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- Author Prof. Władysław Gruberski (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw)
- Date of production 1930
- Place of creation J. Knedler engraving studio, Poland
- Dimensions height: 4 cm, width: 6.6 cm
- ID no. MLP V000443
- Availability on exposure
- Object copyright Polish Aviation Museum
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The Observer Badge (Navigator Badge) is one of the aviation’s specialty badges, worn by pilots and other members of the flying staff. The popular gapa is one of the most famous symbols of the Polish Military Aviation. The badge was worn by aviators in the inter-war period and the Polish Air Force during World War II. The design of the badge has survived from the time of the People’s Republic of Poland and is worn by Polish aviators to this day.more
The Observer Badge (Navigator Badge) is one of the aviation’s specialty badges, worn by pilots and other members of the flying staff. The popular gapa is one of the most famous symbols of the Polish Military Aviation. The badge was worn by aviators in the inter-war period and the Polish Air Force during World War II. The design of the badge has survived from the time of the People’s Republic of Poland and is worn by Polish aviators to this day.
The museum exhibit is a special specimen of the Observer Badge made of gold that had been awarded to one of the best graduates of the Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin, the famous “School of the Eaglets.” The badge is a symbol of the high quality of training that aviators received in the Second Republic of Poland. The perfectly trained pilots were considered some of the best aviators in the world, as demonstrated during World War II.
Aleksander Kremieniecki was a fresh graduate of the Academy awarded with this special specimen of the Observer Badge. In 1932 he completed his course in pilotage; in 1933 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant; and in 1934 he became a test pilot. Lieutenant Pilot A. Kremieniecki died in 1935 while navigating a prototype PZL.23 Karaś aircraft.
The badge represents an eagle flying straight ahead, with a laurel wreath in its beak and three lightning strokes (sparks, shots) shooting out of its claws. The wings feature lugs to which the aviator could attach a chain with a pin, which in turn was used to hang the badge. On the back of the badge is a metal bar and a screw cap, both used to attach the badge to the uniform.
The screw cap features the producer’s inscription: J. Knedler | Warszawa N. Świat 45 [J. Knedler | Warsaw N. Świat 45]. The Warsaw engraver Jan Knedler was one of the most eminent producers of military badges. On the backside of the badge you can see the number of the badge: 738 and a hand-engraved inscription: Czwartemu absolwentowi Szk. Pchor. Lot. w r. 1930 | Szef Deptu [Departamentu] Aeronautyki [For the fourth graduate of the Polish Air Force Academy in 1930 | Head of the Aeronautics Department]. Below is the hallmark and stamp of the producer, “J. Knedler.” This specific badge was made of gold, but a typical badge was made of bronze, awarded to a graduate of the Polish Air Force Academy upon their passing the theoretical and practical air navigator exams. What distinguished the Observer Badge from badges awarded for other specialties was the motif of lightning strokes (sparks). At the time of the badge’s production, the navigator’s duties included the operation of a spark-gap transmitter (an old type of a radio transmitter).
It is one of two badges of this kind kept at Polish museums.
Elaborated by Dawid Karamon (Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow), © all rights reserved