RAF Ferry Command uniform

RAF Ferry Command uniform

Joined: May 10th, 2006, 8:09 pm

April 21st, 2010, 1:23 pm #1

Any one have any good reference photos of a Ferry Command uniform? I believe it was dark blue double breasted was the rank trim silver in color? any idea where you can find buttons?

Glenn
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

April 21st, 2010, 2:07 pm #2

Glenn

Ferry Command had two uniforms, summer and winter.

The winter uniform was dark blue, double breasted and fastened with six white metal buttons bearing an astral crown above an eagle above the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.'. Rank lace was black with a central pale blue stripe, similar to RAF, RCAF etc, but unique to Ferry and later Transport Command. Insignia in the form of a pilots wing, or a half wing (for Radio Operator or Navigator) was in silver and Royal blue enamel, pin or screw back. The only other insignia was a star worn above the rank on each cuff, in blue for every 10 transatlantic trips and silver for every 20, in cloth. Cap was matching dark blue with a metal cap badge, chrome or silver and Royal blue enamel. Worn with a pale blue shirt and black tie.

Summer uniform was standard RCAF, a slightly green tinged khaki, single breasted with four large buttons of the same pattern as above. Rank lace, stars, aircrew insignia and cap were the same as above, but worn with a khaki shirt and black tie.

A slight deviation to the above was the same but without tunic. An ID badge, in the form of a 'button' (in the US) or pinback badge was often worn on the waistband.

Ferry Command also had a BD, in dark blue, with the same rank lace and stars, although white metal stars with Royal Blue enamel (to signify 10 trips) and silver stars to signify 20 trips were definately also worn, on the shoulder along with the rank.

The very early Ferry Command had different wings and cap badges, before a uniform pattern was introduced. Ferry Command later became Transport Command, with the main difference being a change to the scroll on the cap badge and wing (from 'Ferry Command' to 'Transport Command'), plus the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.' to 'R.A.F.T.C.' on the buttons. Bullion cap badges and wings were introduced, almost certainly private purchase on the North African and Indian ferry routes.

I have a number of photos of all these uniforms, examples of the caps and summer tunic and other insignia including ID badges which I'll try and add later.
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Joined: May 10th, 2006, 8:09 pm

April 21st, 2010, 3:20 pm #3

Alex,

Thanks! man your are the source! if you could send me any photo references to my e-mail address that you have.

Glenn
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Joined: May 10th, 2006, 8:09 pm

April 21st, 2010, 3:24 pm #4

Glenn

Ferry Command had two uniforms, summer and winter.

The winter uniform was dark blue, double breasted and fastened with six white metal buttons bearing an astral crown above an eagle above the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.'. Rank lace was black with a central pale blue stripe, similar to RAF, RCAF etc, but unique to Ferry and later Transport Command. Insignia in the form of a pilots wing, or a half wing (for Radio Operator or Navigator) was in silver and Royal blue enamel, pin or screw back. The only other insignia was a star worn above the rank on each cuff, in blue for every 10 transatlantic trips and silver for every 20, in cloth. Cap was matching dark blue with a metal cap badge, chrome or silver and Royal blue enamel. Worn with a pale blue shirt and black tie.

Summer uniform was standard RCAF, a slightly green tinged khaki, single breasted with four large buttons of the same pattern as above. Rank lace, stars, aircrew insignia and cap were the same as above, but worn with a khaki shirt and black tie.

A slight deviation to the above was the same but without tunic. An ID badge, in the form of a 'button' (in the US) or pinback badge was often worn on the waistband.

Ferry Command also had a BD, in dark blue, with the same rank lace and stars, although white metal stars with Royal Blue enamel (to signify 10 trips) and silver stars to signify 20 trips were definately also worn, on the shoulder along with the rank.

The very early Ferry Command had different wings and cap badges, before a uniform pattern was introduced. Ferry Command later became Transport Command, with the main difference being a change to the scroll on the cap badge and wing (from 'Ferry Command' to 'Transport Command'), plus the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.' to 'R.A.F.T.C.' on the buttons. Bullion cap badges and wings were introduced, almost certainly private purchase on the North African and Indian ferry routes.

I have a number of photos of all these uniforms, examples of the caps and summer tunic and other insignia including ID badges which I'll try and add later.
Metal or cloth?
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

April 21st, 2010, 7:11 pm #5

Thanks for the comment Glenn.

As for the stars, it was both! I have a TC summer tunic with cloth, and have seen a BD with cloth, while most of the photos Ive seen appear to be cloth. But I have seen actual examples of the metal too coming direct from the owner, although Ive not seen them on the uniform.
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Joined: April 17th, 2007, 12:40 pm

April 21st, 2010, 7:27 pm #6

I'd also be very interested to see some pictures - it's an organisation I've only ever heard of in passing in works about other aspects of WWII flight, and indeed had not even suspected they wore anything other then the RAF uniform until this post!
In light of this dreadful gap in my knowledge, can anyone name a/some decent (and, preferably, easily available!) book(s) on the subject? My interest has been somewhat piqued!
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

April 21st, 2010, 7:58 pm #7

There are several books on the subject such as 'Ocean Bridge' by Carl Christie, 'Ferryman' by Air Commodore 'Taffy' Powell and 'Ferry Command' by Don McVicar, as well as 'Atlantic Bridge', a wartime booklet that regularly comes up on ebay. However, none really have any photos at all of uniform. I have another, very large book produced during the war (thin but large format) of which Ive only ever seen two copies but is filled with photos. I believe all records of Ferry Command were destroyed after the war so finding information is hard.

Ferry Command was exclusively manned with civilians at the start, although the 'top brass' were service personnel. Later crews from all the Empire services were seconded (as well as a few odd from Norway etc), who wore their standard uniform. By that time they were generally Transport Command, 45 Group R.A.F. The civilians continued to wear their own uniform.
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Joined: August 4th, 2004, 3:23 am

April 22nd, 2010, 3:04 am #8

As Alex mentioned in his last post, in the beginnings of the Ferry Command many if not the majority of the personnel were civilian contract pilots and many of these were US flyers, who wore their own purchased uniforms. I am fortunate to have in my collection a uniform and cap that belonged to one of these gentlemen (a US civilian) who flew for Ferry Command. The unifom tunic is a standard US summer "suntans" jacket with Ferry Command chromed or nickled buttons. The cap is a US Bancroft "Flighter" again with Ferry Command insignia. I'm not certain which route he flew but presume from the summer weight uniform he was on either the Africa or India routes. In the first picture you can see two photos in the background. The one on the left is a photo of him, his wife and infant son. In the photo he is wearing the uniform pictured. The photo on the right is of the same gentleman in an ATA uniform, so I presume he also flew with Transport Command and later the ATA. The last photo I have posted is a picture of another Ferry Command flyer, presumably one of his friends, who is also and apparently wearing another converted US uniform. Hope you find these photos useful.

Paul O





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Joined: May 10th, 2006, 8:09 pm

April 22nd, 2010, 7:37 pm #9

Glenn

Ferry Command had two uniforms, summer and winter.

The winter uniform was dark blue, double breasted and fastened with six white metal buttons bearing an astral crown above an eagle above the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.'. Rank lace was black with a central pale blue stripe, similar to RAF, RCAF etc, but unique to Ferry and later Transport Command. Insignia in the form of a pilots wing, or a half wing (for Radio Operator or Navigator) was in silver and Royal blue enamel, pin or screw back. The only other insignia was a star worn above the rank on each cuff, in blue for every 10 transatlantic trips and silver for every 20, in cloth. Cap was matching dark blue with a metal cap badge, chrome or silver and Royal blue enamel. Worn with a pale blue shirt and black tie.

Summer uniform was standard RCAF, a slightly green tinged khaki, single breasted with four large buttons of the same pattern as above. Rank lace, stars, aircrew insignia and cap were the same as above, but worn with a khaki shirt and black tie.

A slight deviation to the above was the same but without tunic. An ID badge, in the form of a 'button' (in the US) or pinback badge was often worn on the waistband.

Ferry Command also had a BD, in dark blue, with the same rank lace and stars, although white metal stars with Royal Blue enamel (to signify 10 trips) and silver stars to signify 20 trips were definately also worn, on the shoulder along with the rank.

The very early Ferry Command had different wings and cap badges, before a uniform pattern was introduced. Ferry Command later became Transport Command, with the main difference being a change to the scroll on the cap badge and wing (from 'Ferry Command' to 'Transport Command'), plus the letters 'R.A.F.F.C.' to 'R.A.F.T.C.' on the buttons. Bullion cap badges and wings were introduced, almost certainly private purchase on the North African and Indian ferry routes.

I have a number of photos of all these uniforms, examples of the caps and summer tunic and other insignia including ID badges which I'll try and add later.
On the Khaki SD uniform rank worn on RCAF cuff or RAF epualets or both versions?
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

April 22nd, 2010, 7:50 pm #10

The rank lace was worn on the cuff on both versions. Paul's pictures show it very well and you can see its similar but not isentical to the RAF/RCAF kind.

The light tan coloured cap is very interesting, but not the norm for Ferry and Transport Command. I'd guess that those who had a uniform of some sort were allowed to wear it, those who didnt headed for the agreed tailor!
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