PB Cow & Co, C1940
Dimensions: 4cm x 3cm
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This Goldfish Club membership badge belonged to Wing Commander Maurice Michael Stephens. It is a small, rectangular, black material patch, about 4cm high and 3 cm wide. Sewn on to the patch is a white-winged goldfish flying over two blue waves. Gold represents the value of life, and the fish represents landing in the sea.
The Goldfish Club was an unofficial RAF club open to those who had ditched in the sea and had been saved by their life jacket and emergency dinghy. The club was formed by Mr Robertson, who worked for P. B. Cow and Company, who manufactured air-sea rescue equipment and were best known for their Mae West life jackets.
The badge was worn under the left-hand jacket pocket. By the end of the war the club had over 9,000 members.
Wing Commander Stephens joined the RAF in 1939 when he was 20 years old and was posted to France in 1940. He saw action in the Battle of France and immediately after that, the Battle of Britain. Later on in the war he was posted to a number of other countries, including Turkey, Kenya and Malta. While he was fighting in Malta his aircraft was shot at and he had to bale out. He landed in the sea and had to inflate his emergency dinghy while he waited to be rescued. He did this one handed so he could keep the other arm out of the water so as not to damage a watch recently given to him by his parents!
Stephens stayed in the RAF after the war, and retired in 1980.