near the clavicle and some darts near the collar - Is that padding to brace against the butt of a machine-gun? Forgive my ignorance... OR is what exactly?

Edited by Sheriffof0

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scottmarchand

Those are standard features of the Other Ranks 1907 service dress jacket (mod 1915) and the components you are asking about is referred to as a 'rifle patch' a double layer of re-enforced cloth in the area one would aim a rifle from. The collar darts are just for fitment, makes them tighter and smrter looking as was the fashion at the time.The Machine guns of these units were Vickers Heavy MG's that fired from a fixed mount and would not have been shouldered and has nothing to do with his being in a MG unit.

 

I am not good at parsing out colours of patches from B&W images - others here are and do a good job of inferring what the actual colours might be. The base patch would be a 2" x 3" rectangle likely Red, Blue or Green with a Red forward facing arrow superimposed on the base cloth patch. 

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