~ RAF Late Arrivals Winged Boot Badge ~
Of RAF interest the Late Arrivals winged boot badge was issue to those shot down who walked home.
This one is stamped ‘STERLING to the reverse for Sterling Silver.
~ The Badge ~
Some call it the “Flying Boot” or the “Winged Boot”, but the Royal Air Force which issued this badge in the Western Desert, June 1941, named it the ”Winged Boot”. The following is an extract from the book, Customs and Traditions of the Royal Air Force, by Squadron Leader P.G. Hering, published in 1961 by Gale & Polden:
“The exploits of aircrew who walked back to their bases after bailing out of their aircraft, being shot down or having force-landed while operating over enemy held territory during the Desert campaigns in the Middle East, were responsible for the initiation of another highly respected war-time badge. Because their return to their: squadrons was of necessity much later than that of their more fortunate comrades, they were heralded as a new “corps d’lite” and became known as “later arrivals”. As their numbers increased their experiences became legend and eventually a mythical Late Arrivals “Club” came into being and with it a badge.
A winged boot was designed by Wing Commander (later Group Captain) George W. Houghton, who was at the time the Senior RAF Public Relations Officer in the Middle East. He obtained the permission of Lord Tedder (then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East) to issue each late arrival with the badge to wear on his flying suit or uniform. The innovation captured the imagination of the war correspondents, who enthusiastically reported the origin of the badge and the experiences of its wearers. In addition to his badge, each late arrival was given a “‘club” membership certificate on which was recorded the circumstances making him eligible for membership and the words: It is never too late to come back.”
~ Dimensions ~
The badge is 5.4 cm wide by 3.1 cm tall and weighs 13.46 g.
~ Condition ~