RAF Badges

The Royal Air Force Badge

The Royal Air Force Badge

the RAF badge At an Air Council meeting on 1 August 1918, a badge for adoption by the Royal Air Force was approved. The badge adopted was similar in design to the one used today with the exception that the circlet surrounding the eagle comprised a garter and a buckle. The badge was not submitted at any time to the King or to the College of Arms for approval.

In May 1925, the College of Arms was asked to prepare coloured sketches of the badge, it being stipulated that whilst the details of the approved badge should stand, any modification of mere drawing, e.g. the eagle's body and the sprig of laurel, could be left to them [the College]. The College of Arms produced a colour drawing which was placed on file. The question of improving the badge was again raised in May 1941, the feeling being that a more war-like eagle might perhaps be adopted. However, nothing was changed. So far as can be ascertained, the design registered with the College of Arms in 1923 is still the official badge of the Royal Air Force, and although a version in heraldic colours (with some artistic licence) was produced in 1925 (mainly in connection with Royal Air Force drums), it seems never to have been intended that it should replace the original black and white drawing, except, perhaps where it was necessary to produce a badge in colour.

Whilst there may be papers in existence which may be at variance with this view, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the badge now produced on Air Ministry Orders is the official badge of the Royal Air Force.

Note: It would appear that a considerable effort was made in 1949 to produce a definitive Royal Air Force badge and at least one authority, writing in A New Dictionary of Heraldry edited by Stephen Friar and published in 1987, asserts that: The official badge of the Royal Air Force has been in existence since 1949 and is blazoned, " In front of a circle inscribed with the motto Per Ardua Ad Astra and ensigned by the Imperial Crown an eagle volant and affronty Head lowered and to the sinister."

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