A Rare First War Canadian DFC Recipient's Uniform
A Rare WWI Canadian DFC Recipient's Uniform - This uniform consists of two pieces: Tunic (fabricated from greenish-brown wool, each shoulder with epaulette straps held in place via small brass buttons with the Canada Militia insignia, each of the straps adorned with three pips and brass CANADA shoulder titles. There are bronze Canada General Service collar tabs held firmly in place on both collars, via intact lugs and pins. The front has four large cotton-lined pockets, one on each breast, which have decorative straps giving them a pleated-look, the right pocket with a small brass Canada Militia and the left pocket with a small brass replacement Canadian Engineers button, while the lower pockets on either side at the waist are larger and deeper, both with small brass Canada Militia buttons. Each of these four pockets have a fold over flap with a reinforced buttonhole. Sewn in place above the left breast pocket is a 30 mm x 83 mm white embroidered Observer's Wing, on a black wool base, prominently displayed above a 10 mm x 33 mm period Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon bar. There are brass belt loops sewn in place above each of the lower pockets, to support a match belt, which has been lost to time and is not included here. The front is completed by a vertical row of four large brass Canada Militia buttons on the right side, facing an equal number of reinforced button holes on the left. Each of the buttons is maker marked "JENNENS &Co. Ltd. LONDON". The rear of the tunic is single-vented. The inside of the tunic is lined in brownish-green cotton, with white cotton in the sleeves. There is a single hook and eye closure at the waist, ensuring a snug fit and a nicely tapered-look. There are also two cotton-lined pockets on the left side, a smaller one at the breast and a larger one at the waist. The collar has a 86 mm long brownish-green strap for hanging the tunic on a hook. The tunic measures 440 mm across the shoulders and 830 mm in length overall, the exterior with two threads exposed on the right shoulder where a badge once resided, a hole in the left shoulder, the interior exhibiting wear in the armpits and separation of the fabric from the lining at the seam in the left armpit exposing the core of the tunic, better than very fine); and a Pair of Pants (fabricated from greenish-brown wool, with a button down fly with five small plastic buttons, facing an equal number of reinforced button holes, discreetly placed under a fold over flap, remaining invisible to the eye, covered by the flap, with an additional button just above and inside at the waist, facing a reinforced buttonhole, ensuring a snug fit when fastened. There are two lime-coloured cotton-lined angled entry pockets on either side, six brown plastic buttons spaced at equidistant intervals around the waist, and a dual-pronged buckle with adjustable straps at the rear. The cuffs are designed in the classic roll-up style. Inside, the rear seam has a maker's label sewn in place, inscribed "HILL BROTHERS, LONDON & PARIS" and marked in handwritten black ink "2688 Capt. G.T. Reid R.A.F. 1918", measuring 355 mm wide at the waist x 1,060 mm in length, free of soiling and fabric interruptions, extremely fine). A terrific and rare WWI collectible, better than very fine. Accompanied by a copy of his Officer's Declaration Paper and assorted research papers.Footnote: George Thomas Reid was born on October 16, 1894 in Toronto, Ontario. He attended St. Andrew's College from 1908-1909. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant with the 109th Regiment, Canadian Militia in September 1915. He was a resident of Toronto when he signed his Officers' Declaration Paper with the 169th Infantry Battalion as a Lieutenant, on January 8, 1916 in Toronto, naming his next-of-kin as his mother, Minnie Florence Reid of Toronto, stating that he had four months previous military service with the 109th Regiment and that his trade was that of Lumber Merchant. He was named a Captain and transferred to the 242nd Infantry Battalion "Canadian Forestry Battalion" later that month. By November, he left for the United Kingdom, soon seeing service in the French theatre in January 1917. That Fall, he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps as an Observer on Probation on October 14th. Two months later, he was attached to No. 1 School of Air Gunnery on December 17th, shifting two months thereafter to No. 1 School of Navigation and Bomb Dropping on February 13, 1918 for additional training. The Royal Flying Corps merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on April 1, 1918, forming the Royal Air Force. Reid began service with No. 97 Squadron, RAF on May 14, 1918, returning to France on July 29th and concluding his service with them on January 11, 1919. During 1918, teaming up with Lieutenant J.A. Stewart, Flying Officer and pilot, Reid was documented as having taken part in raids on Metz Sablon (August 19th, September 12th), Buhl Aerodrome (August 20th, September 2nd), Mohrange Aerodrome (August 21st), Folperweller Aerodrome August 22nd), Boulay Aerodrome (August 25th, August 30th, September 3rd), Lorquin Aerodrome (September 6th), Kaisserlautern (September 14th), Mainz (September 15th) and Frankfurt (September 16th). The Public Record Office Air 1/1650 houses a letter dated September 17, 1918, from the Commanding Officer, No. 97 Squadron, addressed to the Officer Commanding, No. 83 Wing, Royal Air Force: "I have the honour to bring to your notice the excellent work carried out by Lieutenant J.A. Stewart, Flying Officer, and Captain G.T. Reid, Flying Officer Observer, since this squadron arrived in this country (France). They have always flown together and their work has been most consistent. They have now carried out 13 successful raids and in spite of adverse weather conditions at times they have never yet failed to reach their objective, which shows great determination. Their bombing has been consistently good and they have excellent judgment as to when to bomb low and when to bomb at an average altitude. Their bombing range has varied from 4,000 feet to 700 feet. They materially helped to demolish Folperweller Aerodrome on the 22nd August, obtaining several direct hits. At Buhl on the 2nd September they bombed the aerodrome from 700 feet and started eight fires which were confirmed by other pilots. They also started a large fire at Metz Sablon on the 12th instant. They have been very modest in their claims for although they have usually got close to their target, they have claimed few direct hits although the amount of damage caused must have been considerable. On several occasions they have made two trips a night. On the last three raids, 14th, 15th, 16th of September, they have successfully bombed Kaisserlautern, Mainz and Frankfort (Frankfurt). By careful study of their route and good use of their navigation instruments they have accomplished excellent times to Mainz and Frankfurt, namely 4 3/4 hours and 5 3/4 hours respectively. I consider they have shown great courage, perseverance and determination in all their work." The same file has the formal recommendation sent on September 22, 1918 from Headquarters, 8th Brigade to Royal Air Force Headquarters: "For consistent good work, gallantry and skill as an Observer on night bomb raids, notably on the following occasions: Night 22 August 1918 - Folperweiler Aerodrome - On the occasion of this raid Captain Reid was Lieutenant Stewart's Observer. In spite of a very hostile anti-aircraft barrage they came down to 700 feet over the objective and obtained several direct hits on the hangers and sheds on Folperweiler Aerodrome, causing material damage. Night 1/2 September 1918 - Buhl Aerodrome - With Lieutenant Stewart as Pilot, Captain Reid came down to 700 feet over the objective and in the course of several runs up and down was successful in starting eight fires, thereby causing a considerable amount of damage. The fires were seen and confirmed by other pilots. Night 12 September 1918 - Metz Sablon - Captain Reid with Lieutenant Stewart as Pilot carried out a very successful raid on this objective, excellent shooting being made and a large fire, which could be seen from a considerable distance, being started. Captain Reid has always flown with Lieutenant J.A. Stewart, and their work together has been most consistent. Captain Reid has carried out thirteen successful raids, and in spite of very adverse weather conditions on several occasions, has never yet failed to reach his objective. His bombing has been consistently good, and he has shown throughout excellent judgement in deciding when it was advisable to bomb low and when at at an average altitude. His bombing range has varied from 4,000 to 700 feet. On the last three raids undertaken, viz., 14th, 15th and 16th September, Captain Reid successfully bombed Kaisserlautern, Mainz and Frankfort (Frankfurt). By carefully studying the route and making the best use of his navigation instruments the raids to Mainz and Frankfort (Frankfurt) were carried out in the excellent time of 4 3/4 and 5 3/4 hours respectively. On September 16th the wind was very strong and Captain Reid's machine was the only one of 14 which started for the long objective which bombed its target and returned. Captain Reid has throughout shown the greatest courage, perseverance and determination in all his work." It was also noted that the "Squadron's first operational sortie was carried out on the night of 19th/20th August 1918 and, by the time of the Armistice, the Squadron had completed ninety-one sorties, during which sixty-four tons of bombs were dropped. There was one notable incident, during a night raid on Cologne, involving a Handley Page piloted by Lieutenant Stewart and Captain Reid, who was observer. Their aircraft came down to 500 feet, through a terrific hail of anti-aircraft fire, and they managed to unload no fewer than sixteen 112lb bombs into a theatre below. It was reported that the raid dealt a crushing blow to the morale of the citizens of Cologne, and both of the 97 Squadron officers were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for their efforts." Reid was cited for his Distinguish Flying Cross in the London Gazette on November 2, 1918: "A very competent and gallant observer in long-distance bombing raids, in thirteen of which he has been successfully engaged. Captain Reid displays great skill in selecting the correct altitude for unloading his bombs, and his determination is most marked in all his work." He relinquished his commission in the RAF on January 13, 1919.