Aeronautical Instruments & Tools
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A Genuine Post War RAF Ensign ( and a few words of warning!
Many in the RAF collecting fraternity may also have noticed the plethora of "Battle of Britain RAF 1940 dated airfield flags" that are cropping up on a weekly basis for sale on that well known online auction site. I and many of our dealer/collector colleagues hate to see the public being apparently convinced to part with their hard earned funds on modern fakes masquerading as the real deal. So a few timely words of warning.
The extremely limited number of genuine wartime RAF ensigns we have had here over the years very rarely have decipherable stampings and even less have clear dates as these have generally faded through use in the elements or washed out over the years. The ones that do retain decipherable stampings tend to be Broad Arrow property marked not A. M. and we have never yet seen a wartime flag with the town of origin, as were this to happen this would have simply been a calling card for Hermann Göring's crews. The fakes currently seem to favour Sheffield or Oxford as the fictitious places of origin for some unknown reason. Other tell tail signs are wartime ensigns were made with overlaid pieces of cotton fabric stitched together not simply screen printed. They carried coir rope with brass Inglefield clips to attach to the flag mast not white nylon. Generally these fakes look too fresh although the latest batch are being roughed up and dirtied to make them look more authentic. We also see other ensigns being offered including the ultimate rarity "WWI RAF 5 feet long RFC royal flying corps airfield linen flag dated 1918". In a lifetime of collecting I have yet to handle a genuine RFC ensign. Please note the sellers are cleverly not saying these items were made back then they are just 'dated 1940' which may be a slight of hand but might just protect them from litigation. Today as we write this listing several examples are on offer with a '1940' example already having attracted 30 bids and currently at £225.00 Can we politely suggest if you have bid or are even slightly tempted by such a listing to first get in touch with the seller and ask him to categorically guarantee in writing the item is a genuine RAF/RFC period ensign and not a modern copy. Never has "Caveat emptor" or "Let the buyer beware" been more applicable. If it looks too good to be true it probably is…….
Oh yes we nearly forgot. Whilst this listing is mainly to 'flag' (pun intended! the dangers of this fraudulent activity we are also prepared to sell this Guaranteed GENUINE 1991 dated RAF issue station ensign. It was not made in Oxford or Sheffield but by quality manufactures Zephyr Flags & Banners of Thrapston (established in 1969) in Northants. It carries the RAF stores reference code 6345-99-125-1140 and a Broad Arrow property mark. It is a large size at 8' x 4' (244 cm x 122 cm). It is made to the correct post WWII specification with a printed roundel and union flag against an air force blue cotton background. It has a nylon line attached and is fitted with brass Inglefield clips. We would love to say it was used at Biggin Hill or Debden but sadly we can't. It appears to be in virtually unflown condition. "You pays your money and takes your choice" but if this listing saves any collector wasting money on fakery and fraud we have achieved a minor victory today!