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Odznak polního pilota-letce

Military Pilot Badge

Military Pilot Badge was instituted on October 27, 1923 by an order of the Ministry of National Defence of the Czechoslovak Republic (Ministerstvo národní obrany Československé republiky) and was issued to graduates of military flying schools together with a license (Průkazka).

Decoration had a shape of a round linden wreath with a pair of extended wings superimposed on its upper part and a sword with its blade pointed down. The small Czechoslovakian coat of arms (rampant lion with two tails and a shield on its chest) surmounts a diamond placed just below a cross-guard of a sword. Wings and coat of arms are gilt while wreath and sword are silvered.

Military Pilot Badge was produced by several manufacturers in Czechoslovakia as well as abroad, in Great Britain and France. Thus dimensions of the badge varied slightly and were 66x51 mm approximately.

The main Czech manufacturer of the badge was Provazník A.Spol from Prague that produced four types of decorations of .800 silver, i.e. 1923, 1923-1933, 1934-1938 and one post-WWII type (1945-1953). Those badges differed in shape of lion’s tail, sword’s grip and cross-guard as well as in hallmarks. State mint in Slovakian Kremnica (Státní Mincovna) was the second significant manufacturer that produced decoration from .800 silver as well. The rarest types of badges were manufactured by Heinrich Grünfeld from Prague that offered high quality badges for private purchase to members of the officer flying corps. Those badges were actually manufactured by Provazník A.Spol but hallmarked by Heinrich Grünfeld.

Spink & Son Ltd. from London was the most important foreign manufacturer of Pilot Badges that started production in 1942 from .925 silver. Decoration was issued not only to flying personnel of three RAF Czech squadrons (310-312) but also to British pilots as an honour badge. Two types that differed in thickness of the sword are known to exist, so-called “slabý typ” (2,5 mm) and “silný typ” (3,6 mm). Unissued British-made badges were handed over to the Czech government after the WWII and were distributed among Czech pilots until 1948. Since then ideological considerations forced troublesome British hallmarks to be grinded off.

French-made decorations were produced by V.Pištora in limited numbers in 1940 and were made of .950 silver.

Military Pilot Badge was worn on a left breast pocket of tunic and attached by three hooks soldered to backside of both wings and lower part of wreath.

Some badges were made of gilt and silvered bronze. Miniatures of the Pilot Badge for wearing on civilian suits were manufactured as well. They had a long needle soldered to its reverse and measured 18x14 mm. Slightly bigger miniatures (28x24 mm) with horizontal pin on reverse are known to exist.   

The badge was awarded throughout thirty years, from 1923 till 1953. It was replaced with a new type bearing communist five-pointed red star superimposed on the upper part of the sword.  

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Military Pilot badge 1