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Denis 29-11-08 06:32 PM

RAF 'Pathfinder'
This is an invite for anyone owning a genuine example of the coveted Pathfinder Badge to also post images, front and reverse, here.

It seems that many people have been sold Sleeve or Cap Eagles fitted with screw posts, tabs or lugs with a clevis pin and told they were the real deal. From discussions with former Pathfinder aircrew, the original badge was made with a long pin brazed onto the reverse. The badge could only be worn while not on operations, a stipulation that ensured that the badge was required to be fixed by a pin and not lugs, posts or tabs, as these would leave marks in the battledress blouse pocket flap and could potentially indicate to the enemy, if captured, of the squadrons elite status as target markers.

Bantam 30-11-08 01:40 PM

Hi Dennis,
Although RAF Badges is not really my field of collecting I have one or two items including what I believed to be a Pathfinders Badge.It was purchased from Steven Bosley before he began his auction bussiness so it was from a reputable dealer.
The badge as the two threaded posts to the back but lacks the retaining screws.In his book "Military Pilot & Aircrew Badges of the World (1870-Present) Vol 1 Don Chalif stipulates that the back of the badge was two post screws.I would regard the book as one of the better ones I have seen on Airforce Insignia.

Jibba Jabba 30-11-08 07:35 PM

Sadly as an item worn by officers it was also a private purchase meaning it had many different manufacturers.

The way to distinguish the different between Pathfinder and cap with screw post is the length of the screw post. If the screw post is over 10 mm in length it is clearly not going to be worn on a jacket! I`m sure the fakers out there had a remedy for this!

The one I have has short length D lugs attachments. I bought in a grouping with a log book to a Flight Engineer. It has a backing plate on it.

Bantam 02-12-08 04:10 PM

Hi Jibba Jabba,
Checked length of screw posts 8mm with rounded end.Maker Firmin London.
I would also like to point out that another badge worn on the battledress blouse in a similar position again with the same screw fitting was The Operational Tours Badge.

Denis 02-12-08 04:49 PM

Could this then mean that the pin version would be used on the working uniform? I can see then that the screw post or lugged versions would have been worn on Dress uniforms, where it wouldnt matter if the fitting of such a badge left tell tale holes.
There has been so much talk on various forums regarding these badges, that I thought we might nail down the definitive!
Thanks for the replies so far:)

Bantam 02-12-08 05:30 PM

Hi Denis,
Your original question as stimulated the effect you desired.Logically though what would be the point of wearing the pin badge on the working dress when it could not be worn on operations ?I look forward to your and hopefully others contrbutions.

dragonz18 02-12-08 09:04 PM

Hi all,
W.Carrol, in his recent book 'Eagles Recalled' states that both pin back & 2x screw post badges were issued,for these special Airmen. The example he shows is as pictured above.I have also seen examples of both folding tabs & lugs being used on origional uniforms,in museums & old established collections. ?????
Personally ,I think this distinction was for Dress or Walking-out Uniforms only, not on a working Battledress? Even the largish pin would leave detectable marks in the pocket's material ?
Can only compare the screw post lengths with my WW1 sleeve examples that vary from 5-7mm in length.
The above book has copious amounts of good quality colour and B&W pics of badges & huge quantities of information,with a major leaning towards its Canadian origins. ;)
A little expensive & has 1 or 2 picture confusions,but worth the effort to borrow a copy ,at least.:rolleyes:

Cheers !

PS: the problem with pin-backs (WW1 & WW2) is that they were also often made,or adapted, for mufti wear/ family/ girlriends,etc......

Bantam 04-12-08 02:36 PM

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your input.I am in total agreement with your assessment.

David Layne 04-12-08 09:33 PM

My father's Pathfinder Badge has the threaded type of attachment.

I don't know whether aircrew wore the badge on ops or not, however the R.A.F.'s attitude is apparent from the attached letter to my mother from my father's commanding officer. My father at the time being a P.O.W.

Bantam 05-12-08 05:19 PM

Hi David,
Thank you very much for sharing that wonderful document with us.Really appreciate it.

Denis 05-12-08 07:11 PM

Thank you for sharing that document.

LancRestorer 15-10-09 02:03 PM

I have a few examples from my father-in-law's keepsakes. He flew 67 Ops with Sqn 109. I have one with scew popsts and backing plate along with one with bendable prong tabs brazed to the back. I also have what I believe to be his Officer's Wedge Cap pin which has a very similar if not identical to the Pathfinder eagle. The Cap pin is accompanied by a separate crown which is placed just above the eagle, both with screw posts and common back plate. Can you or others comment on the similarity of these two metal eagles?
P.S. I could not attach my images to tyhis note but can forward by PM.

Spurius 24-06-10 08:46 AM

Pathfinder Badges
I would like to see pictures of the badges you have please.
Many thanks

David Tremain 24-06-10 05:35 PM

Just to clarify, the Operations badge mentioned by Bantam was only worn by members of the RCAF.

ARTE ET MARTE 17-02-11 08:53 PM

I thought this thread would go on for many pages but it seems to have died a death, a pity as this badge is very special.
I was at an Arms Fair a few weeks ago and saw a Pathfinders badge with its original large labels attached, one green, one beige coloured. I remember one stated, " WORKING PATTERN - PATHFINDER" ( Not - "Sealed pattern" ) the label was dated 1943 and IMO looked 100% right. The badge, attached by brown string, was an eagle facing right, lugged with brass backing plate with retaining pin. It had a good price attached and as I do not collect RAF, left it, and then thought twice !!, I went back but was told that the gentleman stood to my right had just bought it together with 2 other scarce wings !!!. Obviously he knew what he was buying. This lugged pattern is not mentioned by Carroll.
any thoughts ??

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