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Bikes at War

Bicycles have been used in combat all the way back to World War 1. French, British, Austrian and German troops all used bicycles for scouting, troop mobility and message delivery. During the Second World War, bikes also saw extensive service. Original footage of the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944 shows British troopers carrying bikes to the landing beaches while advancing under fire. The RAF, RCAF and the American Army Air Force used bikes to efficiently move around airfields and travel the long distances from billets, to dispersal huts and to aircraft. Many surviving photographs and numerous primary source accounts, document the use of bicycles during the war. On its website, the Ta

The RAF “1942” Badge

One of the most attractive RAF-related items from World War II is the “1942 Badge” that is so popular with militaria collectors. The badge is often inaccurately referenced as an “Eagle Squadron Badge” because of its general association with the American pilots who flew for the RAF but the official name of the badge was the “American RAF Foreign Volunteer Badge.” The badge was awarded not just to Eagle Squadron pilots but to any American officer who served in any capacity with the RAF prior to 1942. American officers awarded the badge were permitted to wear it on the pocket fold of their uniform below the flap on the right hand side of their US Army Air Force uniforms. The sterling silver

Bill Millington & Squadron Mascot During the Battle of Britain

Photograph of RAF Pilot Bill Millington (left) and Tom Neil. The RAF pilot Tom Neil recalled that Bill Millington always had an affinity for animals. The diary of another Battle of Britain pilot, George Barclay included several photos of Millington with various mascots that he introduced to No. 249 Squadron. There was a dog, “Pipsqueak” and a duck “Wilfred” that became famous mascots of the embattled fighter squadron. In this photo, Pilot Officer Millington is seen in the company of fellow pilot, Tom Neil with the two squadron mascots. The original photo was taken in 1940 but not published until June 5, 1941. Millington was born in England in 1917 but his family moved to Australia when h

“Home Again!” A World War 1 Illustration by the Artist John Harmon Cassel

​ Original illustration art has become a popular collecting field for collectors. The original charcoal drawing pictured here is a fine example of the type of illustration prepared for newspaper publication in the early to mid-twentieth century. The drawing is an excellent patriotic piece that was done by the American illustrator, John Harmon Cassel (1872-1961). This work by Cassel features an American “Doughboy” of the World War 1 period wearing a Brodie helmet and saluting as he breaks through a paper star. The drawing is titled, “Home Again!” and is signed in the artist’s usual manner as “Jno. Cassel” in the lower right corner. Cassel was born in Nebraska in 1872 to a pioneer family th

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