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Thread: RAF Desert Uniform

  1. #1
    Familiar Face DoolittleRaider's Avatar
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    RAF Desert Uniform

    hello Fellow Loungers!

    im in quite the personal predicament, im trying to create a Uniform that portrays the RAF in the Desert Theatre.

    ive got the basic ideas, what im having trouble with is getting the right insignia placement. so if yall have any pictures or can help me, i would greatly appriciate it!

    i decided to go with the desert uniform instead of the regular blue service dress, mainly becasue i cannot find it anywhere in my size! the only place i could find anything close to the blue service dress was the early war aircrew pattern battle dress, im not sure that it would work for an Eagle Squadron Impression.

    im fairly new to the RAF uniform and i find very little information in the states, maybe the chaps across the pond could possibly help a Yank out?

    im planning to wear it to a hangar dance i have coming up in october in texas.

    thanks again!

  2. #2
    One of the Regulars Sgt Brown's Avatar
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    Don't know if you have already, but you might want to check out What Price Glory for RAF uniforms.

    http://www.whatpriceglory.com/

    Tom
    "The German today is like a June bride. He knows he is going to get it but he doesn't know how big it will be." General Richard "Windy" Gale to the 6th Paras just before D-Day

    WWII Airmen's Preservation Society
    http://www.wwiiaps.webs.com/index.html

  3. #3
    Practically Family Baggers's Avatar
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    Yes, WPG's KD RAF service dress tunic and trousers would be perfect for an officer's impression, but I don't think dressing it out as Eagle Squadron would be accurate. Desert Air Force had Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans and Southern Rhodesians if I recall.

  4. #4
    Call Me a Cab Zemke Fan's Avatar
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    DAF was (at least at one point) a USAAF / RAF joint venture. Check out the patch worn on the US Uniform:



    Also check out THIS site:

    donmooreswartales.com/

    Interesting photo there:

    Last edited by Zemke Fan; 07-12-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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  5. #5
    Practically Family Baggers's Avatar
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    Perhaps after the U.S. entered the war in 1941 and definitely after Torch, but up until then I believe it was an all Empire show. I guess when I think Desert Air Force I go back to 1940 when it was nothing but Gladiators, Hurricanes, Spitfires and Tomahawks against the Italians and then Germans. I'm more of an 8th Army kind of guy and any Yanks would have been fighting with the British and French of the 1st Army as they headed east through Tunisia to meet up with Montgomery. With all due respect to Cpl. Willard, I don't see how he could have been supporting Montgomery at Alamein when it was an all British show. Memories fade and reporters screw things up.

    The patch is interesting, but could it belong to a small liason unit formed after the DAK surrendered in 1943?

    Still, weren't the Eagle Squadrons strictly Battle of Britain stuff after which their members who chose to do so transferred into the USAAF? I'm still trying to figure out an explanation for a yank in RAF KD with an ES patch on his shoulder and it's not working. Wouldn't they all have been in U.S. uniform by then?
    Last edited by Baggers; 07-12-2011 at 08:03 PM.

  6. #6
    New In Town Zig's Avatar
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    The 3 Eagle Squadrons were in existance from late 1940 to Sept 29, 1942, and based in the UK the whole time. So the Blue/Gray 4 pocket Service Dress and Blue/Gray BD uniforms are both correct to use for that. But they did not wear the KD Desert or Tropical RAF Uniforms. Some fellows did stay in the RAF after the Official Transfer, and I believe about three made it to the Desert later in the RAF, but not in Eagle Uniform. About 3-4 made it to the Middle East as well, and one became a prisoner of the Japanese. For the summer uniforms, you could put on the Red "USA" flashes, if you wish to do American.

    If you want to wear the RAF Service Dress, try looking for an original that will fit you. Smaller sizes are out there.

  7. #7
    I'll Lock Up Spitfire's Avatar
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    Of course everybody is free to do what he or she likes - but having a Eagle Squadron badge on a RAF dessert war uniform is just not right.
    ES were - as others all ready have said - in UK only.
    Why not flash a Australian or New Zealand shoulder badge instead?
    And remember: A sweaty "bushjacket", shorts and 1936 pattern flying boots is a must! And great for dancing too

    Here's a bit of inspiration:
    Last edited by Spitfire; 07-13-2011 at 12:02 AM.
    "There I stood at the bar, wearing a Mae West, no jacket, and beginning to leak blood from my torn boot. None of the golfers took any notice of me - after all, I wasn't a member!'

  8. #8
    Call Me a Cab Zemke Fan's Avatar
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    Well, boys, we were ALL a little bit wrong (except Zig). Went to my library this morning and dug out *Desert Eagles* by Humphrey Wynn (1993), which is based on the diaries of two former ES pilots who opted to stay with the RAF and subsequently flew with the DAF. According to Wynn, there were at least four former *eagles* who flew in the desert. That they would have worn an ES patch on their prior duty post shoulder would have fit with USAAF uniform traditions/regulations but not (as I understand it) with the RAF.

    Interesting side note: The DAF as an operational force DID include the USAAF as of Oct. 1942, including the 81st Sqdn., 12th BG (flying B25s). See: *Men of the Desert Air Force,* Chaz Bower (1984).
    Last edited by Zemke Fan; 07-13-2011 at 06:43 AM.
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  9. #9
    Practically Family Baggers's Avatar
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    When all else fails, open a book. Now that that is settled, in the absence of pictures of the actual pilots, let's get to the nitty gritty of insignia. Just tossing out a guess, if the ES squadron patch was worn on the shoulder, unless it was made up in KD cloth (with red embroidery?)it would have not been sewn on, but attached with small press studs for easy removal before laundering, along with any other wool embroidered insignia such as wings or medal ribbons. The only thing sewn on would have been (probably) red on khaki "USA" shoulder flashes, but they could have been incorporated with the shoulder rank lace at the base of the slip on or shoulder board. Sound right?

    And again, just a guess, this probably would have been his best dress uniform reserved for ceremonies and leaves. More than likely his uniform out in "the blue" would have been pretty much as Spitfire indicated, shirt, shorts, flying boots and a bush jacket with rank lace on slip ons and wings at most, all available at WPG.

  10. #10
    Call Me a Cab Zemke Fan's Avatar
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    The Bower book is worth having BECAUSE of the wealth of pilot photos. (My scanner is down or I'd post some.) These guys were a RAG-TAG bunch in the field. Lots and lots of civilian shoes. Mixed-matched uniforms. Scarves. Tan/blue combinations.
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