new member...new jacket...

Major F.E. Elgood

New Member
Hi everyone, I'm an old guy with a new obsession. Always been fascinated with WW2, but never collected. The 75th anniversary of the end of the war compelled me to start collecting...which quickly escalated from uniforms to flight jackets. Ouch! I think I will be forever poor money-wise, but rich jacket-wise. LoL! So I started (and finished) my collection with a bang and bought two jackets this weekend. I was just hoping to get some information and comments from all you guys with the knowledge about jackets. This is the first one I bought. The info I turn up from the name in the liner is that Thomas N. Norman. 2nd LT. A.C. (Air Corps) was in the 885th Bombardment Squadron of the Army's 15th Air Force Special Group. I guess my main question is: Is the jacket the althentic? Is there a way to know if the markings are period? Why would the jacket be so much lighter in a few places? Do sellers often forge a name in the jacket to get it named? Thanks everyone...looking forward to being a part of this forum!
 

Attachments

Micawber

Well-Known Member
The jacket itself looks entirely legit to me. Not entirely unknown for artwork to be removed postwar in order to make it appear more like a regular jacket. The question as to when those painted bomb ymbols and what looks to have been a patch were removed is difficult to ascertain from photos.
 

Southoftheborder

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the forum. I'm no original A2 expert and many here know more than me but it certainly looks kosher. The lighter areas appear to be where someone removed the paint. Probably a long time ago.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
welcome to the abusement park, e.f. i saw that one on greedbay when it came up, and watched the auction. imo, the jacket is legit, and as noted above, the painted surfaces along with some of the leather top coat have been rubbed off. best as i could determine, there was at least one , possibly two prior owners during wwll. the name thomas n. norman checks out with the 885th personnel roster. using a black [uv] light, you may be able to make out the rubbed out painted areas. my guess is that there was a name under the wings,, and under that a painted squadron? group? insignia patch. this could be either one of the previous owners squadreo, or group, or norman's squadron. the 885th had a sqadron insignia patch that was something like a bird looking through an eye glass or telescope....or something like that.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
:)Hi Major
Your jacket is the real deal. To answer your questions :
Yes occasionally unscrupulous dealers or sellers will forge a name inside a jacket to boost its value, but I do not believe this to be the case with this jacket.
The reason the jacket is thinner or lighter in some panels of the jacket is because these jackets were made from mismatched hides, or hides coming from two or 3 different animals. Remember it was wartime and materials were in short supply at times . Also these jackets were not intended as fashion statements but as flight gear. I’ve attached a photo of a patch from the 885 bombardment Group. Look at the outline and try to visualize if this is the patch that may have been on your jacket.
By the way Welcome to the VLJ Forum!
F7536DE5-5664-483F-8C10-96E9459358B0.jpeg
 

Major F.E. Elgood

New Member
Thanks Guys! Wow! What a welcome and a lot of interesting info. To answer the question: I don't know if it fit's, bought it Sunday and I haven't received it yet! So you can imagine my anticipation...right? I hadn't considered that maybe the paint was removed as the jacket was reissued from one flyer to another. Or possibly after the war, someone attempted to remove the artwork (to make it a more "normal jacket"), which would be so F'n stupid with our 20/20 hindsight! It looks like the name Pete might be under the bombardier wings, but it's hard to see in the pics. And it does look like a faded or partially removed patch under all that...like you guys said. I'll let you know if I can figure out the patch after I get the jacket. If this jacket is legit, then this hero Never fired a shot or dropped a bomb, but instead flew 50 "Special Ops" nighttime tree-top level missions in his painted black, de-armed B-24. He and his unit dropped allied operatives and agents into enemy territory all over the ETO. They dropped hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment, weapons and ammo to the Parisians and Resistance fighters...which was critical to the war effort! He never fired a shot (while the German fighters did!), yet contributed greatly to the V!!! Cool Beans!!!!!!! Here's his obituary with more info: https://kraftsussman.com/tribute/details/820/Thomas-Norman/obituary.html ***********I will post the pics of the other jacket I bought this weekend soon! It is just as cool!
 

Attachments

Spitfireace

Well-Known Member
Looks to be a nice jacket. Doesn't look faked. Jackets were sometimes turned in after the war, as they were still property of US Govt, and re-issued for Korea. So patches and paint were removed for the next person. There are sometimes multiple places where there was a name tag and also different patches were affixed. If you carefully inspect the lining you might be able to find other stitch marks.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
i read that the 885th dropped ordinance, propaganda, agents, etc in italy and the balkans. i did not come upon anything about france. possibly all of the above. further research would clear that up.
 

Major F.E. Elgood

New Member
i read that the 885th dropped ordinance, propaganda, agents, etc in italy and the balkans. i did not come upon anything about france. possibly all of the above. further research would clear that up.
This squadron was equipped with B-17's and B-24's and was part of the 15th Air Force in June 1944, carrying out special operations missions. The unit transported supplies to partisans and engaged in nighttime special operations missions, flying into Occupied France, Fascist Italy, Yugoslavia and other parts of Occupied Europe supporting partisans and parachuting Allied Agents into enemy territory. Was inactivated in Italy in October 1945. I just started researching so I don't know for sure...but this is where I got this info: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/unit/4100
 

Major F.E. Elgood

New Member
From the obit of: "Tom Norman, 92, of Las Vegas, remembers well the secret missions of his 885th Bombardment Squadron of the Army's 15th Air Force Special Group. He was an Army second lieutenant navigator-bombardier in a B-24 Liberator that flew 50 night missions over France before and after D-Day in 1944. But he never dropped a bomb or fired a shot. His B-24, dubbed Pocahontas, had been painted black and modified. "They took out the guns in the front. I couldn't shot anybody." Instead, they air-dropped special agents, "Joes and Josephine's," he said, with parachutes to organize the French underground army and supply them with tons of guns and ammo. On one mission, 11 aircraft from his squadron dropped 18 special agents and "67,000 pounds of arms, ammunition and special supplies to units of the hard pressed French Forces…at clandestine targets scattered throughout Southern France," according to his Distinguished Unit Badge citation from Maj. Gen. Nathan F. Twining on Nov. 1, 1944. The air crews navigated by stars "in the complete darkness of a moonless night." The agents, arms and ammo were successful dropped for immediate use by the "French Forces of the Interior…in the support of the pending invasion." "in addition 225,000 leaflets, alerting the population of three large cities in Southern France, were dispatched," the citation reads, adding that "Marquis," or guerrilla bands of French resistance fighters provided "invaluable aid to the Allied invasion of Southern France." Norman on Thursday recalled how the night flights were conducted. His B-24 would make a 1,200-mile round t rip from Blida, Algeria, in North Africa, flying over the Mediterranean Sea and into Southern France at 1,000 feet or even 500 feet above ground. They were so close to tree tops, sometimes they'd land back at Blida with twigs caught in the wings' flaps. Norman said his job was to spot the three bon fires in a row that "the reception committee" would light the low-lying areas to mark the drop zone. "at the last one was a Frenchman flashing a Morse code letter with a flashlight," he said. "If it wasn't the right letter, we didn't drop." On the eve of the D-Day landings as the invasion was unfolding, Norman noticed German trucks that typically travel at night without lights to conceal their movements were driving with their lights on. "We were going over France and all the Germans had their lights on and we didn't know why. They were going toward Normandy," he said. It wasn't until his squadron returned to Blida and they reported this during the debriefing that his commander revealed that the invasion was underway. "I was trying to figure out what they were doing that for all of a sudden because we weren't used to seeing headlights on a truck going west," he said. "I never realized that it was D-Day. I never gave it a thought. I just thought something was going on with the Germans. Maybe it was Hitler's birthday. I don't know." Norman said to him D-Day meant there "was a lot of men being killed. A lot of my fellow friends got killed. It also meant the freedom for Europe."
 

JessiH

New Member
Well, I like everything that is vintage and old-fashioned. And this applies not only to clothing , but also to furniture and movies. Thus I prefer second-hand clothes, old movies from the 50s, and antique furniture.
 

E Barbina

New Member
From the obit of: "Tom Norman, 92, of Las Vegas, remembers well the secret missions of his 885th Bombardment Squadron of the Army's 15th Air Force Special Group. He was an Army second lieutenant navigator-bombardier in a B-24 Liberator that flew 50 night missions over France before and after D-Day in 1944. But he never dropped a bomb or fired a shot. His B-24, dubbed Pocahontas, had been painted black and modified. "They took out the guns in the front. I couldn't shot anybody." Instead, they air-dropped special agents, "Joes and Josephine's," he said, with parachutes to organize the French underground army and supply them with tons of guns and ammo. On one mission, 11 aircraft from his squadron dropped 18 special agents and "67,000 pounds of arms, ammunition and special supplies to units of the hard pressed French Forces…at clandestine targets scattered throughout Southern France," according to his Distinguished Unit Badge citation from Maj. Gen. Nathan F. Twining on Nov. 1, 1944. The air crews navigated by stars "in the complete darkness of a moonless night." The agents, arms and ammo were successful dropped for immediate use by the "French Forces of the Interior…in the support of the pending invasion." "in addition 225,000 leaflets, alerting the population of three large cities in Southern France, were dispatched," the citation reads, adding that "Marquis," or guerrilla bands of French resistance fighters provided "invaluable aid to the Allied invasion of Southern France." Norman on Thursday recalled how the night flights were conducted. His B-24 would make a 1,200-mile round t rip from Blida, Algeria, in North Africa, flying over the Mediterranean Sea and into Southern France at 1,000 feet or even 500 feet above ground. They were so close to tree tops, sometimes they'd land back at Blida with twigs caught in the wings' flaps. Norman said his job was to spot the three bon fires in a row that "the reception committee" would light the low-lying areas to mark the drop zone. "at the last one was a Frenchman flashing a Morse code letter with a flashlight," he said. "If it wasn't the right letter, we didn't drop." On the eve of the D-Day landings as the invasion was unfolding, Norman noticed German trucks that typically travel at night without lights to conceal their movements were driving with their lights on. "We were going over France and all the Germans had their lights on and we didn't know why. They were going toward Normandy," he said. It wasn't until his squadron returned to Blida and they reported this during the debriefing that his commander revealed that the invasion was underway. "I was trying to figure out what they were doing that for all of a sudden because we weren't used to seeing headlights on a truck going west," he said. "I never realized that it was D-Day. I never gave it a thought. I just thought something was going on with the Germans. Maybe it was Hitler's birthday. I don't know." Norman said to him D-Day meant there "was a lot of men being killed. A lot of my fellow friends got killed. It also meant the freedom for Europe."
Sir,
you may also find more information about the 885th Bombardment Squadron on my memorial website: www.thesolomoncrew.com. There are many documents you can read in the download section, as well as some useful reference information.
Best Regards

Enrico Barbina
Italy
 
Top