Air Crew Brevets

Some more niche items which are a cut above what you might find elsewhere, these WWII Polish air crew brevets were specially made for them to wear alongside their national badges after qualifying through the RAF. The main image shows them alongside the usual RAF half wings – just 5.2cm long instead of the standard 8.5cm.

The ‘B’ denotes air bomber, the ‘N’ navigator – both introduced in September 1942. In December of the same year came the first ‘S’ – issued to wireless operators. Other designations were AG – air gunner, RO – observer radio, E – flight engineer and M – meteorological observer.

An interesting footnote concnerns the air gunner half wing. When this was sent to the king for approval, he noticed that it had thirteen side feathers. In His Majesty’s presence, this top feather was cut off, signed and approved by the King himself. Therreafter all other half wings had twelve feathers.

Sally Ann Tokens

Manufactured at the Salvation Army’s Spa Road Centre in London, these tokens were distributed to all the men’s social work centres around Britain. Stamped with ‘F’ and ‘S’ (for Food and Shelter), they were designed to be given out to those in most need – often in return for a chore or small service. They could then be exchanged for provisions or a roof for the night at any of their branches. Such a system allowed the organisation to ensure that their resources weren’t over allocated.

They are still waging war on poverty over a century and a half after William Booth, a Methodist preacher, first began his ministry in the East End of London. It can trace its origin to the Blind Beggar pub, still present on Whitechapel Road, and more recently notorious as the spot where Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell. More happily, it enjoys the distinction of being the site where the first modern Brown Ale was brewed!

Time for repairs…

Recently sold at the Market, this classic Swiss-made, Omega watch in 14 karat gold is a great advertisement for the brand’s durability. This highly collectable timepiece had been languishing in a drain somewhere for upwards of twenty years before it was recovered in a chance trawl by someone fishing with a magnet.

Happily, this once upon a timepiece does have a fairytale ending: its new owner is sending it back to the makers to restore it to its former glory.