Original British WWII British Royal Air Force RAF Air Marshal’s Peaked Visor Cap

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a hard to find, British RAF Air Marshals’ blue wool peaked visor cap. Prior to the adoption of RAF-specific rank titles in 1919, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became air marshal would have been air vice-admiral. The Admiralty objected to any use of their rank titles, including this modified form, and so an alternative proposal was put forward: air-officer ranks would be based on the term "ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" (ard) and "bird" (eun), with the term "second ardian" or "wing ardian" being used specifically for the rank equivalent to a vice-admiral and lieutenant-general. However, air marshal was preferred and has been used since its adoption in August 1919. Sir Hugh Trenchard, the incumbent Chief of the Air Staff when the rank was introduced, became the first air marshal on 11 August 1919.

This example is unfortunately not marked with a name or service number, but it does not take away from the beauty of the item and the rarity of it. The visor cap is in lovely displayable condition, but it does have extensive moth nips present on the crown of the visor. It is constructed of the usual Royal Air Force blue barathea wool with a black mohair band. The padded bullion embroidered cap badge has a KING'S CROWN on the top. It has the correct laurel leaves below a gold washed metal eagle. Two rows of “scrambled eggs” on the visor, a common nickname for the golden oak leaf sprigs used to symbolize general officers as well as Air Officers in this case.

Offered in overall very good condition with the expected nips here and there mainly located on the top portion. There is light wear to the sweatband, and some dirt staining on the front where the forehead would rest as well as stitching loss resulting in partial detach. Size is approximately 7 1/4 US (58cm).

Comes more than ready for further research and display.

The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from these countries, and exiles from occupied Europe, also served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations, similarly, approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres.

In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is perhaps the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed significantly to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of AH's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom (Operation Sea Lion). In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began almost immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became increasingly devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available. The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho.

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