Earlier this year, CANFORGEN 025/21 announced quantities of full wing metal flying badges with metal from a 426 Squadron Halifax bomber shot down during the Second World War were available.
The badges include Astronaut, Pilot, Air Combat Systems Officer, Flight Engineer, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, Search and Rescue Technicians, and Loadmaster.
All Aircrew Lost their Lives
According to the CANFORGEN, in 2017, the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) announced the new flying badges would incorporate metal from a 426 Squadron Halifax bomber, serial LW682, that was shot down in May 1944. The bomber crashed into a marsh and exploded, and all seven Canadian’s and one English aircrew lost their lives to the crash.
“Five of the fallen were recovered and buried nearby, but three Canadians, the pilot, mid-upper gunner, and tail gunner, were entombed in the wreckage as it sank into the boggy ground,” the CANFORGEN informed.
Crash Site Excavated
In 1997, the aircraft crash site was excavated. The last of the fallen were recovered and buried with full military honours in company with their fellow crewmembers.
Any parts that were intact and could be salvaged from the crash were used to restore the Halifax on display at the Trenton National Air Force Museum while the rest of the metal was melted into ingots.
The CANFORGEN describes the badges as such:
“Aluminum fragments from LW682 are incorporated into the clear enamels in the central devices of the badges and the red enamel of the laurel wreath. Combined with a stamp quote Halifax LW682 unquote on the back of the badges, the metal fragments embedded in the enamels provide a visible connection between our modern aircrew and the service and sacrifice of their predecessors.”
The Logistik Unicorps clothing online website is where initial distribution to entitled members is being done. Entitled members need to log in to the clothing online website to receive their badges. Metal flying badges will show up in their own separate catalogue, and orders may be placed for two badges at no points cost. The maximum entitlement is two badges.
If a member thinks they are entitled, and no badge or the wrong badge is listed, they are encouraged to reach out to the DSSPM clothing online administrator by email: +[email protected]. The member will need to provide evidence of their entitlement.
The CANFORGEN also noted that training establishments would be required to order metal badges for new wings qualified graduates through the clothing online administrator +[email protected].
Mess Dress Miniature Badges
In line with Canadian Forces dress instructions, mess dress miniature badges are the responsibility of the member to acquire.
“The Commander of the RCAF has approved designs for full and upswept miniature flying badges in j-metallic gold thread and has authorized sales through PSP. Canex will advise on availability to purchase,” as explained in the CANFORGEN.
Members can keep on wearing the legacy pattern flying badges on mess dress. Silver thread mess dress miniature flying badges are not authorized stock numbers and imagery of available badges will be posted on the ADM(MAT) intranet site.