French Aviator's Tunic, believed to be Lafayette Flying Corps
This is the Modèle 1915 bleu horizon tunic & képi of the Aeronautique Militaire complete with correct winged star Pattes De Collet color tabs (see Bartlett, page 345, No. 17) and matching set of 17 winged buttons marked “H.J. Paris.” The pilot who wore this tunic was a Sergeant as designated by the gold chevron above each cuff. The two chevrons on the wearer's left sleeve indicate 18 months of service and the two chevrons on his right sleeve indicate two wounds received in combat. The ribbon bars on the left breast are of a Medaille Militaire and a Croix de Guerre. It was acquired from a sale in New England by a previous owner who believed it to have come from the family of one of the 269 veterans of the Lafayette Flying Corps who served in French escadrilles during the war. American aviators in French uniform were not issued numbered wings and had to purchase their wings privately and this appears to be one of those, possibly a Balme or Mourgeon but not a Gardille (see Pandis, page 84). The interior of the kepi is marked in pencil with "5730."