|RARE WWII PERIOD FRENCH FORCES OF THE INTERIOR (FFI) ARMBAND
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|The French Forces of the Interior, or FFI, was comprised of civilians that, during the latter part of WWII, loosely organized into military-like units to aid in the French Resistance. As the various areas of France were liberated, the role of the FFI became more formalized, many of its members received training, and FFI companies supported Free French forces in the field, especially in less active parts of the warfront.
The Free French military effort was founded in London in 1940 by French government minister Charles de Gaulle. "By mid-1944, the Free French numbered more than 400,000, and they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of Southern France, eventually leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, and by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong - the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe - and took part in the Allied invasion of Germany." (ref. Wikipedia). De Gaulle sanctioned the FFI as well, and, in fact, employed the term in a more generalized sense to describe the resistance on the whole.
While I have owned a handful of Free French flags, featuring the Cross of Lorraine, this is the first F.F.I. textile that I have seen in the marketplace.
The armband is constructed of a length of oxford-like white cotton, to which blue and red panels were appliquéd at spaced intervals to create the French tricolor in the center with white space to either side. The white fabric was bound by machine and the appliqué work was accomplished with machine stitching. The lettering was formed from thick cotton cord that was stitched into place by hand in the center panel. "FTPF" was stamped in the upper right-hand corner in black ink. The numerals "2223" were penned in the lower right in blue ink, along with the name "Maurice." And in the lower left, behind the centermost "F" is another black stamp, similar to a postmark, on which the lettering is illegible. Although the meaning of the former marking and the numeric designation are unclear, the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Français (FTPF) was armed resistance organized by the leader of the French Communist Party. In the beginning of the war the party remained neutral, then joined and outfitted the FTPF, which then participated with other resistance groups.
Mounting: The banner was mounted and framed within our own conservation department, which is led by expert staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples.
The background is 100% cotton twill, black in color. The mount has been placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding. A deep shadowbox was created to accommodate the staff. The glazing is U.V. protective plexiglass.
Condition: There is significant fading of the blue and red cotton and minor to modest soiling.
|Collector Level:||Intermediate-Level Collectors and Special Gifts|
|Flag Type:||Sewn flag|
|Earliest Date of Origin:||1944|
|Latest Date of Origin:||1945|
|War Association:||WW 2|