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Old 07-06-19, 11:08 AM
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GTB GTB is offline
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Default early RAF/RNAS buttons

I have always been led to believe that the first buttons used by the RAF were in fact the roped edge RNAS type.

I have been revisiting my thoughts about the early RAF insignia and I am inclined to believe that the first RAF buttons were not actual RNAS buttons per se but based on the design employed in RNAS buttons. In fact, the "Flight Global" of April 4, 1918 cites for the uniform jacket "The buttons are the RNAS type - i.e., gilt metal with with bird surmounted by crown" . There is no mention of the roped edge. And if one compares both buttons (RAF & RNAS) then the same design of bird and crown are evident.

I would welome members comments on this subject

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Old 07-06-19, 01:47 PM
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Guzzman Guzzman is offline
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Default earlyRAF/RNAS buttons

With all due respect, I'm not quite sure what the problem is here!

The first buttons used by the RAF WERE RNAS buttons with the rope edging. This was partly because there were many thousands of them in stores. And for the first buttons to be stated to be 'RNAS type' seems quite reasonable. You even stated yourself that you had always believed that the first RAF buttons 'were the rope edged RNAS type'.

By the date you quoted, 4th April 1918, the RNAS had ceased to exist, so to refer to RAF buttons as being of RNAS 'type' would be correct. It IS odd that they don't refer to the roped border but they hardly give a very exact description of the button - they simply refer to the eagle as a 'bird'!

When the time came for the RAF to order a new stock of buttons in 1921 they dropped the rope edging as this was considered to be too naval - being worn on the buttons of all Royal Navy officers. However, they retained the crown and eagle which had previously been worn by the direct entry officers of the Royal Naval Air Service and which were not worn by any members of the other two services by that time. And of course the eagle was a quite appropriate bird to have on the buttons of the nation's air-warfare service. Which is one of the reasons that it had been adopted for use by the RNAS in the first place!

Please excuse me if I sounded too dismissive of your suggestion at the beginning of my reply - I certainly didn't mean to be!

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Old 07-06-19, 01:56 PM
Pembird Pembird is offline
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Default Button

Agree with Pete, roped buttons were the first type worn , have seen many uniforms of the period and all had this type of button.
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Old 07-06-19, 02:53 PM
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GTB GTB is offline
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Thanks gents. My problem is solely for the sake of correctness as I wouldn't want to place a wrong button in the position of precedence in a collection. The RNAS was a naval organisation, however when this became obsolete (upon amalgamtion with the RFC to form the RAF in 1918) the cap badges had already come into line, with an eagle in lieu of an anchor. I just find it odd that buttons were not likewise amended by removing the roped edge. But I stand corrected with what is said that the ropeless buttons were only superseded in 1921.

NB. I think I may have quoted out of context what I wrote concerniing the cap badges. Apologies for any unintentional misleading


Last edited by GTB; 07-06-19 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Explanation
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