Badge related news and articles

Friday 17th June 2011

World War Two P B Cow & Co Air Sea Rescue

The Goldfish Club

P B Cow & Co was established in London in the mid 1800s as a producer of rubber items .

 The company made miscellaneous articles in rubber and was fabricating hand made goods including diving suits and hot water bottles (a speciality).

In the 1930s prior to World War Two the company was struggling but in 1938 acquired  military contracts and  a trial order for gas masks – this was at the time of Munich. Immediately orders flooded in and within 3 months the firm was employing 300 women, all on piecework. Meanwhile the head office was experimenting with several other wartime requirements and out of this came the production of dinghies.

Mr C. A. Robertson who was the Chief Draughtsman of P B Cow led the way in the development of Air Sea Rescue Equipment  This department had taken over the experimental work done by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Farnborough made working drawings of dinghies and other ASR equipment which were produced by factories in the UK, Commonwealth and USA.

Many ditched aircrew visited Mr robertson at the factory, owing thewir lives to the Mae West and rubber dinghies produced by PB Cow. After hearing some of these stories Robbie had the idea of forming an official club for Airmen who had survived a successful wartime ditching. Such a club, he felt, would enable members to meet and exchange experiences.

With P B Cow`s financial backing the club was named the Goldfish Club – Gold for the value of life and fish for the sea – and a badge was designed showing a white winged Goldfish flying above two symbolic blue waves. Each member received a heat sealed membership card and an embroidered badge.

As far as we know there was no Goldfish club lapel badge. We do not normally feature military or cloth badges but this one has a button badge relation, the employees of P B Cow & Co during the war were issued with button badges which acted as passes into the factory. clearly some of the work at P B Cow's could be sensistive and so the official 'pass badge' was issued. It is a 32mm button badge and bears the makers name around the curl 'Thomas Fattorini Ltd Regent St Birmingham'

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About the author

Frank Setchfield is the author of The Official Badge Collectors Guide from the 1890s to the 1980s and has written countless articles on badges for various publications.

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