|An unnamed national hero Antisminarchos (Wing Commander) of the 13th Mira Bomber Squadron of the Royal Hellenic Air Force (Greek Air Force).|
|The 13th Light Bomber squadron, or mira, was the first fully operational squadron to enter service in the Middle East. Formed from flight personnel of the Navy and Air Force, its primary task was to protect Med. convoys and conduct long range reconnaissance. The uniform above is a blue winter service dress that belonged to a senior officer of the 13th mira whose name we do not know.||The uniform is made of relatively coarse serge wool and was tailored in Greece. It probably followed the officer to Egypt where most of the time he would have worn British issue KD. The tunic features two chest pockets, two bellows pockets and an integrated waist belt. The style closely follows the RAF.||The other side shows the 13th mira symbol that was adopted in early 1941. It was sometimes put on aircraft as well. The rank is that of Wing Commander with three large rank stripes and one thin one. As an Antisminarchos, the officer is entitled to gold bullion braid on his visor cap.|
|Like the British, the RHAF officers wore their tunics with blue service shirts and black ties.||A close-up of the 13th Mira Squadron patch.||A close-up view of the rank braid, which seems to be a combination of Italian and British styles.|
|Thanks to Dimitris Giannoglou, 2nd Lt Greek Medical Corps, collector of Orders and Medals, Member of the Council of Northern Greek Historical Memorabuilia Collectors' Club who provided this information.
Top row left to right:
Order of the Redeemer -- (also called the Order of Christ) Greece's oldest order as well as their highest order and very rarely bestowed. This was awarded in 5 grades. It is very unusual for a WWII Officer to have been awarded one. Silver Cross or Knight in this example.
Greek Cross of Valour in Gold -- the Greek Victoria Cross; the crown indicates a second award. The Officers were awarded ther Gold Cross, while NCOs and soldiers took the Silver Cross
Royal Order of King George, Officer grade -- the rosette on the ribbon indicates an Officer grade while with no rosette the grade would be Knight.
Second row left to right:
The Order of the Phoenix -- with Officer's Bow (rosette) and with crossed swords for valor in combat with an enemy in time of war -- this award, like the Order of George, was given for both military and civilian "contributions of great value to the kingdom of Greece" the rosette indicates the grade, the swords indicate a military action.
Gold Cross for Valour in Flight -- to quote official sources " Awarded to flying officers and NCOs for exceptional valour in flight, causing great damage to the enemy". (NB. According to Major George Beldecos, the leading authority on the EVA and an officer in the current Greek Air Force, only 19 men were awarded this medal. It is considered one of the rarest). I have now added a picture of the medal here.
Greek War Cross in Gold with Two Bars -- this was the second most important decoration for gallantry after the Cross of Valor, given by Greece since the turn of the century; it was awarded in bronze, silver, and gold grades. The ribbon bar has two gold crown devices indicating 3 awards of the highest (gold) grade of this award and 10 in total. To receive a higher class, the recipient should already have received 4 times the lower class.This medal was awarded to all 3 services.
The Air Force Flying medal -- this was given to officers and NCOs of the Air Force for distinguished leadership abilities and commanding services at Wartime.
|The tailor back in Greece who made the tunic.|
|A close-up of the officers visor cap which unfortunately shows some wear in the crown.|
|The interior of the hat with the maker's name.|
|The front of the jacket showing the heavy stitching and the rather heavy plain belt buckle.||A close-up of the RHAF button, which is very similar to the British style.|
|© Tod Rathbone|