Royal Flying Corps Pilot
WW2 brevets



Pilots who had earned RFC wings prior to April 1st 1918, who through continuing service transferred into the Royal Air Force with its formation on April 1st 1918, (officially replacing the Royal Flying Corps), were immediately required to wear the wings of the new service. The same was true of the Observers, except that to all intents and purposes the Observer badges were identical, not bearing service identifiers per se.

Pilots and Observers of the RFC who completed service before April 1st 1918 who did not continue in service with the Royal Air Force, but who volunteered or were called to active duty, (most usually in the RAF/RCAF but also in the British and Canadian Army), for the build up to and duration of WW2, but who were not assigned to flying duties because of age or fitness considerations, also wanted to wear the honourific badge of the pilot or Observer, for which they had once qualified. Former Observers were permitted to wear the current Observer brevet if they had previously qualified for it, as it was the same. There was a strong movement by the former RFC pilots to be recognised and to be allowed to wear the RFC pilot brevet also. Naturally some 30 years after the demise of the RFC, new brevets would be needed and mostly Canadian firms such as Scully of Montreal turned out a quantity of these brevets in various designs, most of which matched the current trends in RAF/RCAF brevets.

However, despite frequent lobbying, former RFC pilots not qualified to wear RAF/RCAF wings were not permitted to wear old or newly made RFC wings on RAF/RCAF uniforms as the RFC no longer existed. If they had not flown with the RAF after April 1st 1918, they were also not allowed to wear the RAF or RCAF pilot brevet, for which they were considered unqualified.

This disparity caused a great deal of individual grief.

Naturally, some former RFC pilots had continued to fly after WW1 in a civilian capacity and some were still considered fit to fly in service and were officially re-qualified for RAF or RCAF wings, usually in a training capacity, or were recruited into the Elementary Flying Training Schools and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and wore the respective wings appropriate to those organisations.

It should be noted however, that there is ample evidence that despite the official ban on the wearing of new or old RFC badges on RAF/RCAF and Army uniform, some individuals did manage to wear them for extended periods in active service during WW2. Non-the-less, these wings should be viewed merely as commemorative wings rather than qualification wings.



Click on the images to see a larger version and the back of the wing/badge, if available



#1. Royal Flying Corps, ww2 British made

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    September 30th 2004
    Chris Langley
    sewn
    flat



    This thin flat badge is a very utilitarian example of a British made commercial wing.

#2. Royal Flying Corps, Canadian made, on grey

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    September 30th 2004
    Windrum Collection
    sewn
    padded canvas rear



    This Canadian made example (not made by Scully) is unusually sewn into a grey backing.

#3. Royal Flying Corps, Canadian made by Scully of Montreal

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    September 30th 2004
    Anon
    sewn
    padded



    This is a classical example bearing the clear marks of being a Scully of Montreal made badge. For recognition purposes, Scully have a unique signature of placing an extra "line" immediately beneath the rim of the crown. It is also common for Scully wings to have a light coloured backing. The wings are sewn with the familiar Canadian "pink" thread.

#4. Royal Flying Corps, Canadian made by Scully of Montreal


press HERE for additional view of rear

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    September 30th 2004
    Anon
    sewn
    flat



    This is a larger view of a similar Scully badge at #3, and sewn with a whiter cotton for the wings and using a course lightly coloured material at the rear.

#5. Royal Flying Corps, Canadian made by Scully of Montreal

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    September 30th 2004
    Anon
    sewn
    lightly padded



    This Scully made badge is somewhat irregular in form and appears to have two versions of a wing, one to left (horizontal) and one to right (lifted), both of which were use din period Scully badges. the crown is also distorted.

#6. Royal Flying Corps, Canadian made by Scully of Montreal on Tan

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    September 30th 2004
    Windrum Collection
    sewn
    Lightly padded



    This Scully badge was obviously made for a former RFC flyer in Army service for WW2.

#7. Royal Flying Corps, possibly Australian made

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    September 30th 2004
    Anon
    sewn
    flat



    This very unusual wing appears generally similar in form detail to the wings of Australia. Some Australian pilots were attached to the RFC. Australia had a lax policy in general to the wearing of their own Australian Flying Corps wings by previously qualified pilots on Australian Air Force and later on Royal Australian Air Force Uniforms after the 1921 demise of the AFC, so it is possible that former RFC qualified pilots in RAAF service may have been "permitted" to wear a wing such as this. It is a fanciful item and may have been specially made for the individual rather than mass produced.