Extremely rare pre WW2 RAF Officers' Full Dress (Home Service) uniform attributed to the late Air Chief Marshall Sir William Geoffrey Hanson Salmond KCB, KCMG, DSO. He was born at Hougham, Dover on 19th August 1878 and following private tuition in London, was educated at Aysgarth preparatory school near Bedale, before attending Wellington College in Berkshire and in 1896, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, as a cadet. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 23rd June 1898 and fought in the Second South African War until wounded in June 1900. Once recovered he was seconded for service in China and saw active service during the Relief of Pekin. A second tour of duty in South Africa followed after which he returned to the UK as a Captain. Here he took a course to qualify as a Japanese interpreter (2nd class) and was posted to 110th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Deepcut Barracks, Farnborough, acting as adjutant of the 24th Brigade. On 23rd August 1912 he took his first flight and transferred to the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire. He gained a Royal Aero Club pilots' licence in February 1913 and was placed on the RFC reserve list on 17th April 1913. Salmond joined the Military Aeronautics Directorate at the War Office as a General Staff Officer and in August 1914, was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps and posted to Amiens where he helped devise a method of pinpointing enemy targets from the air. Promoted to Major he became Commanding Officer (CO) of No.1 Aeroplane Squadron on AVRO 504s and BE8 biplanes during the battles of Neuve-Chapelle & Aubers Ridge. He was then transferred as CO of No.5 Wing in Egypt and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (temporary) and Brigadier General (temporary), in July 1916. He formed and commanded the Middle East Brigade, RFC HQ, Cairo, Egypt, with responsibility for operations from the Mesopotamian deserts to the Greek mountains. His RFC units provided critical tactical support to army commanders in Salonika, East Africa, Egypt and Palestine in the identification of enemy artillery positions and bombing of Turkish transport systems. Salmond was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in March 1917 for 'conspicuous ability and devotion to duty when personally directing the work of the Royal Corps'. During 1917 he was awarded the CB, Order of the Nile, and Order of St. Saviour of Greece, with the award of KCMG the following year. In January 1918 he was promoted to Major General (temporary, then substantive from 1st April). He remained in the Middle East until 1922 when he became Director General (later Air Member) for Supply & Research at the Air Council following the award of a permanent commission in the newly formed Royal Air Force as an Air Vice Marshall. During this post he conceived and developed 'Light Aeroplane Flying Clubs' to create a nation of trained airmen. He was promoted to Air Marshall in July 1929 and in 1931 became Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Air Defence of Great Britain, RAF Command (Home) at Uxbridge, Middlesex. He was further promoted to Air Chief Marshall in January 1933 and appointed Chief of the Air Staff, Air Ministry, in April of the same year. Salmond was one of the original pioneers of long range and high speed flight and instumental with the development of aircraft for the Schneider Trophy including the Supermarine S6, foreunner of the Spitfire. He had been suffering with cancer for some time and died in post on 27th April 1933.
Here we are offering Salmond's RAF Full Dress uniform (Home Service). This distinctive pattern was authorised for wear by Air Ministry Weekly Order 332 in April1920 for use on ceremonial occasions. Use was officially suspended at the outbreak of WW2 after which it was discontinued. The single breasted tunic was produced from fine quality blue Venetian cloth with seven gilt buttons at the front and two above a single vent at the rear. It has an intricately decorated bullion embroidered stand collar and bullion lace for the rank of Air Marshall. The epaulettes also have bullion embroidered eagles/crowns and being of Air Rank, these also feature bullion embroidered laurel wreaths around each epaulette button. There is a beautiful padded King's crown bullion wire dress pilot wing and the tunic has the addition of various stitched cotton medal bar loops on the left breast. This area also features three sets of loops arranged in an 'A' shape, on which the Orders to the officer would have been worn. Also present on the inside left front of the tunic (behind the button holes) is a row four vertical equidistantly spaced black metal hooks on which the neck Orders were suspended, allowing them to be exposed between the buttons. The tunic is fully lined in off-white padded silk and white moleskin in the skirt area. The matching tousers are manufactured from fine barathea and feature the correct Air Rank lace stitched up the outer side of each leg. They feature a button fly and have leather straps/buckles at the ankles. The tunic is very clean with just one small moth hole near the collar and very light moth trailing (see photographs). It is unlabelled/un-named - see below. The trousers are equally good, without tailor's label but have 'Burberry' marked buttons. The uniform would have been worn with a leather busby and ostrich plume (later a peaked cap) along with a separate sword belt. Although un-named, it is very unusual for an officer with the rank of Air Marshall to have been awarded three breast orders but Salmond had the KCB, KCMG and GO of the Order of The Nile. The metal hooks would hold the four neck Orders awarded in order of precedence down the front. The uniform comes with some biographical information and copy photographs of Salmond in Full Dress, also correspondence between the former owner and Salmond's daughter regarding provenance. She has written various books including 'From Biplane to Spitfire', the story of her father Air Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond and his brother Jack. A superb rare early RAF uniform and a beautiful display piece. Stock code U25424.