Re: Latest WW1 Aero

C.P. Hart (
Tue, 7 Nov 1995 17:57:30 +0000

A few comments while waiting on my copy of WW I Aero to arrive in my mail box.

Jim Mass has written:

>I would suggest that that article, along with the most recent issue of Cross
>and Cockade, have turned a lot of the WWI 'basics' upside down.
>The C&C article 'Goodbye to All that Red' by Alan Toelle makes a convincing
>case that many of the authentic samples of German fabric, from which stem all
>those wonderful '27D-E7' Methuen references, are fake. At this point, we may
>have more demonstrably authentic Austro-Hungarian sampl;es (I _know_ where
>Marty got his stuff) than German.
I have received my copy of Cross and Cockade with the above mentioned
article. While he was alive, I had some contact with Rodney Gerrard,
distributor of the now infamous fabric samples. While, as Paul Lehman
suggests, Rodney did engage in some suspicious behaviour about the
authenticity of these fabric samples, a couple of questions arise from
Toelle's piece. Most of the purportedly fake samples were collected by a
British officer of the name A. Wilcox. Why was there no investigation in
the Toelle piece regarding the service record of this officer. With the
substantial research efforts over many years of personell in the RFC,
certainly there must be an official document or two with his handwriting on
it to which the purportedly faked intelligence reports could be compared.
Why, too, would some of the Wilcox papers be written on RFC official forms
? Some of them are, I have seen them and made copies. This fact is
missing from Toelle's article.

As to the late Marty O'Connor's Austro-Hungarian color references ??
Many of his fabric samples came from Rodney Gerrard. I know this from
correspondence with a mutual friend. One can even look at Marty's
multi-part article in Cross & Cockade of about 1988 and see that Rodney is
acknowledged in these articles.

If one makes a careful examination of Windsock articles and Datafiles
published prior to 1990 you will find acknowledgement of Rodney Gerrard by
Ray Rimell. I do not know if Ray has obtained fabric samples from other
sources. If anyone else knows, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Was this entire collection fake ? I have no answer. Rodney allegedly
had many dozens of fabric samples in hand. No one was ever able to
document the whole collection. Since his death in 1990 the disposition of
this material is unknown.

The piece by Toelle does not only cast doubt on material from Rodney
Gerrard but on all fabric specimens purported to originate from first World
War aircraft. What now constitutes an authentic specimen when it is only a
2 by 2 inch swatch cut with scissors? What constitutes authentic and
unquestionable documentation of said pieces?

>The next question is - what happened when the mauve was introduced. Mauve
>and dark green? Mauve and light green? Mauve and both greens?

The answer here is look at a lot of photographs, as many as you can find.