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Stock No. 6537

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Air Officers Commanding Staff Car Pennant - Click for the bigger picture

Air Officers Commanding Staff Car Pennant

An exceedingly scarce RAF staff car pennant, that potentially comes with very interesting and historical provenance. It came in a small collection of assorted flags and pennants that were acquired after RAF Bentley Priory closed which were bought by a collector who wanted the two large station flags that were included and we were able to purchase the pennants, including this example, from him.

RAF Bentley Priory was a non-flying Royal Air Force station near Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow. In May 1926, Inland Area (Training Command), a part of the organisation of the Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB) moved into the Priory from Uxbridge. In July 1926, it was renamed 'Training Command' and transferred to Market Drayton in Shropshire. The RAF then began to grow in size and so the organisational base expanded with it and the foundations were laid for an air defence system, which proved to be well in advance of the force it was shortly to oppose during the Battle of Britain. The RAF was radically reorganized with the creation of Bomber, Coastal, Fighter and Training Commands. The existing ADGB was dissolved and RAF Fighter Command emerged on 14th July 1936. It left Hillingdon House, at RAF Uxbridge and moved to Bentley Priory, led by its first Air Officer Commanding Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding. Fighter Command Headquarters remained at the Priory until its merger with the other operational commands in 1968 and the station was disbanded and the site finally closed on 30th May 2008. Today a fine Battle of Britain Museum operates from the site (well worth a visit) including the office of ACM Sir Hugh Dowding, as final pics atttached.

Our pennant is of multi piece construction in very heavy silk weave. Finished with an RAF pale blue cloth background with a sewn on RAF roundel attached, overlayed with a yellow astral crown. These pennants were entitled to be flown only by four specific groups of senior RAF officers :

-Air Officers Commanding (AOC) and Air Headquarters.

-Commandant RAF College, Cranwell.

-Commandant General RAF Regiment (but only when visiting RAF and Army units in an official capacity).

-Director Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) (but only when making official visits and inspections).

Staff Car pennants were never dated and it is therefore hard to prove their exact age. Seeing however this is made to the wartime specification and Dowding was appointed Air Officer Commanding of Fighter Command on 14th July 1936 and backed up by its apparent source, it is a possibility this pennant was issued to and flown by Dowding but of course this is impossible to prove. Whatever its actual history it remains in fine condition, is guaranteed original (unlike many of the fakes now appearing on E bay) and would sit very happily in a top end RAF or Battle of Britain Collection. It measures 12" x 6" (30.5 cm x 15 cm). The roundel is 4 1/2" diameter (11.5 cm).

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