Sunday, 18 November 2012

RAF Glider Pilots

Chalk has now been running as a Living History Group for just over eighteen months. In that time, we have attended several events solely portraying the Glider Pilot Regiment, we have been received extremely well by members of the public, museum and event organisers as well as serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces.

Now that we feel established, and more confident with our display of GPR uniforms, equipment and general gliderborne information, we feel it is time to also represent those Glider Pilots who's numbers were drawn directly from the RAF in late 1944/45. Up until now, we haven't had any uniforms relating to the RAF Glider Pilots - mainly because accurate photographic evidence is so thin on the ground, but also because the sheer expense of putting together everything needed to portray Army GP's has been extremely prohibitive.

However, as we now have almost everything required for our Army GP display (except, of course, we don't have any gliders!) then we feel it only right to put together a decent, and accurate, RAF Glider Pilot section.

I've recently started the ball rolling with a good reproduction 2nd pattern Denison smock, a BD blouse, RAF wings, RAF Sgt stripes and an RAF beret (see image below).

What I really need are more accurate photographs of RAF GP's in Battledress (or HDD as the RAF refer to BD's), or in Denison smocks, plus any images of the pilot's on the ground or in flight during Operation Varsity (the airborne element of the Rhine crossing in March 1945).

I have a copy of the book 'Wot? No Engines?' by Alan Cooper which is superb with quite a few decent photo's but in order to get the uniforms looking absolutely right, I really need more! If any readers of this blog have anything they think might be of interest; photo's of family members serving as RAF GP's or any photos in a private collection... please do let me know.

Once the uniforms are badged up I'll be sure to share some photographs. Thank you.

The Eagle Magazine

For some time now I've been meaning to show my small collection of 'The Eagle' the magazine of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association. At the moment I only have nine of the original A5 format magazines, running from 1950 through to 1982. However, as I'm a Friend of The Eagle I also have a number the current A4 format magazines (not shown here). 

I'm very proud of my limited collection, they're mainly picked up from Ebay but I'm always looking for donations if anyone has any they'd like to pass on? (nudge, nudge, wink, wink...). They're great to read through, especially the 1950's editions, with plenty of recollections and even advertisements for long passed products and services.

Anyone can become a 'Friend of The Eagle' (follow the link below and click on 'Association'), once you initial application has been accepted then you'll need to make a small annual donation and you'll receive The Eagle 2 - 3 times a year. Former GPR pilots can become Full Members of the GPRA (Glider Pilot Regimental Association) and blood relatives of former GPR members can become Associate Members.

Link: GPRA