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Last updated on 1 November, 2020 at 11:50 AM
Extract from The Haltonian
Journal of the RAF Halton Aircraft Apprentice Society
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE BADGE
Confusion apparently still exists as to whether the RAF "Bird" is an eagle or an albatross. It is most definitely AN EAGLE!
Admiralty Order No 2 of June 1914 stated "The badge of an eagle will be worn by all officers of the RNAS" and it eventually replaced the anchor worn on all RNAS officers caps. The badge was based on a brooch purchased in Paris by the wife of a Capt Suter RN. The RFC wings represented those of a swift and were designed by Brigadier-General Sir David Henderson (of Hatton gym fame), the first Commanding Officer of the RFC, and his deputy, Major Sykes, later General Sir Frederick and an early Chief of the Air Staff. The RAF eagle wings are now more arched than the originals which resembled the flatter RFC Style. Originally the RAF eagle badge, adopted in August 1918, was on a background comprised of a circular, buckled garter surmounted by a crown and bearing the RFC motto, "Per Ardua ad Astra". This was deemed incorrect by the College of Arms in 1922. Consequently the design we are familiar with, the eagle with the laurel wreath surround was registered in 1923 to which Air Ministry Order No A666 refers.
Suggestions for an RAF Badge had been requested from members of the public and the armed forces. WO Charles Pepper RN submitted a design based on the RNAS badge but using an albatross, but the winning design came from an ex-Army cook, Mr George Lines. He worked as an embroidery design draughtsman for a firm owned by Gieves the military outfitters. Mr Lines chose an eagle and his design, now known to us all, was selected.
Jim Nealey, 70th
The RAF Eagle