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By the end of the war, there were nearly a dozen official variations of the Royal Air Force roundel, and even variations of each of these.Most roundels were painted on at the factory where the aircraft was built, but they were not always executed to the most recent standards.Some roundels were applied as pre-made decals at the factory, while, after repairs in the field, other roundels were applied by hand and could have spurious diameter ratios or even additional outlines. Before the war, the roundel colours were of a significantly brighter hue than those employed during the war.
Even Union and Confederate soldiers of the Civil War often wore cockades or “rosettes” on their dress uniforms and for formal photographs.” or “Doesn't Canada have a maple leaf in their bullseye?”, I would be able to afford my own bullseye-emblazoned Spitfire.After a Union Flag inside a shield was tried unsuccessfully, it was decided to follow the lead of the French air force which used a circular symbol resembling, and called, a “cockade” (a rosette of red and white with a blue centre).The British reversed the colours and it became the standard marking on Royal Flying Corps aircraft from 11 December 1914, although it was well into 1915 before the new marking was used entirely consistently.
The Royal Air Force roundel of the Second World War is derived from the original Royal Flying Corps (RFC) roundel of the First World War, which was in turn derived from a traditional martial decorative device known as the “cockade”.