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  #1  
Old 07-07-21, 10:11 AM
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Default WW2 RNZAF Metal Wings

The RNZAF used metal wings and half wings on tropical uniforms in the Pacific theatre at the end of the war, the pilots wings often found dated 1944 and maker marked 'M & K' for 'Mayer and Keane'.

I have a set of these wings, and also an S wing, N wing E wing and AG wing, all of them in my collection for 12 years plus. I have been looking out for a B wing, but was there such an item? Or have I been looking for something that doesn't exist?

If there was such a wing, does anyone have a photo, or better still an example for sale?
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  #2  
Old 07-07-21, 11:48 AM
nbroadarrowz nbroadarrowz is offline
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The RNZAF white metal wings were introduced under ADO A.261/44 of 28th June 1944. The badges introduced where pilots, navigators, air gunners and flight engineers. These are the only 4 designations that were worn during WW2. All others are post war or made in the field.
If you want to know more, including their individual stores numbers please see page 366 of my new book.
https://www.trademe.co.nz/a/marketpl...5&bof=mqCdWYwj
Barry
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  #3  
Old 07-07-21, 11:36 PM
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Barry, that looks like a great book. I am planning one of my own on the Commonwealth Air Forces, primarily the RAF 1939-45, although I have some of the stores Nos, and Air Force orders for RNZAF bits.

Where can I get a copy of the book? I'm in the UK so can't use 'Trade Me'.

As for the other wings, do you have a confirmed date of introduction for the metal 'S' wing? It explains why I havent found the B wing Ive been searching for for years though!
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  #4  
Old 08-07-21, 04:58 AM
nbroadarrowz nbroadarrowz is offline
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The books are $89.00 each plus postage of $67.00 to the USA and UK, $32.00 to Australia and $10.00 within NZ. (all prices are NZ dollars and I accept Pay Pal). Please PM me if you would like a copy.
I have had very positive feedback from British, Australian and USA collectors who have the book and the numbers sold to these countries is surprisingly pleasing.
540 pages, soft cover with end flaps, each book weights about 1.8 kgs.
Thanks
Barry
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  #5  
Old 16-11-21, 10:25 AM
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Nichollg Nichollg is offline
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I agree with nboardarrowz only RNZAF metal wings used during WW2 were Pilot, N, E and AG.
S was a post war issue used during the 1950s and 60s
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  #6  
Old 16-11-21, 05:43 PM
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Its interesting. Although I accept that the first issue of the metal wings in June 1944 did not include the 'S' wing, I've yet to come across a confirmed date of introduction for the metal 'S' wing into RNZAF service, or the 'S' wing in general, or confirmation that no 'S' wing was ever worn in metal unofficially.

In the case of the Royal Air Force the new 'S' wing was approved by the King under Kings Order 521 of 5th October 1943, after which it was passed to the Air Ministry who authorised the new category of 'Signaller' (not Air Signaller) in November 1943 under Air Ministry Order A.1242/43, which stated that the title 'Signaller' replaced the previous title of 'Wireless Operator / Air Gunner'. The associated 'S' half wing badge was not approved for wear by the Air Ministry until 6th January 1944, under Air Ministry Order A.3/44.

If the RNZAF approved the 'S' wing and/or 'Signaller' category prior to August 1945 wouldn't they have authorised a metal version too, not least as they aircraft such as the Lockheed Hudson and Beaufort operating in the Pacific?

I was also looking around to find an image of a post war 'S' wing and this site https://www.jsmilitaria.com/royal-ne...air-force.html has the comment 'I also believe that there is a "S" half wing for Signaller in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, but these are rather scarce if its a WW2 era one. They seem to have been made from excess "N" or Navigators half wings, with an "S" added to the front, but you can still see the impression of the "N" to back.'

I have had a look at my four half wings (sorry, I forgot to photo the front!). The 'AG', 'E' and 'N' all have the 'M & K, W' marking. The 'S' wing seems cast aluminium, and if there was a marking in the normal place its covered by the lug. The lugs on the first three are circular and neatly attached, on the 'S' wing it is a U shape and not so cleanly attached (photo No. 3 with a comparison in No. 4). It doesn't appear to be a post war chromed type in either material or manufacture.
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  #7  
Old 19-11-21, 08:27 PM
KapitiDave KapitiDave is offline
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Heres my collection of these. Note the S has a N at back ao S must have been placed on top at some stage.
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  #8  
Old 20-11-21, 12:30 AM
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A lovely set there KapitiDave, thank you for posting them.

Your S wing certainly proves conclusively the existence of converted 'N' wings, as mentioned previously. It begs the question why? It would logically be when metal 'S' wings were not officially issued, but clearly after the 'S' wing was generally (in cloth) in use otherwise. So, if the S wing was in use, but the metal version had not been authorised, it would be logical that some blokes had some made, and I'd think this was probably not a one off.

Yours is certainly a converted 'N' wing, mine has a better 'S' (IE of the exact same style to the 'N', 'AG' and 'E') and might be cast. But I think it goes to prove that S wings were certainly in use before official issues.

It reminds me of the RAFs Meteorological Air Observer 'M' wing. I have a 1945 issue wing from the man who was issued it. In a letter to me he said he was flying as a 'Met Man' from 1942, and from that date had an 'N' wing reworked into an 'M' wing (which he still had although sadly I didn't see it) which he wore operationally from 1942. The 'M' wing was officially authorised in the spring of 1945.
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  #9  
Old 27-11-21, 12:44 PM
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Nichollg Nichollg is offline
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Hi. Interesting discussion, thought I would offer my 2 cents worth

RNZAF Air Signaler (talking RNZAF at home and in the pacific here, not EATS or other 'RNZAF in RAF' serviceman)

The RNZAF did not split Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (WOp/AG) as the RAF did. They retained the dual qualification and award of the 'AG' brevet (as did the RAAF and RCAF). This is why there are no RNZAF wartime 'S' brevets in cloth or metal

At the end of the war all aircrew training was suspended (and AG was abolished altogether, expect for 4 which were trained ad-hoc for 5 sqn in 1949). Between 1945 and 1952 Wireless Operators were drawn from experienced ex-wartime aircrew or ground wireless operators and trained on an ad-hoc bases by the respective squadron (generally 5 sqn, I believe).
In 1952 training was restarted with the establishment of the Air Navigator and Air Signals School and official training of Air Signalers commenced. I believe, this will be when the 'S' brevet was officially established within the RNZAF.
I would say that the converted versions of the 'S' metal brevet, discussed above, were 'created' to be worn by those trained between 1945 and 1952 (or until stock of the new brevet was sourced) as an unofficial award along the lines of the RAF 'S' brevet.
Just to finish the loop, Air Signals was phased out with the introduction of the Air Electronic Officer/Operators from 1966.

I have attached a picture of the 'S' metal brevet in my collection, which I believe is an official version and is of consistent construction with the other metal brevets from the 1960s 'Pilot', 'QM' & 'AE' (I wonder if the 'N' and 'E' brevets made in this period were made using the original 1944 dies).
Padre maybe your 'S' is an unfinished version (not chromed) of the 1960s metal brevet as it appears to be similar just unfinished (though I would need to see the front).
1970s construction has slight differences (the font and the back) to the 1960s and includes all trades 'N', 'E', 'AE', 'AO', 'LM', 'HC' and 'Canopy' (PJI) of the period.

One final thing relating the RAF
Quote:
Air Ministry Order A.1242/43, which stated that the title 'Signaller' replaced the previous title of 'Wireless Operator / Air Gunner'
I believe the title Wireless Operator/Air Gunner was replaced by the title Wireless Operator(Air) (WOp(AIR)) and that Signaller wasn't used mid 1945 sometime. This may have been clarified by the AMO A.244/1944 dated 23 March which amplified AMO A.1242/1943 (one reference for this is "Observers and Navigators" by WGCDR (RTD) C.G Jefford updated and expanded edition pg 259&260)
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Old 28-11-21, 03:32 PM
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Hi Nicollg

Thanks for your comments and observations, all very interesting, and closer to what I am trying to find.

It is evident that there are / were metal wings that were made and issued before the ‘proper’ versions were issued. When, it’s hard to know. Certainly an ‘S’ converted from a N was one, while mine appears cast aluminium, possibly from a mould using another wing. Mine is not solid like yours, so is certainly not an unfinished 1960s example, while the lower leg of the 'S' is longer than yours. Mine looks almost die struck, thinner than cast but rougher than die struck, and compared to my three others, ever so slightly rougher on the face. Interestingly it looks like the impression of an ‘S’ on the back, but it isn’t as its higher up on the back than on the front. All my wings are marked 'M & K, W', with the pilots wings additionally having the '44'. The 'S' wing however has no markings, although the usual place (by the lower lug) is covered by 'weld'.

Going by your thoughts, these ‘unofficial/converted’ metal S wings could have started to appear sometime in 1945?

With regards the RAF, as 1943 was drawing to a close it was becoming apparent that the dual trade of ‘wireless operator / air gunner’ was becoming redundant, and so from November 9th that year all Wop/AGs were remustered as ‘Wireless Operator (Air)’, with the trade of ‘wireless operator/air gunner’ being declared obsolete in December.

The ‘S’ wing was primarily introduced for Warrant Officers and officers who had been ‘wireless operator/air gunners’ who were reclassified as ‘Wireless Operator (Air)’. Previously the badges worn were the ‘AG’ Air Gunner wing for the gunner portion, and the ‘fist and sparks’ for the wireless portion. After reclassification the ‘AG’ wing was withdrawn, leaving them no badge to show their trade, as the ‘fist and sparks’ (being a trade badge) was not permitted to be worn by officers and Warrant Officers. The solution was the ‘S’ Signaller wing, was introduced on 6th January 1944 under AMO A.3/44 with the title ‘Signaller’ certainly in widespread use by mid-1944, not least as it was the official designation of the badge then worn. I have a large collection to a Flying Officer signaller who completed a tour of operations on Halifax’s (uniforms, flying gear and paperwork) and he is noted or described as ‘Signaller’ in official papers throughout.

The RAAF also introduced the ‘S’ wing in 1944, the title being ‘Wireless operator (Air)’ as well.
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  #11  
Old 03-12-21, 06:50 AM
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Nichollg Nichollg is offline
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Hi Padre,

The front appears to be similar to mine (or wreath appears to be a bit worn). The S certainly looks the same, even has the little flat spot in the lower curve.
Though, yes, the back is another thing. You can make out the S indentation on my, though it is hard to capture in a photo.

Quote:
Going by your thoughts, these ‘unofficial/converted’ metal S wings could have started to appear sometime in 1945?
Yes could have, though I think it is more likely to be have after 1945

Quote:
The RAAF also introduced the ‘S’ wing in 1944, the title being ‘Wireless operator (Air)’ as well.
Yes, sorry you are correct. That was my error.

More research needed I think.

Cheers
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