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Service Dress Tunic to a Colonel (flying) of the Italian Air Force
A beautiful, hand-tailored service dress tunic for a colonel of the Regia Aeronatica (the Italian Air Force from 1923 to 1943). The tunic is tailored from a medium blue-grey finished wool. Italian uniforms had a unique double buckle integrated belt for a trimmer fit and neater apperance.
Unlike most Air Forces where officers bought their uniforms from private tailors, the Italians were issued uniforms made by the government. This officer made sure to get a good one. There is no maker or tailor label and the tunic is un-named.
As shown, the tunic was worn with a white dress shirt and usually a private purchase blue or black tie. I have seen pictures with light blue or light gray shirts as well.

A very well decorated pilot. The pilot wing is a particularly well detailed, metal badge, pin-back with a unique catch. The medals to this long serving veteran include, top row, l-r:Miltary Valor Cross, War Merit Cross with star for second award (1,2), War Merit Cross (3), War Merit Cross (4). Middle row, l-r:Spanish Civil War Campaign Medal, Spanish Volunteers Rembrance Medal, 1940-43 Campaign Medal (3 stars = 3 years), Albanian Expedition Medal. Bottom Row, l-r: Saints Maurice and Lazarus Cross (Knight), Order of the Crown of Italy (Officer), Air Force Long Service Medal (gold = 20 years), Silver Officer's Service Cross (16 years). The small badge on the lapel is a commemorative badge for the Albanian Campaign.
On the service dress, Officers had a pair of tabs to indicate class of service and specialty. The two gold rectangles indicate senior officer and the stylized propeller in the middle indicates a flying role.
Officer's rank on the service dress was indicated by gold braid on each sleeve. The diamond on the top was unique to the Air Force. One large stripe and three smaller stripes was the rank of Colonel.

The button device. Note the use of crowns as the military was still considered 'royal' even though the king had little to do with it after Il Duce came to power.
Both enlisted and officer uniforms have a pair of stars at the collar. This is a traditional Italian military insignia.

© 2004 Tod Rathbone