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CATERPILLAR CLUB , GOLDFISH CLUB , SEA SQUATTERS CLUB


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willysmb44

Funny how the Goldfish letter thanks the person for their application. The card/patch I have is from a B-17 pilot who said they just showed up in a big envelope for the entuire crew one day, he didn't even know what it was until someone explained it to him. That certainly wouldn't suggest any application was filled out by him. I guess this means that the aircraft commander could fill out an application for their crew? That'd also explain why he never got a letter like that...

Also funny how the card I have of his doesn't list a date, it just says, "operations" instead of a date. But all of them were typed with a red ribbon in the typewriter, how odd...

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That is interesting willy. Maybe yours is unique as every one I have ever seen has the date on the card. Scroll up the thread and the Glenn Smart card who flew with the eagle squadron and 4th FG also has the date on it. I had also seen a nice letter and similar dated card sell with a A-2 group on military aviation artifacts not long ago.

 

These cards and letters are very rare and are super cool. I was very pleased to finally add a set to the collection!

 

JD

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  • 2 months later...

Just saw this discussion, and hope this is of interest. This document was for my father whose B-24 was shot down 3/21/1945 near Dolsach, Germany. He was imprisoned in Stalag 7 Nurenburg, Germany, after avoiding capture for 5 days. 10 of the 11 crew members survived the crash. This was in my Mom's scrapbook but we could not find the Caterpillar Pin in my Dad's affects. I just got this scrapbook and was going to make a display. I contacted Pinoneer Parachute in hopes to be able to get a pin or at least get an idea on their design. Waiting to hear from them. The post card was sent to Dad from one of his friends after hearing of his release from POW camp at the end of the war.

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I have a Caterpillar Club pin that was given to my by a jewelry store owner friend who took it in to be melted down. Fortunately, he recognized the engraving on the reverse as being military, and asked me if I wanted it. It's 18k gold with two ruby eyes. On the reverse is engraved "LIEUT.EW.HILLE", and with a very intricate safety catch on the pin. Anyone have any data on the recipient? Jack Angolia

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  • 1 month later...

Going over my SL3 stuff from Edward A Tovrea Sr. and found the card that goes with this patch I had been trying to figure out. I could find nothing on the net about it so I was glad to also find his card to finally explain it to me.

 

"The Escape & Evasion Society"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is Tovrea's original Caterpillar Club Card and engraved pin. Some back story is he flew spits with the 31st Fighter Group early in the war. He was shot down on one of the groups first few combat missions and became the first American POW in Stalag Luft 3. He was also one of the original Tunnel Diggers and featured in the book "The Great Escape". He supposedly was part of the inspiration of the Character Virgil Hilts played by Steve McQueen. His items were split up at auction a few years ago. I got these and a few other items. Member LuftStalg1 also got some, and the rest is who knows where.

 

JD

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I have had this thing for years and just came across it again. It seems to be some kind of pin for making 4000 para jumps. It is hallmared "Balfour". Anyone ever see anything like this?

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doinworkinvans

Are the boot and goldfish known to be reproduced? I have only seen one group for sale that contained a boot patch. I know everything can be faked and probably is, but are they known to be heavily faked? You just dont see them that often at all if they are reproduced.

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Are the boot and goldfish known to be reproduced? I have only seen one group for sale that contained a boot patch. I know everything can be faked and probably is, but are they known to be heavily faked? You just dont see them that often at all if they are reproduced.

Yes, they are heavily faked! I would say that most of the ones you come across are fake.

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I have had this thing for years and just came across it again. It seems to be some kind of pin for making 4000 para jumps. It is hallmared "Balfour". Anyone ever see anything like this?

 

UPDATE: Posted this in another thread.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/197721-4000-para-jump-pin/

 

And this is what came up. I am waiting to see if we can get a copy of the photo from the book showing it being worn.

 

 

"It is mention in Gary Howard's book America's Finest. He shows a photo of the 4000 club pin and a soldier wearing it with his jump wings. I think it is like the Caterpillar club pin. A very RARE pin, I have only seen a couple over the years. Not much is know about this, but definately WW2."

Mark

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UPDATE: Posted this in another thread.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/197721-4000-para-jump-pin/

 

And this is what came up. I am waiting to see if we can get a copy of the photo from the book showing it being worn.

 

"It is mention in Gary Howard's book America's Finest. He shows a photo of the 4000 club pin and a soldier wearing it with his jump wings. I think it is like the Caterpillar club pin. A very RARE pin, I have only seen a couple over the years. Not much is know about this, but definately WW2."

Mark

UPDATE #2: It turns out it is basically for surviving a chute malfunction forcing the use of your reserve. Documented by the 503rd PIR. So it's similar to the caterpillar club pin but the unlucky caterpillar club member. Or the VERY lucky caterpillar club member depending on how you look at it!

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/upgradetest/index.php?/topic/77529-4-1000-pin/

 

Mark D

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Why, "4000" on the pin?

 

They counted one 1000, two 1000, three 1000 and if the main chute was not open by then on four 1000 you pulled the reserve. And of course the four leaf clover represents the luck of the individual surviving, as that to was a requirement to get in the club.

 

Mark

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a update about my Dad's Caterpillar Pin. After his death 2 years ago I asked my Mom about the pin looked for it many times with no luck. I wrote Pioneer Parachute Co about a replacement, they forwarded my request to Switlik Parachute Co. I filled out paperwork and the nice people sent a replacement lapel pin. The best news was last weekend while cleaning out drawers at their house for a upcoming sale I found my Dad's original Caterpillar lapel pin. It is marked 14K on pin and best it is engraved to him. L.B.Curry A.A.F. Pioneer 3/21/45 on the screw back.

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This is a update about my Dad's Caterpillar Pin. After his death 2 years ago I asked my Mom about the pin looked for it many times with no luck. I wrote Pioneer Parachute Co about a replacement, they forwarded my request to Switlik Parachute Co. I filled out paperwork and the nice people sent a replacement lapel pin. The best news was last weekend while cleaning out drawers at their house for a upcoming sale I found my Dad's original Caterpillar lapel pin. It is marked 14K on pin and best it is engraved to him. L.B.Curry A.A.F. Pioneer 3/21/45 on the screw back.

 

That is great, congratulations on both!

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Here is set to a 306th BG POW who evaded for 3 months from April 1943 until July 1943 when the Gestapo picked him up in Paris.

He was also Jewish and had changed his name from Solomon to Sanders before he went into the Army.

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Here is set to a 306th BG POW who evaded for 3 months from April 1943 until July 1943 when the Gestapo picked him up in Paris.

 

He was also Jewish and had changed his name from Solomon to Sanders before he went into the Army.

 

Smart move on his part, given what happened later, even though he couldn't possibly have realized how smart that was at the time. Imagine where he might have wound up otherwise!

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