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Remembered Today:

RFC/RAF Uniforms....


T, Fazzini
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HAS anyone ever written n the varity of Unfiforms of the RFC/RFC 1914-1919?

 

 

In some cases men went into Air service wearing their old army unofrms with RAF Badges! https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/284504-royal-flying-corps-uniform/

 

Inothers I understand..men such as officers had to buy their own flying Kits..in once case a german ace claimed as his own prize of wars from a RAF POW he shot down the mans yellow leather coat..and wore it!  If I remember rightly From the OTC article on Eduard Ritter Von Schleich... possibly there other cases of RAF Kits claimed as Trophies of War???


In the book  of Red Baron and his victores {Not the Kilduff book] but by the others of The JAsta squadrons..there are pictures of RFC?RAF Personel wearing a large bib wrap around  like tunic similar to what doctors used to wear long ago..any rresponces?;)

 

 

Edited by T, Fazzini
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The RFC was part of the army until the formation of the RAF in April 1918, so RFC officers were army officers. 

 

It's important to remember that many RFC and RAF officers were attached from their parent regiments and Corps, so would retain their 'old' uniforms to which any appropriate badges (pilots or observers wings) would be legitimately attached. 

 

In 1918 it was possible for men serving in the RFC/RNAS/RAF to wear the standard RFC 'maternity' jackets, or wear army service dress, or RN/RNVR service dress or, after April '18, RAF service dress. Group photos of RAF men from late 1918 can sometimes show all of these variants being worn by officers and men of the same unit. 

 

EDIT: the thread that you provided a link to relates to an Army officer who I believe was attached to the RAF, and is shown with an observers wing attached to his army uniform, which would be a completely normal practice. 

Edited by headgardener
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1 hour ago, headgardener said:

In 1918 it was possible for men serving in the RFC/RNAS/RAF to wear the standard RFC 'maternity' jackets, or wear army service dress, or RN/RNVR service dress or, after April '18, RAF service dress. Group photos of RAF men from late 1918 can sometimes show all of these variants being worn by officers and men of the same unit. 

 

 

Yes and to confuse things further I think Naval flyers also could wear an army-style jacket with naval insignia.

 

One of these days I'll start a thread looking at a group photo of the personnel of 6 Aircraft Acceptance Park in November 1918 because I think the mix of faces, uniforms, medals etc is fascinating.  A fine assortment of uniforms there.  At least one of the NCOs is wearing a cap with an anchor on it and where officers are wearing RAF rank rings on their sleeves the fabric of the uniform seems to be in at least three different shades!  This is just a section from the centre.

JK_00_009.jpg

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20 minutes ago, pierssc said:

 

Yes and to confuse things further I think Naval flyers also could wear an army-style jacket with naval insignia.

 

One of these days I'll start a thread looking at a group photo of the personnel of 6 Aircraft Acceptance Park in November 1918 because I think the mix of faces, uniforms, medals etc is fascinating.  A fine assortment of uniforms there.  At least one of the NCOs is wearing a cap with an anchor on it and where officers are wearing RAF rank rings on their sleeves the fabric of the uniform seems to be in at least three different shades!  This is just a section from the centre.

JK_00_009.jpg

 

A perfect example of the phenomenon. 

 

Btw, regarding RNAS men in that photo, there are 2 in the front row, 2 in the 2nd row, and it looks like there are a further 2 in the back row. To further confuse matters, the RNAS men are wearing 3 different styles of uniform (one in the back row appears to have an RNAS cap badge but is also wearing an RFC/RAF maternity jacket...). 

Edited by headgardener
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Thanks for that... uniform details aren't my forte but once you know what to look for the RNAS guys sort of stand out.  One of the two NCOs in the front row has a Crown and Eagle cap badge and I wasn't quite confident enough to put him down as ex RNAS.

 

I suppose the Naval element might just reflect the melting pot that the RAF had become by that point, but I know a lot of Naval Camels went through Renfrew AAP so maybe they specialised in the Bentley engines?  I counted up the number of N- prefixed Camels my grandfather (looking very dapper, second from the right in the front row - sitting next to the officer who has half turned to show his good side) tested and/or delivered during his time there - it was 58, and he by no means flew an unbroken sequence of numbers!

 

Anyway, to go back to the opening post.... you probably gathered from headgardener's reply that the "large bib wrap around  like tunic similar to what doctors used to wear" you are referring to is what was known as the RFC Maternity Jacket and there are lots of examples in the photo above.  As for leather coats being appropriated on capture, I wouldn't be at all surprised - it would be fair game to be souvenired particularly if it was better than the one the captor already had!

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42 minutes ago, pierssc said:

Thanks for that... uniform details aren't my forte but once you know what to look for the RNAS guys sort of stand out.

The cap in the first row is the new RAF cap introduced in 1918. It replaced the RNAS and the RFC uniform. The NCO in question could be former RFC, RNAS, or could also have not been in neither and is new to the RAF altogether.

 

The uniforms of this period are anything but "uniform". 

 

This link could provide more clarification or confusion on the topic.

 

 

Ypres 1915

RAF OR's 20.JPG

Edited by Ypres1915
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Here is a great example from the photo. This chap has the new RAF hat with an officers badge. His tunic seems to be the new RAF model.  Of interest are the cuff eagles he wears above his elbow ???? These were supposed to be worn above his rank down by his cuff? This time period was just chaos in terms of uniformity. 

RAF Uniform.jpg

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So what is he?  He seems to have a few medals. 

 

(By the way the mark on his left arm (opposite the eagle badge) is I think a fault on the original print, not a badge.)

 

 

Edited by pierssc
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Muerrish kindly alerted us to these the other day:

 

 

Looking at p.111 of the bigger download, I suggest the chap you selected is a Sergeant-Major.  Officer style cap badge, eagle on upper arm(s), so correctly placed.  What I thought was a fault in the photo may include a bit of the left arm's eagle wing.  But as I say uniforms etc are not my thing and I'm happy to be corrected.  Anyway maybe we should save this for the thread on the photo when I can work out how to pitch it?

 

 

Edited by pierssc
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1 hour ago, Ypres1915 said:

The cap in the first row is the new RAF cap introduced in 1918. It replaced the RNAS and the RFC uniform. The NCO in question could be former RFC, RNAS, or could also have not been in neither and is new to the RAF altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the correction! It's clearly a gap in my knowledge. I thought the 1918 RAF SD cap had a stitched peak rather than a shiny (can't remember the technical term - is it 'brill'?) peak. The 2 fellows on the front row (and the other 4 that I identified as former RNAS) are wearing that style of cap rather than the stitched peak. Is that irrelevant? 

Edited by headgardener
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Untitled-1.jpg.9a7551303066d132d345846126283eff.jpg

 

Well I can see an anchor on the left hand guy's cap, and it looks like the same style of cap (tho a different badge) as the chap's on the right!

 

Untitled-2.jpg.e20f0fdaaef8fc4c6e95f84fbd8c50b9.jpg

 

Looks like a different cap style, but a definite anchor, and a dark jacket

 

 

 

Edited by pierssc
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You are correct, the anchor badge is a RN badge worn by the RNAS. The yellow badge I posted, was worn by NCO's in the RAF. The photo of the chap in the dark jacket is the RN uniform worn in the RNAS which includes his hat. As is stated in the post by several members, the RAF personnel at the time wore a varied style of uniform including army service dress, RFC, RNAS, and RAF uniform. Several of the airmen pictured also wear combinations from this list....... RAF with RNAS, RFC, with RAF, Service Dress with RAF etc....  The take away is, there was no uniformity during this period. Here is a picture of an OR's RAF hat from this period and the button worn on the RAF uniform. Notice on the hat, the shiny peak like a navy hat in the colour of the army. The new RAF uniform was a combination of the navy (RNAS) and and the army (RFC). What is interesting in the photo is I can't seem to see the new OR's RAF uniform although there are several officers wearing the new RAF uniform including the "Russian Blue" version.

 

Thanks,

 

Ypres1915

RAF OR's 17.JPG

RAF OR's 10.JPG

Edited by Ypres1915
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