Americans in the RAF

Discussion in 'WWII' started by kiltie, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. kiltie

    kiltie Practically Family

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    First off, I'd like to thank Smithy for getting me a "starter kit" of information on this subject, via PM.

    The main question I want to pose concerns uniforms. I've seen a few pictures of this sort of thing:

    http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj290/safdkiltie/2ERS00383.jpg

    The U.S. pilot wings over the left breast, RAF on the right. What I can't seem to find is an example of a tropical shirt, wool or cotton, with the same arrangement.
    My interests and limited knowledge are currently in the Pacific. The picture linked to above is of a man named Lt. Robert T. Davis (who received the Distinguished Service Cross after effecting a rescue under particularly dangerous circumstances ). He served with the 2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron in the Pacific, but that's about all I can find on him. Another picture on the site I cribbed the one above from shows him in what looks to be a cotton shirt; dress wings over the left pocket and his rank insignia on the collar. However, this obviously isn't a definative representation of the uniform. As you go through the photos on the 2nd Emergency Rescue Sqdn website, the officers and men wear all manner of uniform in various stages of formality ( and lack thereof...): wings, no wings, rank, no rank, patches, no patches, etc...
    So, back to the original question:
    Would a US pilot who had formerly served with the RAF wear both devices on a summer/tropical wool or cotton shirt?

    As long as the thread is open, I invite any and all discussion and information about Americans serving with the RAF and commonwealth; resources such as books, websites, and so on. Whatever you care to share or discuss, as my question is a very specific one.

    Thanks to whomever can address my original question.
     
  2. Silver Dollar

    Silver Dollar Practically Family

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    I've seen pictures like that in the past. It seems to be an oral condition called cataflexia. It stems from the transition from Spitfires to Mustangs or Thunderbolts. When you try to pull too many G's in the subsequent aircraft, it results in a rearrangement of the oral musculature. As you can see, the victim's eyes have drooped to the left indicating a hard right spin. The treatment is difficult but the patient usually returns to a normal facial configuration. :p :p lol :confused: :whistling
     
  3. kiltie

    kiltie Practically Family

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    Indeed -
    and here I was thinking it was simply the result of eating English food.
     
  4. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    Kiltie, good to see you've put a thread up here.

    As I said in my PM to you, this is not my main area of research but here are a few book ideas to get you started.

    Philip Caine's "American Pilots in the RAF" is not a bad book if you are after reading material. And two first hand accounts that I have read and enjoyed are:

    "Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Warm Beer" (LeRoy Glover's memoirs produced with the help of Philip Caine) and "Fighter Pilot" (the autobiography of Bill Dunn, the first American ace of the war).

    Cheers!
     
  5. Silver Dollar

    Silver Dollar Practically Family

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    The English food simply accelerates the process. If you increase the amount of English food, the problem will eventually self correct. Just remember to wait an hour before you fly. You don't want cramps. English Channel you know.
     
  6. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

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    Regarding books:
    I bought this by mistake - but if you want to read the story of how
    9 American pilots won the Battle of Britain almost singlehanded :p :p ;) , get Alex Kershaws's. "The Few".

    Besides that I can truely recommend John Godfrey's "The Look of Eagles" (Abebooks still has used copies) and Goodsons "Overpaid, oversexed and overhere". Both are great books of the service first in RAF and later in the Eaglesquadrons and finally in 4th FG.
     
  7. doctor dan

    doctor dan New in Town

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    A little off subject but I would like to know if anyone has information on Black Americans in the RCAF or RAF. My dad told me that one of his friends went up to Canada and joined the RCAF at the beginning of the war but that is all the information he would give me. He was already a pilot and since he couldn"t fly here, he went to Canada. He like my dad could pass so a lot of people did not know, but I still doubted my dad until I saw pictures of minority pilots and aircrew member on the RAF Museum site. Goes to show you, always beleive your dad. My dad would never talk about the war, the only thing he told me was sitting in his fox hole being shelled by 88's and freezing. Being a Georgia boy it was hard to get use to the coldest winter on record. He said the thing that bothered him most were the smells of the fallen and having to go into the concentration camps. He was Army Corp of Engineers, so you got to build bridges while being attacked and clear mine fields. This one conversation took place one morning, and now you have as much information as I do.
     
  8. kiltie

    kiltie Practically Family

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    Funny you should mention that just now. I was cruising around the internet trying to answer my own question when I came on some hits for "The Few". One led me to a forum discussing a movie Michael Mann had on tap, but seems to have been cancelled. It seems, at one point, the movie was to have starred Tom Cruise.
    The forum was clearly British or British dominated, and they were HAMMERING I guess what they see as the U.S. perception of the way things went down "over there", and in WWII in general.
    This was a bit of a double edged sword - I was very pleased to find that people in England believe that the general American target demographic for these sorts of movies even has a clue that the world existed prior to their birth. However, I was a bit disappointed I couldn't log on an tell them: "Hey...I'm cool! I know about....stuff..."
    Ultimately, it was nice to read that the Brits on this particular site take great pride in the men who fought the BoB. I'm not an American apologist by ANY stretch, but I don't have to wave my flag in everyone else's face either. It was neat to see that the regular internet surfing folk of the UK hadn't forgotten their heroes.

    Anyway, let me assure everyone who's added to the thread that I don't have any misconception about the U.S. pilots' contributions to the RAF were. And that men from other countries also flew with the RAF. Just looking for something in particular.
     
  9. JPH

    JPH Familiar Face

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    Oh, come on. Simply EVERYONE knows that the Second World War started with the attack on Pearl Harbor.....

    Joseph
    lol
     
  10. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    Kiltie, the problem with Kershaw's book "The Few" for me is that the book is literally littered with inaccuracies. As I have an interest in Billy Fiske, one of the Americans covered in the book, I was very interested in it and ordered it as soon as it was released. When I received it I wasn't thrilled, I found that there were lots and lots of errors and the parts with Fiske were a rehash of all the facts and fallacies that had previously been printed in various magazines and other books, there appeared to be no new research at all. For goodness sake, Mr Kershaw couldn't even get Fiske's place of birth right!
     
  11. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

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    If you read the book (Did you?) and don't believe it to be a credible source for the question at hand, why did you bother to bring it up?
     
  12. kiltie

    kiltie Practically Family

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


    I'd say being warned off of bad information is nearly as good as getting reliable information. Smithy seems to second the questionable nature of Kershaw's book. I can't say I'd vouch for these guys in court just yet, but Spitfire and Smithy do seem to be the resident experts ( without being overbearing or condescending ).
    Happy to have a variety of sources...
    Besides, I'm sure it would be more benificial to me, personally, to get a better overall view of the BoB, then start wittling it down, as far as history is concerned.
     
  13. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    While Canada admitted blacks to join the military generally by the second world war, there was still discrimination in the area of flight crew. A sample google search turned up this article on "Canada's First Black Airman", Gerry Bell:

    http://pw20c.mcmaster.ca/case-study/canada-s-first-black-airman-gerry-bell

    I couldn't turn up any references to black pilots or navigators.
     
  14. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

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    While not a BOB pilot, I was lucky enough to meet and talk to on many occasions Bill Dunn an Eagle squadron pilot! He never said he was anything more then one of the Americans who was lucky enough to fly in and survive the war! Getting back to the original post, it is common in the US military for pilots to wear the wings of their former service on their right breast! My cousin wears his senior Air Force silver wings on the left and his gold Marine wings on his right. Now he flies drones.
     
  15. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

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    Because - even with all the faults and mistakes, Smithy mentions - it might be just the book Kiltie and others were looking for, since it only describes US pilots in Battle of Britain.
    And - yes - I did read it. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to talk about it, would I?
     
  16. Spitfire

    Spitfire I'll Lock Up

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    ...and it was a US submarine that got hold of the ENIGMA codemachine before US even entered the war!
    lol lol
     
  17. Zemke Fan

    Zemke Fan Call Me a Cab

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    On Hiatus. Really. Or Not.
  18. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    Can't say I have Fred but there was an article about this in one of the British daily newspapers a couple of years back if I remember correctly.

    I'll put in a recommendation for Dahl's "Going Solo" though whilst we are mentioning him, great book. Many people don't know that he was a fighter pilot with the RAF.
     
  19. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD One Too Many

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    I have the book, but have not yet gotten around to reading it. I'll have to have a look at it.
     
  20. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

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    I assume we are talking about the same book then.
    1. Nowhere in the book does it imply that 9 American's won the Battle of Britain single handedly.
    2. The story is about 7 pilots not 9.
    3. The story is not just from the perspective of the American pilots but form the British and German as well.
    Inaccuracies aside, the book is well written and informative.
    I don't think that is the impression he got.
    Interview with Alex Kershaw.
    http://www.thefewbook.com/interview.mp3
     

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