This 5th AAF pilot’s coat has great Australian made bullion insignia, and well has being Identified.
1st Lieutenant Bailey of the 5th U.S. AAF purchased a fine looking service dress coat while stationed in Brisbane, Australia during WWII. Made of fine quality OD gaberdine wool with a great bullion pilot wings, and wing & prop collar insignia that lights up the coat. Theater made embroidered 5th AAF patch and gold bullion overseas strips comprises the array of Aussie made insignia. Bailey’s unmarked 1st lt. bars and “U.S.” collar insignia completes it.
The 1941 service dress coat was made by ‘ROTHWELLS/ The Friendly Store” of Brisbane. On the silk tailors label Bailey wrote his last name only and a number “239” which does not correspond with any know AAF units in the 5th AF command. It is on record that the 5th was stationed at Brisbane from 3 September, 1942 June of 1944, transferring operations to Nadzab, New Guinea in June of 1944.
An puzzling aspect to the coat is the placement of the 4 overseas bars on the lower right sleeve; not a regulation placement. The explanation seems simple enough when realizing that this tailor most probably worked on Australian and British uniforms, their overseas stripes being placed on the right. Bailey, either didn’t realize until too late, or cared little, as there was great latitude used for uniforms and insignia during the war.
The bullion is bright, and in great shape, and the uniform itself is in fine condition. It’s a great WWII pilot’s uniform coat that needs some further research.