Chuting Stars

Today we feature a scarf made from American camouflage silk cut from a parachute. This type of fabric was used by troops dropped behind enemy lines during World War II. Unlike the regular white parachutes used by diversionary forces, these camouflage chutes provided better concealment once on the ground.

It became common practice among special forces to cut a piece from their first jump chute and wear it as a necktie or scarf. This tradition symbolized their service and the challenges they faced. When purchasing a piece of wartime chute fabric, collectors should look for irregular shapes and joins, as parachutes were made of long thin triangles with many seams, never using white thread.

Though some camouflage parachutes were used in the Korean War, their use dwindled by the 1950s. These scarves and pieces of fabric are more than just items; they are pieces of history, reflecting the bravery and resourcefulness of the troops who wore them.

Pinning Down History: New Zealand Wartime Badges

During the Second World War, New Zealand aircrew, often serving within the Royal Air Force (RAF), wore nationality badges to signify their origins. The photographs showcase several such badges produced by J.R. Gaunt and other UK makers. These badges served as a mark of identity for the New Zealanders in the RAF.

Among the collection is a unique souvenir card-mounted brooch, featuring sterling silver and inlaid mother-of-pearl. This brooch, designed in the style of earlier Gaunt badges, was a more commercial piece sold during the Commonwealth Flying Training Program, which took place in the relative safety of New Zealand. The training program was a significant effort to prepare aircrew while keeping them away from the direct dangers of the conflict in Europe.

These items are not just pieces of metal but carry stories of bravery and camaraderie, symbolizing the contributions of New Zealanders during a tumultuous period in history. Collectors and history enthusiasts alike can appreciate the craftsmanship and historical value these badges represent.