The Evening Post newspaper in an article, dated 24 April 1942, about 75 (NZ) Squadron noted that “In every aircraft the crews wear the silver fern badge. Many of the men regard it as a mascot and would not dream of flying without it. The English members of the crew, especially, the sergeants, also proudly wear the badge.”
There are a few photographs of Aircrew wearing this un-official badge a few of which I will show below. It is interesting to note that the photographs below are not of members of 75 Sqn so it appears this was wider worn than just with that particular squadron.
Here is my example of the badge.
You will note that on the back of the badge it is marked J.R. GAUNT, London. The firm of J.R. Gaunt & Son was established in 1884 when John Richard Gaunt and his eldest son, Charles Frederick, left their employment with the long established London military button makers Firmin & Sons to set up on their own. The firm, originally based at the intersection of Clifford Street and Furnace Lane in the Birmingham district of Lozells, prospered and began to supply badges and buttons to uniformed organisations all over the World. After the First World War they purchased a number of other insignia manufacturers, including in 1924 Jennens & Co Ltd. With the acquisition of the Jennens business Gaunts moved their London base to Warwick Street. In 1991 Gaunt became a part of the Firmin Group.