The collecting of sweetheart badges is a bit of a specialist area in militaria collecting and it’s not something I have got that deep into, however, over the last month or two I have managed to pick up a few “sweet” air force examples.
These “love tokens” showed that the wearer had a loved one who was doing their bit and was serving in the branch of the service represented by the miniature badge being worn proudly by their loved one. These little representations of the badges being worn in service were very popular in both World Wars where it seemed that almost every women was wearing one.
These “sweethearts” come in many forms some being quite simple while others show the jewellers skill in representing the various badges in miniature.
My first few examples are on the simpler side of the scale and are probably the most common form of these sweethearts when a military button or badge simply has the back converted with the addition of a broach making it easy to wear.
My first example is simply a RNZAF button that has had the button shank removed from the back and has been replaced with a simple broach.
For comparison here is a example of a un-modified Firmin made NZ air force button.
The second example is a converted RNZAF other ranks cap badge. Always thought this was a cool badge with the way the RNZAF letters have been squeezed into that little space available between the laurel leaves. Makes a nice little sweetheart.
Again for comparison here is an unconverted badge with the original lugs on the back.
The following examples are miniature versions of air force qualification wings.
First up a rather simply manufactured cast version of the pilots wing. The RAF in the centre of the badge has the addition of NZ on the wings.
Next example is of a sterling silver, blue enamel miniature of the Observers Wing. There is no makers mark other than the “Sterling” stamp in the back.
Next up, appropriately enough as the large version of the Navigator badge replaced the Observers badge in 1942, is a nice mini navigators badge in gold. The back of this is marked JWB (James William Benson), and hallmarked with the crown (for Gold), 375 (for 9 caret), and an assay mark which I cant make out even with a loop.
My last example of these rather cool badges is a miniature of the Air Gunners qualification wing. This one only has “Silver” stamped into the back, unfortunately no makers mark.