To the left is an the first full dress or parade uniform of the post-WWI Royal Bulgarian Air Force, established per regulations in 1933 (M33 model). Unlike the later M1936 featured to the right, the M1933 only had a single row of buttons and did not have the metal gilt belt buckle, only a fabric covered hidden buckle. The officer on the left is Captain Boyadjiev. On the right is General Boidev. The parade uniform was dark navy wool with trousers and a unique visored cap with a gold cord chin strap. As pictured it was worn with white cover and without. It was worn with a formal shirt and tie.
M1933 Captain Boyadjiev M1936 General Boidev M1936 Lt. Col. Georgi Aladjov
M1936 Unknown with unusual white hat M1936 Colonel Valkov M1936 Manolev with Collar Tabs M1936 Lt. Condakov with Polish Wing

The service dress adopted by the Royal Bulgarian Air Force was patterned closely on the style of the Luftwaffe with high collars, officers tabs (similar to the Whermacht) and shoulder boards. The tunic was worn with a garrison belt or without. The color of the wool was a lighter blue grey (more blue than the Luftwaffe). Piping for flight personnel was sky blue. A branch of service wing was worn on the right breast and the flight badge was worn under the left pocket. A high peaked, small visored cap in the same blue color was standard. Breeches were typically worn with high riding boots.
M1941 Unknown M1941 Fighter Pilots with swords
Bulgaria March 1, 1942
A nice portrait photo of Velco Ivanov as either an officer candidate or cadet taken in Kazanluk. He wears the Bulgarian AF branch of service device on the right chest and the Boris III 'transport wing' on his left chest. This device was instituted as a 'hidden' military wing as Bulgaria was not supposed to have a military air force prior to WWII.
Bulgaria August 13, 1943
Velco Ivanov now older and as 2nd Lieutenant in Kavala (Greece). The single diamond and the single stripe on the boards indicate rank. The boards also have the royal cypher of Tsar Boris III. The wing is the branch of service device. The pilot qualification wing would be on the pocket.
A service uniform portrait of Georgi Aladjov as a Puruchyk (Lieutenant) probably taken around 1939. A photographic album of Col. Popganchev, Bulgarian Air Force. Click the above to see.
A portrait of the 55th Officer's Graduaction class shows a variety of M36 uniforms worn. Many of these men came from other branches of service before moving to the Air Force. Georgi Aladjov (the Lt. pictured above is seated in the front row on the left.)

The Royal Bulgarian Air Force also had a unique field dress uniform with a different cut and color. The tunic was a single breasted wool tunic with open lapels. It was medium olive brown in color similar to the army. It appears to be worn with numerous types of pants including breeches and trousers in black, blue and the oliver brown color. There was a corresponding brown visor cap but the service dress cap seems to be worn as well. The photo in the upper right is a very early transitional uniform from the 20s. The air force officer still wears cuff boards which were later removed. The middle picture shows General Boidev has chosen to wear a bow tie with his uniform to better show off his neck order. And the man on the right appears to be a warrant officer or officer aspirant. Note the different shirt colors worn.
Three happy officers. This is probably an early 30s photo as they are still wearing WWI style pilot badges. Note they do not have officers collar tabs and seem to be wearing hats in the parade style. Pilots on field maneuvers. They have map cases, gas masks and daggers along with their field uniforms.

Bulgarian officers seemed to have a lot of choices for outer gear, including dress coats with handsome fine wool collars on the left. Or, field coats, belts and soft caps as shown on the right. One of the really unique items was the cape, which was in field brown, shown at lower left.

Directory / Exhibits / Links / Bookstore / Mail / Info / Donations / Thanks
© Tod Rathbone