We always try to keep an eye out for up-and-coming brands, especially those that are independent and pay careful attention to the manufacture of their handbags, so we've been watching French label laContrie for a while. The brand, helmed by designer Edwina de Charette de la Contrie, has an open moncler outlet
workshop in Paris's first arrondissement, where the brand's small line of simple, functional bags are made in-house and shoppers can stop in to observe the process. What could be more chic than that replica handbags
? A whipstitched version of the brand's Rohan Saddle Bag recently got picked up at New York City's Bergdorf Goodman, and although it was initially only available in-store, it's thankfully made the jump to louis vuitton replica
as well. The bags are simple and a bit rustic, with contrasting cord dotting the edges. The bag comes in two sizes and a handful of neutral colors, and all of them will run you under $100. It's the kind of replica bags
that's both discreet and aesthetically pleasing; your friends will ask you where you got it, and what could be a better response than, Oh, it's from this little French designer?
D DAY & AFTER
At the beginning of June 1944 activity around 198 Squadron's base at Thorney Island suddenly increased as their Hawker Typhoons were getting a new application of black and white stripes painted over and under the wings and circling the rear of the fuselage. The application of these "Invasion Stripes" was in some cases so hurried that the results were far from perfect.
As the prelude to, and during D Day on June the 6th 1944, 198 took part in raids against enemy radar sites, railways, and communication centres in France, which continued unabated in the aftermath of the 6th and through out the whole month, even though the squadron in the meantime had moved to Funtington on the 18th, then Hurn on the 22nd. (During June 1944 198 Sqn suffered its highest loss of aircraft for a given month, ten were lost altogether)
Once the Allies had achieved a foothold in Normandy 198 moved to its first overseas bases, in France, known as B.5 (Camilly) and B.10 (Plumetot) on the 1st of July. The targets that they could now attack became more varied, in essence anything that the enemy had, or could use, was now considered fair game. Having moved to B.7 (Martragny) on the 29th of July the Falaise Pocket operations were about to begin and throughout the following month 198 Sqn played its part in the destruction of the German 7th Army as it tried to fight its way out from entrapment within the pocket through the Falaise Gap. By the time of these events the "Invasion Stripes" had been officially withdrawn from all aircraft upper surfaces and were only retained on the under side of the fuselage and wings.
Following Falaise Gap the Allies quickly moved forward through northern France and on the 3rd of September 198 Sqn had moved their base to B.23 (Morainville) then on the 6th B.35 (Baromsnil) and B.53 (Merville) on the 11th, where they stayed until the 29th of October before moving to B.67 (Ursel) the next day.
While at every opportunity 198 continued to harass and attack the enemy wherever they found him, time was spent in close co-operation with the Canadian Army as it fought its way up through northern France in an effort to clear some channel ports, like Dunkirk, of German resistance. With the Allies advance continuing through September and October the squadron switched from attacking targets in France to attacking those in Belgium and Holland, then after being withdrawn for a two week RP practice firing course at Fairwood Common from the 6th November, moved to B.77 (Gilze-Rijen) on the 26th of November. (It was shortly after this that one of 198's Canadian pilots attempted to shoot down a Messerschmitt 109 with his air to ground rockets, fortunately for the 109's pilot the Canadian missed.)
The snow fell heavily in Western Europe during December 1944 and by the middle of the month it was becoming increasingly difficult for squadrons to operate. For the Germans who had recently launched a fresh offensive in the Ardennes area it couldn't have been more opportune. Their progress, in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, was greatly aided by the reduction of Allied air power. As one RAF pilot was to to put it, "We were froze up and fed up". By the end of month however the skies started to clear and Allied air superiority over the battle field was soon restored forcing the German Army, who were already suffering from a fuel shortage, to retreat from the gains it had made earlier in the month. (During December 1944 198 Sqn made its first attack on a target in Germany - an observation post at Zywich.)
On the 31st December 1944 198 moved its base to A.84 (Chievres) and in the course of moving was fortunate enough to be in the air when the Luftwaffe launched its last major raid on Allied air bases in Western Europe on the 1st of January 1945. While this raid created a certain amount of damage to airfields and aircraft parked up on runways, because of its airborne transition 198 Sqn was not directly affected.
At the beginning of January 1945 the last of the invasion stripe markings were removed from the under surfaces of 198's aircraft, as was the sky blue band that circled the rear of the fuselage. The 19th of that month saw the squadron back at B.77 (Gilze-Rijen) from where it moved to B.91 (Kluis) on the 21st March. Predominantly operating against targets in Holland and still flying in support of the Canadian Army as it moved up, the squadron moved to B.103 (Plantlunne) on the 17th of April and from there commenced attacks on shipping around the Frisian Islands and in the Baltic Sea, flying its last operational sortie with eight aircraft on the 4th of May from B150 (Hustedt) near Celle, Germany. (See "Notes")
For 198 Sqn the war in Western Europe came to an end on the 5th May 1945 when Germany unconditionally surrendered and subsequently they made their last move of base to B.116, (Wunstorf) on the 27th May and like most other squadrons took part in victory fly-pasts and inspections for visiting military "brass hats". While the war still continued in the Far East however 198 like most other squadrons in Western Europe expected to be posted there under the heading of Operation Tiger, but with the dropping of two atom bombs on the Japanese homeland during August 1945 their presence was no longer required.
Already a decision had been made as to the RAF's peace time requirements, surplus and unwanted aircraft were to be sold off or scrapped, squadrons disbanded and personnel who wished returned to civilian life, it didn't take long for the Air Ministry axe to fall on 198 and its aircraft. Following a farewell dinner on the 18th September 1945 at Wunstorf, although disbanded three days earlier on the 15th, 198 flew its aircraft back to 84 Group Disbandment Centre stationed at Lasham in Hampshire who in turn passed the aircraft over to Maintenance Units in preparation for wholesale scrapping. As for the pilots, some returned to civilian life, others converting to jets continued either in a full time or reserve capacity with other squadrons or flying schools, and a few having survived World War 2 regrettably died in flying accidents shortly after or lost their lives in Korea.
Unlike some RAF squadrons since 1945 198 has never been reformed and it seems unlikely it ever will be.
COMMANDING OFFICERS 1942 - 1945:
S/Ldr J. W. Villa DFC, Dec 1942 - May 1943. S/Ldr J. Manak DFC, May 1943 - Aug 1943.
S/Ldr J. M. Bryan DFC, Aug 1943 - Nov 1943. S/Ldr J. R. Baldwin DSO, DFC Nov 1943 - Apr 1944.
S/Ldr J. M. Bryan DFC, Apr 1944 - May 1944. S/Ldr J. Niblett DFC, May 1944 - Jun 1944.
S/Ldr I. J. Davies DFC June 1944. S/Ldr Y. P. E. H. Ezanno C de G, June 1944 - Oct 1944.
S/Ldr A. W. Ridler, Oct 1944 - Dec 1944. S/Ldr N. J. Durrant DFC, Dec 1944 - Sept 1945.
123 WING COMMANDING OFFICERS:
W/Co R. E. P. Booker DFC, Mar 1944 - July 1944. W/Co W. Dring DSO, DFC, July 1944 - Jan 1945.
W/Co J. C. Button DFC, Jan 1945 - Sept 1947.
84 GROUP COMMANDING OFFICERS:
G/C D. J. Scott DSO,OBE, DFC and bar, Mar 1944 - Feb 1945.
G/C J. R. Baldwin DSO, DFC, Feb 1945 - Dec 1945.