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Old 15-10-16, 05:10 PM
zorgon zorgon is offline
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Default Canadian made Pathfinder eagle

Amidst the myriad of metal eagles, much has been discussed about identifying a true “Pathfinder” issued wing. Like all metal eagles, they are usually difficult to associate to a specific individual, manufacturer, uniform, era or even country. I would venture to say that there is no one unique style or manufacturer for the Pathfinder awards in WWII. The British certainly had their own issues, often with pin backs but also posts and nuts were issued as has been previously discussed in posts in the BBF, particularly by PFF Museum.
One must remember, and it has been stated by others, that the Pathfinder Eagle is merely a symbol representing an extraordinary courageous service provided the recipient. If you were awarded such an honour, it isn’t critical exactly what you wore on your left breast pocket but that you had earned the right to do so. Many probably lost the original and replaced it with whatever was available; others may have chosen to go to a jeweler to have a special edition of the eagle made. Perhaps fellow Forum readers from Britain and the Commonwealth countries can add to this post with confirmed examples of their own, recognizing this has been discussed in previous posts in the BBF. When known, we should spend more time honouring the recipient than the symbol of their actions.

Image one illustrates a RCAF pathfinder wing issued between 1943 and 45. The style is recognizable and from the front, identical to that often found on the officer’s wedge cap badge of that era. This example is unique in that it has the makers mark of the Montreal manufacturer, C.Lamond and die struck with two post fasteners. The width is 55mm. Image two shows what appear to identical but are manufactured with much lighter construction and usually stamped rather than cast and fitted with rather fragile tangs or stronger screw posts.
One important consideration on this and perhaps all badges is the weight. This marked example weighs 6.4 gm compared to the standard un-marked equivalent style cast and stamped badges designed for cap wear which weigh between 4.3 and 4.7 gm. Perhaps weight should be used more often to help determine and identify badges? As Warren Carroll notes on p.15 of Eagles Recalled, this example has a completely flat tail which I think was probably ground flush prior to finishing and gilding. It’s definitely a higher guality than normally found. How Mr. Carroll knew to describe this as a Pathfinder eagle, I wish I would have asked.

Last edited by zorgon; 15-10-16 at 05:13 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar
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  #2  
Old 17-10-16, 02:01 AM
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Wingnut Wingnut is offline
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Interesting observation on the pathfinder wings. I have seen several uniforms with different styles of pathfinder wings. I also spoke with a pathfinder pilot and asked where his eagle came from. His answer was funny...."whatever one we could find" this would tie in with any eagle would do and more important as you say the right and well earned to wear it. I enclose a pic of mine which oddly enough was picked up two weeks ago for the insulting fee of $10 from an antique show. I had tried for a long time to get one with an original British pin, this has never had lugs, tangs or screw posts.
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File Type: jpg image.jpg (84.7 KB, 41 views)
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  #3  
Old 17-10-16, 02:12 AM
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Phillip Herring Phillip Herring is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zorgon View Post
Amidst the myriad of metal eagles, much has been discussed about identifying a true “Pathfinder” issued wing. Like all metal eagles, they are usually difficult to associate to a specific individual, manufacturer, uniform, era or even country. I would venture to say that there is no one unique style or manufacturer for the Pathfinder awards in WWII. The British certainly had their own issues, often with pin backs but also posts and nuts were issued as has been previously discussed in posts in the BBF, particularly by PFF Museum.
One must remember, and it has been stated by others, that the Pathfinder Eagle is merely a symbol representing an extraordinary courageous service provided the recipient. If you were awarded such an honour, it isn’t critical exactly what you wore on your left breast pocket but that you had earned the right to do so. Many probably lost the original and replaced it with whatever was available; others may have chosen to go to a jeweler to have a special edition of the eagle made. Perhaps fellow Forum readers from Britain and the Commonwealth countries can add to this post with confirmed examples of their own, recognizing this has been discussed in previous posts in the BBF. When known, we should spend more time honouring the recipient than the symbol of their actions.

Image one illustrates a RCAF pathfinder wing issued between 1943 and 45. The style is recognizable and from the front, identical to that often found on the officer’s wedge cap badge of that era. This example is unique in that it has the makers mark of the Montreal manufacturer, C.Lamond and die struck with two post fasteners. The width is 55mm. Image two shows what appear to identical but are manufactured with much lighter construction and usually stamped rather than cast and fitted with rather fragile tangs or stronger screw posts.
One important consideration on this and perhaps all badges is the weight. This marked example weighs 6.4 gm compared to the standard un-marked equivalent style cast and stamped badges designed for cap wear which weigh between 4.3 and 4.7 gm. Perhaps weight should be used more often to help determine and identify badges? As Warren Carroll notes on p.15 of Eagles Recalled, this example has a completely flat tail which I think was probably ground flush prior to finishing and gilding. It’s definitely a higher guality than normally found. How Mr. Carroll knew to describe this as a Pathfinder eagle, I wish I would have asked.
I've seen the eagle with that type of backing plate for badges worn by the RCAF in the 1950s and 60s, without the crown. Are you sure that your badge isn't one of these post-war examples? I associate Lamond with post-war badge production, but I would be happy to be corrected if I am mistaken.

Phil
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Old 17-10-16, 01:11 PM
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Frank Kelley Frank Kelley is offline
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I take it you know that the original owner of this particular eagle was actually a member of the Pathfinder Force at some point?

[QUOTE=zorgon;379168

Image one illustrates a RCAF pathfinder wing issued between 1943 and 45. The style is recognizable and from the front, identical to that often found on the officer’s wedge cap badge of that era. This example is unique in that it has the makers mark of the Montreal manufacturer, C.Lamond and die struck with two post fasteners. The width is 55mm. Image two shows what appear to identical but are manufactured with much lighter construction and usually stamped rather than cast and fitted with rather fragile tangs or stronger screw posts.
One important consideration on this and perhaps all badges is the weight. This marked example weighs 6.4 gm compared to the standard un-marked equivalent style cast and stamped badges designed for cap wear which weigh between 4.3 and 4.7 gm. Perhaps weight should be used more often to help determine and identify badges? As Warren Carroll notes on p.15 of Eagles Recalled, this example has a completely flat tail which I think was probably ground flush prior to finishing and gilding. It’s definitely a higher guality than normally found. How Mr. Carroll knew to describe this as a Pathfinder eagle, I wish I would have asked.[/QUOTE]
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Old 17-10-16, 02:10 PM
zorgon zorgon is offline
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Hi Frank, Phillip and Wingnut
Thank you for your input, thoughts and questions. I agree that posts om a pathfinder wing are uncommon and perhaps an unpractical method to affix the award to a uniform pocket but finding a Canadian made variant is also uncommon.
It is my understanding that Lamond was in business by the early 1930's (after they had purchasing Caron Bros). Exactly when they first started manufacturing eagles, I don't know. I'll try to contact the current company of the same name (& fils) to see if I can clarify that and I'll get back to the Forum with any information.
I agree that the 3 examples in the 2nd photo are probably post war issue, especially with the hard fiber backing as you suggested Phil, but the eagle pattern is the same to my eye. I have others with tangs that appear even more recent.
This is the exact same eagle, number 7, that Warren Carroll has illustrated on page 15 of Eagles Recalled and it is his words which state that this is a 1943-45 RCAF Pathfinder eagle hence the regret I expressed in my initial post in not having the opportunity to have asked him about the provenance while he was alive. There must be someone in the collecting field who was involved or around when this book was published in the '97 or earlier, in its first incarnation of his book Wings, Canada & Great Britain, 1913-1945 published in 1981, who knows the answer? In that first edition, where I believe he illustrates this same eagle, he comments that, ".. many have been specially made and in gold plate. Several have been seen that were hallmarked. 55mm" (p83). Here, he dates it 1942. Perhaps the extra weight of this example is due to the gold plating?
Thank you all for raising these interesting questions and I hope we continue the debate.
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  #6  
Old 21-10-16, 02:53 PM
edstorey edstorey is offline
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Default Pathfinder Eagles

Like Phil, my initial reaction was that most of those 'Pathfinder Eagles', especially the fibre backed ones were Post-SWW manufacture. I am yet to be convinced that they are not post-SWW.

Here is an wartime image of the eagle in wear by Air Commodore J.E. Fauquier, D.S.O. and Bar, DFC.

J.E. Fauquier - copy.jpg

12-7-1944 Promoted to that rank and given command of RCAF Bomber Group's largest operational base was Air Commodore J.E. Fauquier, D.S.O. and Bar, DFC of Ottawa. A Veteran commercial pilot before enlisting in the RCAF, Air Commodore Fauquier earned the sobriquet "King of the Pathfinders" for his work in Bomber Command.
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Old 21-10-16, 10:18 PM
zorgon zorgon is offline
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Hi Ed:
I see I wasn’t clear in my initial post. It’s only the single screw post eagle that I meant to suggest is pathfinder and SWW vintage. I agree with you that the other three are probably manufactured post war. It’s just that the die pattern seems to be identical to me.
I was unable to contact the Lamond Company as it exists today. I was unable to find a web page or email address and don’t they have a phone number that can take messages. Accordingly, I can’t ask if they still have any records from that period.

Interesting that you happened to illustrate A/Cdre. Fauquier’s eagle. When I first started collecting Canadian RCAF stuff, I focused on his history as I thought he was a great but somewhat unsung hero of Canadian aviation. I picked up a few items associated to him at the time and I’ll take this opportunity to illustrate some. I have a couple of similar photos to the one you illustrated with an original signature and also, this mock-up of his medal bars, pilots wing and “pathfinder” eagle. This is somewhat more unique as the group was made up by the late Bill Hampson, author of Canadian Flying Service Emblems & Insignia, and sent to Fauquier for his comments. This must have been a common practice in the past as I have a 2nd group which also has his signature (attached images). Hampson’s isn’t quite correct but close and both are of academic interest only as they aren't original to Fauquier. Odd that someone chose to use a left facing eagle to represent the Pathfinder Eagle.

At the time, I was in contact with members of his family and those who knew him during the war, including Edith Kup who together with Pauline, was one of 5 women officers stationed at RAF Pocklington in 1941. I believe they both worked in the intelligence sector at the time. In phone conversations and letters, both ladies were very forthcoming with fascinating information about Johnny, the aircrews, and their lives and experiences with the RAF during the war. Edith sent me a hand written draft of her memoirs of that era. I don’t know if it was ever published.
I believe John Fauquier’s original medals were donated by the family and are held by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa; a pretty darn impressive group I would say.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fauquier-Hampson. wing, ribbon & pathfinder wing mock-up.jpg (70.0 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Bill Hampson & Johnny Fauquier.jpg (81.7 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Fauquier Group mock-up.jpg (61.0 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by zorgon; 25-10-16 at 03:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #8  
Old 07-11-16, 04:11 PM
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Vuhlkansu Vuhlkansu is offline
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I have seen some different examples myself.

Last edited by Vuhlkansu; 07-11-16 at 04:12 PM. Reason: wrong thread
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