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Other WWI Aviation Airfields, equipment, tactics, training, uniforms and all other WWI aviation topics

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Old 14 March 2002, 07:38 AM   #1
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Good afternoon,

Goldilocks-like, French aviators seem to have had a choice of differently colored uniforms--or only tunics?. *In photographs they appear as light (bleu d'horizon?), middle gray, and dark (black, navy blue?):

(fellow at left)

(officer at left)

Could someone describe these colors, or better yet post, or e-mail me, scans and/or approximate RGB values for these?

TIA and best to all,

Old 14 March 2002, 10:15 AM   #2
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It is imposible to describe the "uniform" of french pilot. Pilot could wear uniform of their original branch of the blue horizon uniform or a mixture of the two. for the details Guynemer is wearing a dark blue uniform of the enginer that was the "parent" corps of the aviator and ballon pilot. it was the standard uniform of those who joined as aviator now some coming from an other coprs were still wearing their original uniform (its the case of nungesser who was a hussard)
have look there I give a description of french uniform and there is a color picture

Alfred Heurtaux
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Old 14 March 2002, 12:15 PM   #3
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Bonjour, Gregoire--

I appreciate your reply and the link to the earlier thread, where I was interested to read your note that the khaki uniforms in the caricature do not represent a known official tunic for French aviators. *I woould be interested in what you make of their appearance in this drawing then. *Do you think it is pure fantasy--which seems doubtful given that its purpose seems to be to identify these well-known aviators--or, which seems more likely to me, does it provide evidence for the adoption of unofficial glight gear? *If the latter, where were these tunics coming from--the RFC?

Here's a photo of Dorme, which seems consistent with his khaki outfit of the the caricature:

Here are a color rendition of the RFC ace Albert Ball and a period photo of him:

I wonder, too, whether you would hazard a guess as to the tunics in the first two images I posted. *Is the officer with the SPAD A.2 in bleu d'horizon or the light blue of the Hussards? *Is the officer with the Morane in bleu d'horizon or in one of the unofficial khakis? *Purely on the basis of gray tonality, I lean toward the latter as the above photos suggest.

Cordialement de New York,


PS. Any thoughts about who is wearing what among these "poilus"?

Old 15 March 2002, 02:26 AM   #4
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Here's a roll-call on the flight line that effectively shows the three types of tunics:

Are they dark blue, bleu d'horizon, and Hussard light blue, or dark blue, khaki, and bleu d'horizon?

Thanks for looking,

Old 15 March 2002, 11:13 AM   #5
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The story behind the caricature. I was made by Jean de Moulignon that in his civilian life was a pofessional illustrator he was specialised in animals picture. during the war he trained as a pilot and was asigned to the spa 3 so he knew fly and I guess have fun with the famous pilot of the spa3 this caricture was not to be made public but was for the pilot and himself. a story about this pilot is that he only flew a few mission before having half his face frosen and lost the capacity to open on of his eyes.
In theory the kaki uniform was only from indiginous troop (algerian african ... not to be confounded with the colonial) and the legion. It is very probable that the kakis was an unofficial piece of equipment or a field mechanic dress, it will not be wear in ceremony
about dorme he is the worst for uniform he was said not to care at all and was picking the first dress available never the less it seems quite formal in the picture so I guess it will be the dark blue unifrom of the artillery
I have found that it was usefull to check the kepi colors as they give good indicationhere is a summary of the french unifrom before 14 it was also the formal uniform for a lot of officer the other having the blue ohorizon
I dress the men from top to botom the first color is the kepi the second the jacket the third the trouser
infantry dark blue, dark blue, red
light infantry dark blue, dark blue, blue grey
cuirrasier/dragon dark blue, dark blue, red
chasseur a cheval/hussard sky blue; light blue (lighter for hussard) red
artillery ingenner aviation dark blue, drark blue, dark blue
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