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Militaria of the Mighty Eighth
Old 05-16-2018, 12:35 AM   #1
Bob Lyons
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Default Militaria of the Mighty Eighth

Hi All,


I just picked this up today from a local dealer, which came out of an old collection, and I had known about it for some time, but was surprised to learn that it had been sold, so I managed to secure it, and bring it home with me this afternoon.


It is a lovely "Ike" jacket for a Captain, with full bullion insignia for a pilot, and a great set of ribbons. I can't see any red flags, the jacket is Brit made with the tailor label inside one of the inner pockets, and in ink inside the other pocket is the name "Bennett".


I wonder if there is any way that would track any history of Captain Bennett down at all..... The ribbons look like it would possibly narrow the field down a bit perhaps.


The jacket has never had any overseas chevrons applied at all, and the insignia has been on this jacket for a very long time.


3 lots of photos to follow (I can only download 4 at a time).


Any comments greatly appreciated,


Cheers


Bob
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:37 AM   #2
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2nd lot of photos....
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:38 AM   #3
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Last group of photos....


Cheers


Bob
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:41 AM   #4
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And I believe the 8th AAF patch is a Brit made Stubby winged version....


Cheers


Bob
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:06 AM   #5
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I added a shirt and tie for effect, inside shots, so a bit dark....


Bob
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File Type: jpg With a shirt and tie 002.jpg (45.7 KB, 329 views)
File Type: jpg With a shirt and tie 007.jpg (61.2 KB, 330 views)
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:03 PM   #6
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I think this might be a strong possibility, there are six pages of ‘Bennett’ in the list below, but most can be ruled outbecause of rank (NCO etc.), or the awards don't align, there is another Bennett that may have been a chance (Robert A. Bennett)but he doesn’t
appear to have been awarded a2nd DFC, so on account of that I think I can rule him out also, and itcomes back to the only
other one that fits with theawards in the entire list, and that is Lt. Colonel John M. Bennett….

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person?search=Bennett...

Bob
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:10 PM   #7
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Lt. Colonel John M. Bennett, full medal compliment at wars end....



During his time in the ETO he wasawarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster,Bronze Star, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Croix de Guerrewith Palm. Service ribbons are American Defence, American Theatre, and ETO withsix battle stars.


So as a Captain, it is possible that this was his uniform just before he was promoted to Major, and he simply went and got another uniform for his new rank and hung this one in the closet...


Bob
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:12 PM   #8
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A photo of Lt. Colonel John M. Bennett...




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File Type: jpg John M. Bennett.jpg (29.3 KB, 303 views)
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lyons View Post
Lt. Colonel John M. Bennett, full medal compliment at wars end....



During his time in the ETO he wasawarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster,Bronze Star, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Croix de Guerrewith Palm. Service ribbons are American Defence, American Theatre, and ETO withsix battle stars.


So as a Captain, it is possible that this was his uniform just before he was promoted to Major, and he simply went and got another uniform for his new rank and hung this one in the closet...


Bob




Hello Bob, first off the jacket is a real corker! I love the bullion work and feel that all of the insignia is English. As for your question, if it is him, yes, provided he had enough money, he most certainly could have commissioned another uniform, and upon its delivery closeted this one.

I have a few uniforms where that was the case. It all depended on if they were clothes horses, and had the means to support their habit.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Cain View Post
Hello Bob, first off the jacket is a real corker! I love the bullion work and feel that all of the insignia is English. As for your question, if it is him, yes, provided he had enough money, he most certainly could have commissioned another uniform, and upon its delivery closeted this one.

I have a few uniforms where that was the case. It all depended on if they were clothes horses, and had the means to support their habit.




Thanks Gary, and I agree mate, and the scenario certainly fits, after looking through all of the names in the 'Bennett' list, his name seems to be the only one that it could probably be, but it was certainly a tunic that had to come home with me when I saw it at the local shop for sale.....
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Old 05-16-2018, 10:49 PM   #11
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Very nice 'Ike'. Looks 100% correct though your placement of A.C. insignia on the added shirt collar is incorrect. Should have rank on the right & AC pin on the left. See the 'Bennett' picture. A nice addition to you fantastic aviation collection. Bob
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:45 AM   #12
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Very nice Jacket.
I've not seen one with 100% cloth insignia.
Great piece

Lee
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:57 PM   #13
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Very nice. I believe I owned this Ike around 2004-2005.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:54 PM   #14
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Thanks guys, Bob, I don't have any correct rank insignia for the shirt at the moment, so he will have to have the 2 AAF badges until I find a pin on Captain's badge....


Navy FCO, amazing.... it sure has travelled since you parted with it.... was there any history behind the tunic when you owned it by chance.... ???


Regards


Bob
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
So as a Captain, it is possible that this was his uniform just before he was promoted to Major, and he simply went and got another uniform for his new rank and hung this one in the closet...



That, to me, seems very unlikely. The modification of this jacket would have been the easiest thing in the world: simply remove the rank insignia and replace it with the new leaves of a Major.

The award of two DFC's and three Air Medals to an 8th Air Force combat pilot would not have been at all unusual.

The 8th Air Force suffered over 25,000 dead during the war, which gives a general idea of how large an organization it was. Additionally, nearly a half-million Air Medals were awarded to the men of the 8th Air Force, again indicating both the size of the organization as well as the prevalence of the Air Medal and clusters as an award. The DFC would have been only somewhat behind in terms of numbers awarded to the men of the 8th.

Beyond this, there were literally thousands of pilots in the 8th Air Force, including pilots and co-pilots, who both wore the same wings.

The website on which you found Bennet's name, that of the "American Air Museum in Britain", notes on its home page that there were over 450,000 American personnel in the Army Air Forces in Britain in World War II. Yet the "People" section of that website contains the names of about 235,000 individuals. In other words, the website does not purport to contain the names of all Americans who served in the Army Air Forces in Britain. Indeed, it would seem that they have gathered something more than just half of the names by their own accounting.

When you take into account the incorrect rank on this jacket and the multiple missing ribbons, it seems very unlikely to me that this uniform could be attributed to the Colonel John Bennett pictured here with any level of comfort, and there is no easy way, I think, to more conclusively identify the original owner. Sometimes you do get lucky, if you have a full name; or a part of a service number; or a possible squadron or group affiliation. But without more than the rather common last name of "Bennett" it would require, I think, more than a few mouse clicks to come up with anything meaningful. It would require, I believe, a research effort of the pre-internet style, one that would involve actually tracking down the unit rosters of squadrons and groups and doing it the old fashioned (and hard) way.




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