Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Canada 150 Project


Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 077 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 

Royal Canadian Air Force Aircrew Badges and Nationality Titles
​​
​​ Air Crew Badges of the Royal Canadian Air Force – WWII

For much of the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force, aircrew members were awarded 'Wings' to verify their qualifications in a specific trade within the aircraft they flew. As was the case in World War II, aircrew members other than pilots, were awarded ' half-wings' to be worn on their uniforms above the left Brest pocket and above any ribbons or decorations.

RCAF half wings were modelled on those used by the Royal Air Force. During WWII, the Canadian wings carried the Royal Crown of King George VI, the initials ' RCAF' and one stylized wing on the left side of the badge (as viewed by the person wearing the unfirom). Within a laurel wreath in the centre of the badge, was the initial(s) for the trade they represented. In the case of the RCAF, ' N' stood for Navigator, 'B' for Bomb Aimer, 'AG' for Air Gunner, 'WAG' for Wireless Operator Air Gunner and ' E" stood for Flight Engineer. Early in the war, RCAF aircrew included Observers whose badge was the same as those used by the Royal Air Force with the initial ‘o· in the centre. Navigators succeeded Observers as aircrew members.
Nationality Titles of the
Commonwealth Air Forces - WWII

During World War II, Great Britain and Canada experienced a surge in personnel from foreign countries enlisting in their air forces. Generally the enlistees came from other Commonwealth countries and countries overrun by the enemy. While serving in the RAF or RCAF, the enlistee's home country was identified by means of a nationality title (patch) sewn on the shoulder of their uniforms. Guidelines for the design of the nationality title were as follows. Officers wore curved titles embroidered in light blue on a grey-blue background while other ranks were issued nationality titles in light blue on a dark blue or black background which was usually rectangular in shape.
Variations to these rules occurred when the great numbers of manufacturers producing the titles used 

  

their own standards of production. Probably the most common variation was the inclusion of the national title with the RAF eagle. British airmen serving in Canada began wearing a 'GT. BRITAIN' title on their shoulders. Khaki badges with red embroidered lettering were worn on tropical uniforms.

Information for this article was gleaned from the book: ``Air Force Badges and Insignia of World War 2" by Guido Rosignoli.