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World War II: 1939 ~ 1945
United States of America (All Branches)
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A0728
Selling Price: $1385 - Postage in the U.S.A. is: $15
LOW 1935 #46 RIPCORD CLUB FULL DOCUMENT & PHOTO AIRBORNE PARACHUTE LOT!
TO INCLUDE OFFICIALLY DATED FIRST JUMP PHOTOGRAPHS U.S. AAF ARMY AIR CORPS!
Top notch collection of documents and rare photographs that belonged to Private Berle E. Wilson of the 64th Service Squadron, Air Corps, at March Field in California. Most of the material is era hand and type dated to the mid 1930's, but the collection also includes some later items including his Certificate of Fitness from 1945, and some retirement Photographs, circa 1975.

Of primary significance is Private Wilson's Rip Cord Club certificate. At era 8 x 10 give or take specs, the diploma itself is pre-burnt onto photo sensitive paper and then india-ink penned in with the survivor's particulars. That burning chemical processis why the document appears so distinctly brown. It has a few creases and minor dogging along some edges. There is also some folding at the left and right edges.Given that the paper is a heavy stock and still quite solid, it is for the age in better than good overall condition.

Take special note, it is November the 30th of 1935 dated. Now here's the perk, the printed "Certification of Membership" document is issued to commemorate Berle's first parachute jump.

It states: To all who shall see these presents, greetings: Know ye that Pvt. B. Wilson did this date voluntarily separate himself from an airplane at an altitude of two thousand feet, and that after the usual antics incident to the law of falling bodies did succeed in causing his parachute to become disengaged from its pack and open in prescribed manner That upon landing, than which there was nothing surer, he was found to be enjoying life, and although his spirits were possibly dampened, he was still in possession of the Rip Cord used to release the parachute of which he was an appendage in making said landing.

He is therefore a full fledged life member of this worthy order and as such we trust will continue to perform his duties as competently and gloriously as he has this day.

Done at March Field this 30th day of November in the year of our Lord and preserver one thousand nine hundred thirty-five.

The certificate came free with the experience, but the jumper had to buy the pin and hence that is why so few pinsare accounted for today by collectors. The Smithsonian has one. Just as rare, the "kit" also contained a few photographs showing the same November the 15th of 1935 jumps in progress. These two 5 inch by 7 inch large format photographs are orignal Signal Corps type or some other official photographic agency recorded with an index cataloguing number, and the "11-30-35" date and state, "March Field - Cal." They are lightly stamped on the back OFFICIAL PHOTO and AIR CORPS U.S. ARMY. Both are in good condition So, you get the full complement set as issued - that is rare.

There is also my favorite photo of the lot, as a paratrooper myself, the dreaded, "towed jumper" image that is 6.75 inches by 9 inches wide and has a mini-crease with some tape in the middle at the top and bottom edges. The Plane is a Biplane with 2 seats and the picture is undated or marked on the back. But I'll say one thing, he seems to be enjoying himself. The only way for him to get out is at some point to cut away his risers and deploy the reserve chute - good luck, Pal!

A complete inventory of the auction items also includes:

An interesting series of Photographs from March Field in California that were taken in the mid-1930's that show many vintage aircraft from mostly the 95th and 34th Bomb Squadrons. My favorites are the 5 inch by 7 inch large format photos of the rare (only 136 produced) Boeing P-26A (95th Squadron!), the first all-metal standard monoplane fighter. It was called the "Peashooter" by its pilots. It's first flight took place on March 20, 1932 and it was drasticalluy obsolete in three years. But it has the open cockpit, so you felt the ride and was a racehorse when compared to almost all other predecessors.

We also have a fine: Thanksgiving 1934 64th Service Squadron, Air Corps, Roster and Menu. This is a heavy stock Booklet with a photograph attached to the front that shows the 64th Service Squadron at March Field, California. On the inside of the Booklet is a roster of the 64th Service Squadron including the 8th Signal Service Company, Signal Corps. On the right inside page is a Menu for the Thanksgiving meal for Thursday, November 29, 1934. The Photograph on the cover of the Booklet has a tear at the top edge. The Booklet has fine creases, some edge wear, and some light stains on the inside. It is solid, and in good condition.

There is also an equally nice: Christmas 1935 Air Corps Roster and Christmas Dinner Menu. On heavy stock Tan paper, this Booklet has a picture on the cover of the March Field HQ Building and includes the Air Corps Troops Station Complement. The Booklet has some soil, stains, creases, and edge wear. There is a note written on the Menu page at the top in ink. Its overall condition is good.

Commendation Letter dated March 13, 1936. From Paul B. Malone, Major General, U.S. Army, Commanding, issued to Private Berle Wilson (see pictures). It has some minor creasing and soil on the face, but is in very good condition overall.

Certificate of Fitness and Medical Note. The Certificate of Fitness is dated March 26, 1945 and notes that Berle Wilson is Physically fit and acceptable for general military service. The Medical Note advises recipients that they have been found acceptable for military service and that they should State all of your complaints now (regarding any condition which might make them unsuitable for military service).

Two Signed images of Berle Wilson. They measure 7 inches by 5 inches and are printed on a cardboard like stock. Both are signed on the front in silver ink, at the lower right corner. They show Private Wilson standing in front of a large Aircraft Propeller. In one picture, he is wearing his dress uniform while the other shows him in aviator dress. Both have minor wear, but are in very good condition overall.

17 Photographs of March Field and surrounding area, dating to the mid-1930's. The Photographs measure 6-1/2 inches wide by 4-3/4 inches high (with some small variation). Each has a typed caption on the back (see our pictures for a shot of all of the captions). Photographs show some corner creases and some light soil, but are in good to very good condition overall.

Photograph of Burning Aircraft. This undated photograph is 4-1/4 by 6 inches in size. It shows an Aircraft with most of its front structure missing, and smoke billowing in the background. There are no markings on the back and its context is unknown. The condition of the Photograph is good to very good with some corner creasing and a slight tear at the right edge.

RPPC (Real Photo Post Card) of March Field. It measures 3-1/2 inches by 5-1/2 inches and shows a picture of March Field with Snow Capped Mountains in the background. The back side has a hand written note from Berle. It is in very good condition.

Two (2) RPPCs + 13 Assorted Photos. They are of various sizes and range from fair to very good condition. We believe several show Berle at different times in his life, with others of friends and family members. An interesting assortment.

Five (5) Retirement Photographs, circa 1975. They show Berle with co-workers as he retires from one of the Aerospace companies. Each measures 4-1/4 inches by 5 inches, and is in very good condition.

Douglas Aircraft 1938 Photograph. This large photo is 8 inches high and about 19 inches wide. It is captioned at the upper right:

DOUGLAS AIRCRAFT CO. INC.

NIGHT BOMBER INSTALLATION DEPT.

SANTA MONICA MAY-2-1938

On the back of the picture we have Berle Wilson's name written in ink. The picture shows a large group of employees standing in front of the wall of a building. We guess that Berle Wilson is among those pictured, and worked here after completing his military service at March Field.

The Photograph is on a heavy weight stock which has curled up from age. It shows several serious creases with one fracturing the paper and that will eventually cause the paper to separate at that location. It would benefit from being stabilized and placed in a frame under glass. The image is in good to very good condition, with the paper in fair to good condition.

This is a great collection of rare 1930's Air Corps documents and Photographs. It is not too often that we can put historical photographs into the context of a single person's life but we have enjoyed seeing these treasured items that belonged to Private Berle Wilson . One can only imagine the value he placed on something like his Rip Cord Certificate that he received for his first Parachute Jump. It is clear that his aviation experiences influenced the entire arc of his life. We are pleased to be able to offer this collection to you here on eBay.



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