♦ 45 operation tour without a break – Main Force flew two tours, the first of 30 ops, the second of 20 ops (these tours were broken up by a posting to a non-operational unit such as a Heavy Conversion Unit, or HCU)

♦ the Pathfinder badge of a hovering gold eagle (above) awarded on a temporary basis after 6 operations

♦ the Pathfinder badge awarded permanently after the completion of a tour, or in exceptional circumstances such as an outstanding airman going missing on operations (see the award to Pilot Officer McEgan, below). A certificate was issued, signed by Bennett. 

♦ one step up in acting rank, for example a Pilot Officer would become a temporary Flying Officer – pay was increased accordingly. *

Frank McEgan PFF certificate
Path Finder Force Certificate signed by Donald Bennett. McEgan was an outstanding airman, and was awarded the PFF badge even though he was killed before he completed his tour. Courtesy of Julian Rice.


♦  By 1943, all operational aircrew in Bomber Command had at least Non-Commissioned Officer rank (NCO). RAF ranks for operational aircrew or squadron commanders were:

Flight Sergeant
Warrant Officer

Pilot Officer
Flying Officer
Flight Lieutenant
Squadron Leader
Wing Commander
Group Captain