49: RAF trade and misch badges

This entry was posted by Sunday, 21 November, 2010
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RAF trade and misch badges

Patchfinder badge Royal Air Force

This is the correct pattern for the RAF Royal Air Force  AWARD badge for members of the Pathfinder Force.

The RAF and other Commonwealth countries use a similar eagle badge widely for various applications , cap and sleeve badges, even sweetheart items. It was also used by the RNAS Royal Naval Air Service  in WW1 as a pilot badge for use on the left breast or on the sleeves above the rank lace, depending upon application. These eagle badges can be found with twin screw posts (usually having been separated from a crown used as an officer cap badge on the ‘sidecap’, triple screw posts  (as used exclusively by the RNAS), with twin broad bladed tines (used in Officer’s peak cap badges and on some Master Aircrew rank badges) and with flimsy paired twist wires, usually more modern and often finished in glossy staybright. Sterling silver examples also exist with pin-backs but these were NOT air force issue or Pathfinder badges. They were sweetheart items.

You will often see these various eagle badges described as Pathfinder badges and indeed there is no doubt that many were so used casually by Pathfinder crews (except the glossy staybright ones!). However, these are not the award or official badge. That badge exclusively was a pin backed badge, the reason being that aircrews were obliged to remove Pathfinder badges before operational flight, as they were very poorly treated by the Nazis if shot down wearing this badge. The constant placing and removing of the badge naturally caused weakness and damage to the attachment and loss, so any eagle available could commonly be used, so long as it was quick to remove. However, please note that not every eagle badge on sale as a Pathfinder badge was a Pathfinder-used badge, no matter what the claims! It is very hard to demonstrate that a badge was Pathfinder used. The only ones that you know were are the pin-backed gilded brassy eagles.

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