Badges: an RAF Perspextive

Hopefully, readers have seen through that appalling bit of word play in the title but if you are still with us, feast your eyes on these really charming examples of sentimental RAF jewellery.

Made from perspex (ideally from the canopy of a Spitfire of course!), these all feature the classic eagle motif from the badge and could be worn as a pendant or pin brooch. The rather unusual bluebird version is a nice handmade touch.

Yet the real oddity here is the small wing with DB set into the middle. This was made from the collar badge of the RAF’s Dental Branch. The blue-grey base (sometimes pink) is the same material used to make dentures!

Battle town brooches – German edition!

In a follow up to last week’s post about the souvenir badges made during and after the war, here are two from the other side of the front line. This oval shaped one is engraved with imperial regalia with the words ‘ANDENKEN AN’ below a cross and ‘FLANDERS’ on the front. This translates as ‘in memory of Flanders’.

The second example is an incredibly detailed hand engraved depiction of Germany’s armed forces. The fact that the creator has skilfully included so many different military elements is a real tribute to his skill. We can see the infantry, cavalry, artillery, even a plane and an observation balloon!


Battle town brooches

The desire for a token to be worn (with a great deal of pride) while a loved one was at the front became known as a sweetheart brooch. The tradition continued after the war in the form of battle town brooches, souvenirs bought in the various areas around the front.

They are still highly collectable and there is a wide variety of prices, although the ones bearing squadron insignia tend to attract the best prices. It’s easy to believe there is gold and silver in them but usually they are only brass and silver plate – even if they are finished to high quality. Look for relevant hallmarks on any purporting to be of precious metals and one other tip is that they’ll usually have a safety catch rather than a pin to ensure they don’t come off accidentally.

Bayone-d belief

If only this pun were as sharp as some of these miniature bayonets…

Carefully fashioned and often with wooden or mother of pearl grips, these fascinating collectables range in size from the more popular 4cm right up to what we’d more readily see as a letter opener at 18cm. They frequently feature a town or (sometimes) a battle site in Northern France or Belgium. Ypres, Brugges, Picardy, Ostende and Calais rub shoulders with Waterloo in the examples seen here. The vast majority feature a pin so you could fasten it to your lapel.