WWII, USAAF, ARMY AIR FORCE, GOLDFISH CLUB, INSIGNIA, BULLION WIRE, VINTAGE. Measures 1-5/8 inches wide by 2-1/4 inches tall.
The front depicts a winged fish over two horizontal wavy stripes, in silver bullion wire embroidered on a dark blue backing. The reverse has a black cotton mesh. The Goldfish Club is a worldwide association of people who have escaped an aircraft by parachuting into the water, or whose aircraft crashed in the water, and whose lives were saved by a life jacket, inflatable dinghy, or similar device. The Goldfish Club badge shows a white-winged goldfish flying over two symbolic blue waves. The main aim of the club is'to keep alive the spirit of comradeship arising from the mutual experience of members surviving, "coming down in the drink".The Goldfish Club was formed in November 1942 by C. Robertson, the Chief Draftsman at the United Kingdom's PB Cow & Co. One of the worlds largest manufacturers of air-sea rescue equipment. After hearing of the experiences of airmen who had survived a ditching at sea, Robertson decided to form an exclusive club for airmen who owed their lives to their life jacket, dinghy, etc. With the companys backing, the club was named The Goldfish Club: gold for the value of life, and fish for the water.
Each member was presented with a heat-sealed waterproof membership card and an embroidered badge. News of the club spread rapidly, and in January 1943 the BBC broadcast an interview by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas with Robertson and two members who had qualified on their first operational flight. Due to wartime regulations, production of metallic-embroidered badges was prohibited and all cloth was severely rationed.These problems were overcome with silk embroidery substituted for wire upon black cloth cut from old evening dress suits that were sent by readers of the London Daily Express after an appeal by columnist William Hickey. Uniform dress regulations prohibited the wearing of the Goldfish Club badge on British and American uniforms. The badge was generally worn by Naval aircrews upon their Mae Wests.
Many RAF & USAAF aircrewmen placed their badge under the flap of their left hand uniform pocket. By the end of World War II, the club had 9,000 members from all branches of the Allied forces.The club attempted to end the granting of memberships, but applications continued to arrive. When Robertson left PB Cow in 1947, he retained the club records and continued operating it at his own expense. It was a great success, and the club was reorganized on a formal basis in March, 1953. Reunions have been held annually ever since at various venues with many distinguished guests. In response to a message of greetings sent to her, Mae West made it clear that she took great pride in the fact that members of the RAF had adopted her name for their life-jackets. Members of the club have included airmen who qualified in World War I, more than twenty years before the club was begun. Many of the older members have passed on, but new members still arrive. Many of those who joined during the war rejoin on learning of the clubs continued existence. One member nominated as a special member the Italian airman who offered him a seat in his dinghy when they met in the Mediterranean in 1942.
The only German member qualified when he ejected from his F104G, part of the NATO forces in 1971. Helicopter crews predominate recently, since ditching's are rare among combat aircraft.Richard Branson escaped from his trans-Atlantic balloon but declined becoming the first lighter-than-air Goldfish. Today, with over five hundred members around the world, and they keep in touch with a regular newsletter and annual get togethers. The item "WWII, USAAF, ARMY AIR FORCE, GOLDFISH CLUB, INSIGNIA, BULLION WIRE, VINTAGE" is in sale since Thursday, August 1, 2019.
This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\WW II (1939-45)\Original Period Items\United States\Patches". The seller is "bayern-landhaus" and is located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. This item can be shipped to United States.