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This is a wonderful example of the M1913 Imperial Prussian
Air Force Pilot Badge, which saw heavy wear during the war by Fighter Pilot
Walter Gabriel, who is credited with One Aerial Victory.
Such heavy wear, in fact, that both the C catch, and the
pin, had to be replaced. Although the pin may have been changed for wearing
preferences: a very flat, wide, pin was used, which would have allowed for very
tight suspension loops to be sewn onto the uniform, keeping the badge for
moving around. The C catch was certainly broken and repaired, and the
base plate of the repair covers most of the Crescent Moon and 800 mark on back
of the badge. While there is no damage to the obverse of the badge, it does
appear to have some slight loss of details, due to heavy polishing. Although
the badge has a lovely patina now, over 100 years later, apparently Herr
Gabriel liked to keep it "in the bright"!
Beautifully hand-etched on the back, done undoubtedly by
Walter himself, in an Art Nouveaux / Arts & Crafts period style font, the
am 31 Mai 1917
Schweden Str. 16
Walter and his twin brother Willi built their own Eindecker
Aircraft in the early 1910's, the 3rd, ca 1912, was a 2-seater that
brother Willi flew to earn his Pilot Brevet on 12 August 1912.
Both Willi and Walter went on to become fighter pilots in
World War One, and their exploits - especially Willi's - are detailed in the
publication "Fokker D VII aces of World War I" by Norman Leslie
Robert Franks, Greg Van Wyngarden and Tony Holmes.
Willi had a head start on Walter, and was a Double ACE
before the end of the War, with 11 Aerial Victories. Walter, earning his Brevet
5 years later than Willi, is only credited with 1 Victory. But, that is still
more than many airman accomplished in the First World War.
While it is hard to find more information on Walter, a
timeline of Willi's accomplishments can be found here: http://www.sterbebild.de/2972.html?*session*id*key*=*session*id*val*
Bromberg, where the Gabriel brothers were from, was a part
of Prussia that is now in Poland, and called Bydgoszcz. And the Gabriel family
had Polish ties themselves, being related directly to eventual Polish President
Approximately 2-7/8" in height x 1-13/16" in width.
MATERIALS / CONSTRUCTION:
Vertical T Pin with open C catch.
This is from a WWI Imperial German collection which we will be listing more of over the next few months. VAJJJM17 LFHGEX07/16/22 SFEJJX07/27/22
7+ (Very Fine): The replaced pin and catch do not really detract, if anything, they add character to the badge. I am deducting more for the wear on front. But, the badge is still a treasure, with its biographical information etched on the reverse, and would still be an important part of any WWI Imperial German Aviation Collection.
GUARANTEE: As with all my artifacts, this piece is guaranteed to be original, as described.