Brazilian Pilots in Bomber Command

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Colinp, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. Colinp

    Colinp Junior Member

    Has anyone researched this subject at all, I am looking at a Brazilian born man volunteering to serve in the RAF and became a Pilot on a Lancaster Squadron.
    As a native Brazilian but from European parents would he have worn the Brazil Shoulder Title as an NCO and or Commissioned Officer.
    I am assuming the numbers of Brazilian born men who served in Bomber Command as Pilots will be few.
    Thank you for looking at my question.
  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    A few more details would help, name, rank, squadron?
  3. Colinp

    Colinp Junior Member

    Thanks for that but in this case it is likely to only confuse the case as it is the Anglo/Brazilian status that I am trying to resolve.
    Presumably when volunteering to serve in the RAF your birth place would have been an important matter.
    If 'born in Brazil status existed' would that person eventually be issued with the Brazil Shoulder Titles.

    Clearly this situation would be relative to Air or Ground Crew duties.

    An interesting subject I assume the Shoulder Titles existed for specific purposes and wonder if the Air Ministry collated such facts.
  4. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member


    J13065 F/Lt Charles Ronald Trery of Argentina but enlisted with an address in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is not wearing either an Argentine or Brazilian title in the two photographs of him.

    To further confuse the issue see the excerpt from the Hamilton Spectator from 21 October 1944.



    Attached Files:

  6. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Micheal Bentine of Goons fame was a pilot and Brazilian.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As I see it.

    Nationals born in non Empire and non Dominion locations but with a British parent or parents served in the RFC in the Great War and would be members of the RFC and wear no flash of their country.This was also the case of foreign volunteers in the Second World War where countries who had not declared war or war been declared on them by a country on their country of birth.

    Only if the country of birth was at war with the enemy,would their nationals wear national identify flashes within the structure of the British armed forces....most Western European occupied countries would come under this category.Empire and Dominion forces would operate with their own national identity displayed on their uniform in accordance with their military structure.

    Additionally there were many US citizens who joined the RAF in the Second World War when the US was neutral.Their uniform did not carry any US identify and remained so while they were members of the RAF.......some later transferred to the USAAF and others were listed as having USAAF rank while still flying with the RAF.

    Incidentally,Michael Bentine was a RAF Intelligence Officer at the start of the Second World War while at far as I know he never flew as designated aircrew.....known for a prank at the Hemswell Officers Mess when he created footprints on the mess ceiling as someone who had defied gravity.
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    This is the CWGC information of F/S Claude Love RCAF who joined the RCAF as a US national when his country was neutral,it would appear.He lies with his crew,all RCAF in the Noirmoutier en -L'Ile Communal Cemetery while serving in No 142 Squadron of the Royal Air Force.As RCAF personnel these airmen would wear the Canada shoulder flash.,%20CLAUDE%20LORRAINE

    As an aside,Visited Normoutier a number of times together with its cemeteries while on holiday...can recommend the area ...also ideal for an overnight stop when travelling down to Gascony.
  9. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    That's not true.

    Original caption says "Air Marshal W.A. "Billy" Bishop V.C., one of the greatest Allied aces of World War I,
    pins wings on Leading Aircraftman R.N. Harrison of Montclair, New Jersey
    upon his graduation from No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands, Ontario (31 July, 1942)"

    Many also wore the Canada USA title [​IMG]

    Also, Americans in the Eagle Squadrons wore a "USA" at their shoulder and were permitted to sport the Eagle Squadron emblem:

    And somewhere I have a photo of a Lancaster pilot who was a Swiss national. He's wearing a Switzerland title.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Alien Eyes

    Those US volunteers in the RCAF may well have insignia as illustrated in the flying schools and that may well be Canadian government publicity in drawing US volunteers.LAC Middleton would have entered the RCAF as a volunteer before the US entered the war in December 1941 since he is shown as passing out after a pilot course.The wearing of USA insignia for US volunteers into the RCAF would fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadians and be a decision for them to make in wearing additional insignia.There should be a Canadian government order authorising the wearing of foreign insignia on the RCAF uniform.

    However in a theatre of war,I would say that the uniform of a combatant would be strictly the uniform of the force he was serving Bishop was part of the Canadian government PR face of aviation from his background of being a Great War ace.Also Canadian/British political discussions put a commitment on the Canadians to meet their promises in forming a Canadian arm for Bomber Command from which US volunteers were readily accepted.Glancing through Reap the Whirlwind,the untold account of No 6 Group RCAF of World War 2,I cannot find any photographs of personnel wearing of US insignia.Before the US had entered the war in December 1941,a total of 6129 US volunteers had been accepted for service with the RCAF. If RCAF US volunteers served in the ETO with US insignia on their uniform,there would be photographic evidence of it..Many of these volunteers are mentioned by name and a number chose to stay with their RCAF unit,others,on being transferred to the USAAF,stayed with their RCAF unit until their ops tour had been completed.One a US pilot,F/O Gene Rosner, is recorded as wishing to join the USAAF went to London,then came back in USAAF uniform with the intention of completing his tour.

    Prior to the outbreak of war,the RCAF can only be described as a fledgling air force and joining the RCAF was not easy. As a consequence a number of Canadians joined the RAF prewar.There is no evidence that these servicemen wore a shoulder flash "Canada"?

    Altogether the personnel of the British and Dominions air forces together with those exiled Allied air forces wore their national air forces uniform with their related insignia.Any insignia wore on a uniform should be in accordance with official orders.

    No doubt some wore insignia which could be regarded as improper dress.I think that the Swiss insignia falls into this category and would not represent an insignia that was issued in accordance with an Air Ministry order.

    Looking at the Brazil connection,there is a good example of an airman reported to be of Brazilian descent which I feel is misleading.This is misleading insofar as it appears he was born in Brazil of British nationals, another source records that his parents were living in many British nationals,his parents occupation probably saw them working and residing in Brazil for companies who were involved in various businesses...there was strong British presence in the development of the Brazilian railway system through companies such aS British Electric Traction.

    This airmen was W/C C L Gomm the C.O of No 467 Squadron (RAAF) from November 1942 until he FTR on 15 August 1943 on an op to Milan.If born in Brazil,due to his British parentage he would have the status of a British subject,no different to those born during the British Raj in India...people such as Guy Gibson,Spike Milligan and many more in foreign countries.... there was British children born also in Germany during the post Great War occupation on the Rhineland.

    Keith Park,F.C Group Commander, a New Zealander joined the RFC during the Great War and continued with a RAF career during the Second World War but as far as I know did not wear a NZ shoulder flash as he was not serving with the RNZAF. There are many examples of those born in the Dominions who joined the RAF prewar and wore RAF uniform without country of birth insignia.

    Brazil declared war on the Axis Powers in August 1942...previously as a close ally of the had allowed the US to use naval and air bases on the coastline of Brazil for the anti U Boat campaign.However its forces were not well equipped and were worked up to strength under Lease Lend.By July 1944,it was suitable equipped and trained and a division,along with an air element fought under US direction in Italy until the end of the war.Brazilian forces would have their own uniform and insignia since they entered the war with an air force of their own right.

    There may have been the odd natural born Brazilian who joined the RAF after Brazil declared war on the Axis Powers but they, if they exist, have yet to be ascertained.

    As regards the exiled Polish Air Force,they wore their own uniform during the war provided by the RAF but with Polish insignia. Those who remained in the RAF as political exiles after the war wore the RAF uniform but without their national insignia,ie,their service would be akin to any other serviceman in the RAF.

    Its as complex matter but the outcome would be as allowed by the various air force orders
  11. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member

    Going back to the original post, I am in contact with someone who is researching all airmen who served with the RAF with links to Brazil.

    If you would like to PM me, I will provide you with his details,

    It may be that I have done some research on the airmen that you are researching if he served with No 35 Squadron


  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    There are dozens of casualties from WW2 where the family lived in Brazil example below


    Rank: Wing Commander Service No: 34123 Date of Death: 15/08/1943 Age: 30 Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force 467 (R.A.A.F.) Sqdn. Awards: D S O, D F C Grave Reference: VII. C. 6. Cemetery: ST. DESIR WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Harry Herbert and Isabel Withers Gomm, of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  13. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    CWGC list these Air Force men with an address of "Brazil".
    surname forename

    Brazil was the only South American Nation to declare War against the Axis Powers on 22 August 1942.
    Presumably from that date they would be entitled to a Brazil flash as a combatant nation?
  14. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Chorley, in his publication RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.9 - Roll Of Honour 1939-1947 gives the following statistics re Brazilian aircrew losses while serving in the RAF .........

    1941 - 1
    1942 - 3
    1943 - 5
    1944 - 2
  15. Colinp

    Colinp Junior Member

    Kevin and Peter
    These statistics are interesting 27 men in total and 11 of which are from Bomber Command.
    The Bomber Command numbers are obviously indicative of the small contingent of men from Brazil who flew with them.
    The name listing is most appreciated thank you.
  16. John Dixon

    John Dixon New Member

    Wing Commander Cosme Lockwood Gomm (as I have discovered to be his full name) is referred to as ''a Brazilian'' (though he speaks with a perfect British accent) in this wartime Pathe Newsreel, where he is interviewed at 5.05 into the piece:
  17. Blutto

    Blutto Banned

    Regardless of whether some did or did not, I'd suggest that it might depend on whether or not they considered themselves Brazilian citizens. Currently, plenty of British born people resident in Australia are not Australian citizens, so would they regard themselves as Australian or British in a similar situation? I note that thankfully nobody has suggested the wearing of shoulder flashes by Britons born in Germany :)

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