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  #1  
Old 13-09-11, 07:51 PM
Fred Davis Fred Davis is offline
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Default RAF Brevet identification

Hi, sorry about this, I've posted this twice, but just realised it wasn't in the correct section (i.e RAF), so I've copied & pasted it again!
I'm afraid this is rather long-winded, & I thank you for reading.
I've recently become interested in the RAF, & was looking to find info on some RAF brevets I've been given if possible.
I've trawled the internet, but can't quite find the info I'm after.
They're reproduction half wing brevets with brown wreath surrounding a letter (eg 'B' for Bomb Aimer). I really need to find out which are from the WWII period or not.
I have the following letters on the brevets: RO (Radio operator), D (Driver), MG (Mid Gunner), NG (Nose Gunner), FS (Flight Steward!!-can't be wartime i guess), QM (Quarter Master), FC (Flight Controller), Parachute Jump instructor, O (observer), RAF (Weapons Systems Operator??), W (Weapons Operator), AT (Air Technician), B (Bomb Aimer), N (Navigator), LM (Load Master).
I think the Bomb Aimer, Navigator, Radio Operator, & Para instructor are correct as I've found info on these. All the rest though, I'm not at all sure they are WWII period. I think the Load Master brevet may have been introduced in the early 1950s...not sure though.
Also, I have a feeling the Observer brevet is wrong, & shouldn't have the brown wreath, rather should be just a wing joined to an 'O'.
Thanks in advance for reading all that...I hope someone can help with this...And thanks for what lookis like a great forum.
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  #2  
Old 13-09-11, 10:52 PM
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SAS1 SAS1 is offline
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Hi Fred and welcome

The RO brevet was actually 'Observer, Radio' (basically a radar operator although why the title was back to front I dont know. The QM wing was worn from 1962 and was apparently the first to be worn by women, there being 10 at its introduction. In 1970 it was superceded by the 'LM' Loadmaster wing.

The 'FC' was actually 'Fighter Controller', first worn in 1983 although apparently only ever officially sanctioned in 1988. The Parachute Jump Instructor was introduced in 1945 and continues to this day, while the 'RAF' was introduced only about 6 years ago, effectively replacing the navigator in some aircraft. It should have a crown above the letters.

The 'O' was first introduced in WW1 and worn until 1942. This should be an 'O' alone and without a wreath. The 'B', 'RO', and 'N' were all introduced in WW2, the latter surviving until today I think. 'AT' was worn from 1990.

I'm afraid to say the 'D', 'MG', 'NG', 'FS' and 'W' badges are all fantasy items that have only ever appeared on ebay, and have never been worn or sanctioned by the RAF, MoD or Air Ministry.

To get an indication of date (for example of the N wing which was worn from 1942 onwards) we'd have to see a scan or photo of the badges.

SAS
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  #3  
Old 13-09-11, 11:05 PM
dragon166 dragon166 is offline
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D (Driver), MG (Mid Gunner), NG (Nose Gunner), FS (Flight Steward!W (Weapons Operator) are all fantasy items. As you say, the observer you appear to have is also incorrect. The only WWII items would have been; B, RO, N and PJI, the remainder being much more modern. The QM was replaced by the LM in the 70s. The AT(Aircraft Technician) and FC (Fighter Controller) were introduced for the AWACS (Sentry) aircraft. The one with RAF is the present issue for all non-pilot aircrew (except FC, AT and PJI) but only if it has a Crown above the wreath. Some examples sold on ebay do not have the crown and like the first ones mentioned are fantasy items. There is also a new one, although I haven't seen one yet, IA (Image Analyst) for use on the Sentinel aircraft.
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  #4  
Old 14-09-11, 09:25 AM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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don't forget M for Met. Definitely issued and worn during and after WW II.

A friend, wearing it as Flt Sgt, had to visit Air Min., and was accosted by air commodore: "that wing, Flight Sergeant?".
Straight faced: "Midwife sir! A lot of pregnant ladies on the trooping flights these days!"
"Oh! I see! Carry on!!

thats what he says ...........
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  #5  
Old 14-09-11, 01:08 PM
Fred Davis Fred Davis is offline
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Thanks very much for that. Very helpful & informative.
Interesting to learn a few are fantasy badges. There's no crown over the RAF brevet too. Damn. I wonder why someone came up with the idea...can't be all that lucrative.
Am I correct in thinking that these brevets, which I don't have: E (engineer), S(Signaller), AG (Air Gunner), and WAG (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) along with the M (Met), are the same style brown wreath brevets form WWII period?
Thanks again for the info, exactly what I was after...now, what to do with the fakes?
Cheers.
P.S. I also have four smaller brevets, with a gold bullion wreath & wing surrounding a silver letter. I think (but again am not sure), these are mess dress brevets. I have S (Signaller), WAG, RAF (no crown) and LM...I wonder if these are fantasy brevets too. Hope not as my beginners collection has been halved now due to those fantasy brevets.

Last edited by Fred Davis; 14-09-11 at 01:27 PM.
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  #6  
Old 14-09-11, 04:01 PM
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David Tremain David Tremain is offline
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the WW2 brevets have a canvas backing, whereas later issued ones have a felt backing. I have a Bomb Aimer's brevet that is WW2 and has a canvas backing. David
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  #7  
Old 14-09-11, 04:14 PM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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may I suggest investing in Badges and uniforms of the RAF by Malcolm Hobart ISBN 0-85052-739-2 ?

His illustrated list with notes and descriptions comprises:

pilot
observer
AG [and the earlier flying bullet in gilding metal]
RO
B
N
E
S
M
the parachute for para training
QM
LM
AE
FC
AT

Last edited by grumpy; 14-09-11 at 04:15 PM. Reason: typo .... senility
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  #8  
Old 14-09-11, 05:47 PM
dragon166 dragon166 is offline
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Yes, E (engineer), S(Signaller), AG (Air Gunner), and WAG (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) along with the M (Met), are the same pattern of white letters in a brown wreath. As for your smaller gold wire badges, they are for mess dress. However, as they are private purchase items, the design do vary - especially in size of the wing. But they all have one thing in common - they should be on a base material of RAF blue/grey and not black as per the full size badges. Again ebay is festooned with rubbish versions embroidered on a black background - beware!
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  #9  
Old 14-09-11, 11:32 PM
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Fred

The wartime brevets were: O, AG, RO, E, N, B, S, PJI (Parachute), and M. The O as discussed is unique in having no wreath, the rest are of the same pattern. The WAG, FE (Flight Engineer) and AE (Air Engineer) were also worn, but were never authorised by the Air Ministry. This came about in the latter as the trade of Flight Engineer or Air Engineer was announced which set tailors off making the FE and AE wings. When the official badge was authorised it was simply an E. There were issue badges but many tailors produced their own for private purchase when ordering a uniform. I ahve a couple of WAG and an FE wing (including a WAG wing on a DFC winners tunic). The AE was introduced officially in the 60s as 'Air Electronics' and worn for years.

The M wing was authorised in March 1945. I Have one from a met man, who tells me that he had worn a converted N wing from 1942. Likewise the PJI was introduced only in April 1945 replacing a sleeve trade badge.

Wireless Ops originally were dual traned and so wore the AG half wing and telecommunications badge on the sleeve. later the trade was dedicated and the AG gave way to the S wing. Likewise the O wing was replaced in 1942 by the B and N wings.

Re the other points, as wings were both issued and private purchase numerous backings can be found.

The Hobart book is generally regarded as being very poor, and is probably best used as a very general guide only. He makes no distinction between wartime and post war badges, and its illustrated with repro badges, originals and in one case a badly mothed example!

Dragon gives all the relevant details of the Mess dress wings. I'm not sure ive seen the 'RAF' wing so not certain if it has a crown, but I'd assume so.
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  #10  
Old 15-09-11, 02:25 AM
dragon166 dragon166 is offline
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Default brevets

The following pics should help. The smaller versions were worn by Poles, Czechs etc.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Brevets4.jpg (55.2 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets5.jpg (57.6 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets6.jpg (55.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets7.jpg (49.9 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets8.jpg (55.7 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets12.jpg (62.1 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets1.jpg (61.9 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets2.jpg (60.1 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Brevets3.jpg (41.3 KB, 34 views)

Last edited by dragon166; 15-09-11 at 02:35 AM.
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  #11  
Old 15-09-11, 09:26 AM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAS1 View Post
Fred

The wartime brevets were: O, AG, RO, E, N, B, S, PJI (Parachute), and M. The O as discussed is unique in having no wreath, the rest are of the same pattern. The WAG, FE (Flight Engineer) and AE (Air Engineer) were also worn, but were never authorised by the Air Ministry. This came about in the latter as the trade of Flight Engineer or Air Engineer was announced which set tailors off making the FE and AE wings. When the official badge was authorised it was simply an E. There were issue badges but many tailors produced their own for private purchase when ordering a uniform. I ahve a couple of WAG and an FE wing (including a WAG wing on a DFC winners tunic). The AE was introduced officially in the 60s as 'Air Electronics' and worn for years.

The M wing was authorised in March 1945. I Have one from a met man, who tells me that he had worn a converted N wing from 1942. Likewise the PJI was introduced only in April 1945 replacing a sleeve trade badge.

Wireless Ops originally were dual traned and so wore the AG half wing and telecommunications badge on the sleeve. later the trade was dedicated and the AG gave way to the S wing. Likewise the O wing was replaced in 1942 by the B and N wings.

Re the other points, as wings were both issued and private purchase numerous backings can be found.

The Hobart book is generally regarded as being very poor, and is probably best used as a very general guide only. He makes no distinction between wartime and post war badges, and its illustrated with repro badges, originals and in one case a badly mothed example!

Dragon gives all the relevant details of the Mess dress wings. I'm not sure ive seen the 'RAF' wing so not certain if it has a crown, but I'd assume so.
Sorry I spoke, I shall leave it to the grownups.
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  #12  
Old 15-09-11, 12:49 PM
Fred Davis Fred Davis is offline
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Thanks people. Very interesting.

I've just had quite a brash letter form the people who supplied the brevets. He reckons they're the experts & that the brevets are ALL genuine.
In his email he says he found info on all the badges on the net, but even with his help I still can't find the same info. He says look at wikipedia...
I copied and pasted the first paragraph he wrote regarding the NG brevet, and the first part of his paragraph appeared to be copied from wikipedia, but then none of the rest of his info regarding the actual NG brevet is present.
I can't find anything on the net which he describes.
He's an ex-RAF Navigator, so you'd think he'd know the facts...I'm afraid it's a long read, but I'll copy & paste my email & his reply here:

Hello,
Thanks for the recent delivery of RAF brevets.
I've been informed that the following brevets are known as fantasy brevets, basically fakes that the RAF have never used: NG, RAF, MG, W, D, O, FC.
I found this surprising as I believe there is an ex RAF WO working at ****...
Are those brevets mentioned actually genuine, or are they "fantasy badges"?
I must admit I can find no info on the net regarding them.
Not sure what to do about feedback now. ~I realise I have bought the items out of free will, buyer beware etc, but they are advertised as RAF brevets, which in fact, they are not.
P.S. I'm working away from home for quite a while, so my landline phone can't be answered.

....his reply:
Dear Sir
Its a great pity you are uncontactable by phone because i would have enjoyed talking to you about these items and your concerns as it seems in the 5 years since we were licensed to manufacture these items I have had the self same conversations over and over again and over that period have been fairly well armed with the details to counter any "ghost brevet" claims you see.
I would have also loved to know whom the "expert" was whom directed you to these being ghost brevets and not acurate etc etc as i also enjoy talking to these people directly because you see we are actually a licensed MOD contractor / manufacturer and as such we manufacture these items directly from known MOD specifications and details and as such do not get into the realms of manufacturing fakes as so many like to claim and will say that all of the brevets you mentions have sold by the hundreds over the period we have made them to both collectors, living history groups and directly via contract to the MOD themselves not to mention the museums etc etc so as you can see when discussing experts , WE ARE the experts !!!

I can understand how easy it is to get pulled into the questioning of these items because so many are obsolete from so long ago with little reference material available however even the quickest of glances by myself has shown me there is a plethora of details about these items on google and wikipedia easily read by those whom look so wikipedia is your friend sir, please feel free to go and have a look personally as its all out there and you will also find a number of time honoured old companies also selling these brevets so again please feel free to peruse.
The one thing that does puzzle me further on this is that you question brevets that are currently in use as well and currently worn by RAF personnel so the "expert" advice is wayward at best i think you may agree if these experts dont even know what is currently worn within the current RAF set up wouldn't you agree????

Yes there is a former RAF Wo here as well as many other lads whom are all former RAF and as such i am unsure as to why you would mention him personally in a slightly derogatory manner please explain sir???

I am also unsure as to why if you believe these items to be fakes you purchased them initially??? however may i say that along with all the free ones we sent to you as well within the package you received you are more than welcome to send them all back for a full refund as we cannot and will not get into arguments about the validity of brevets when we are manufacturing them from direct MOD spec or are the MOD wrong also ??? you see my point but as i say i find it strange that some of those you question are currently in use but that wasn't know by the expert whom advised you sir hence i would have loved to have discussed this directly with you.

Please let me know if you wish to return them all including the free ones we included towards your collection , I noticed that within the e mail calling them fakes, fantasy and so on there was no mention of our generosity in sending the free ones as well or didn't you realise we had done so , maybe someone else opened the batch ?? however please feel free to send them all back for a full refund if your not fully satisfied with them or i can get them picked up from you as we have a buying office only 6 miles from your location sir who can save you postage costs and discuss it further if you wish .

to help matters i have included here a breakdown with some random and quickly found info online to help with your enquiry sir


A nose gunner or front gunner is a crewman on a Royal Air Force WW2 military aircraft who operates a machine gun turret in the front, or "nose", of the airplane. This position was usually manned by someone who only operated the gun, however, the nose gunner could have a dual role (navigation, bombardier, etc but all of whom would wear a NG Brevett if they were a nose gunner primarily.
Now obsolete and has been since May 1950



A middle gunner is a crewman on a Royal Air Force WW2 military aircraft who operates a machine gun turret or turret ball in the middle, or "waist", of the airplane. This position was usually manned by someone who only operated the gun, however, the middle gunner could have a dual role (navigation, bombardier, etc but all of whom would wear a MG Brevet if they were a Middle Gunner primarily.

Now obsolete and has been since May 1950



A Driver D brevet was used by drivers allocated to senior officers during WW2 , usually these posts were manned by injured airmen no longer able to crew but still able to drive with knowledge and experience of flight operations.

Now obsolete and has been since February 1950 when the post became obsolete.



The Brevet RAF was initially used primarily by rear air crew,dealt with inertial and satellite based automated sensor systems, this brevett was used to cover the changing roles of the Navigator / AEO and this brevett was introduced in April 2003 to cover these changing roles. It will eventually be the only brevett given to back seat crew.

The first issue has a crown on top but the crown was removed to a base brevett in June 2004.

first issued in may 2003 and currently worn.

Check out RAF Cranwell where the Air warfare training centre is based.



The Weapons system operator / officer W revet has been in use with the RAF since April 2003 and is currently used within the RAF formerly known as air electronics operator primarily operating weapons and rescue systems on aircraft such as AWACS, Sea King , ASTOR and others.

Curretly in use within the RAF!!!

Check out wsop.homestead.com/files/wsop.html & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircrew_brevet



The Observer brevet O is an aircrew member whose job was predominantly recon work , originated with the RFC but the wing was continued by the RAF.
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_observer

please feel free to check it on google sir and come back to me if your not 1000% happy now
regards
Former Navigator RAF

It is very confusing. Any ideas???
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  #13  
Old 15-09-11, 01:36 PM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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I am no expert except on detecting drivel. My drivel detector is at 100 decibels right now.
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Old 15-09-11, 02:22 PM
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rhodesianmilitaria rhodesianmilitaria is offline
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He's a former RAF Navigator and he can't even get his punctuation and spelling right.

If I was going to use a reference to corroborate that something is genuine I certainly wouldn't be using or quoting Wikipedia as a source.
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Peter


Collector of medals and militaria to Rhodesian Parachute Jump Instructors and Southern Rhodesian and Rhodesian Paratrooper Wings, Brevets, AD and Despatcher Wings.

When learning stops ignorance flourishes — PG
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Old 15-09-11, 06:35 PM
dragon166 dragon166 is offline
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None of the gentlemans references bear any relation to what he is telling you. For further links try these;
http://www.rafweb.org/Badges3.htm - even shows the new IA wing
http://www.rafweb.org/Badges3A.htm

Additionally, below is a link to the present RAF Dress Regulations - amended up to 2008, so even his comments about todays badges don't hold water.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafi...7DCDE87EBE.pdf
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