I think I have mentioned that I have a lapel pin which is in the shape of a person with a parachute and wings one either side. It has Dad's name on it and says something to the effect that GQ saved my life and the date. I wondered if there was any more information on this. It's not a Caterpillar Club pin - that seems to be different. So last year, I dug around and sent off an email. Not much happened so I thought I'd give it another whirl and look what came back today!
27 January, 2010
As you can see your email has gone through various staff members before it came to myself here in UK. I am the Engineering Manager at Airborne Systems and for my sins oversee the Gold Wings Club and the Caterpillar Club together with our MD’s PA. I have looked through our records and can indeed confirm that your father is on our database. Unfortunately, unlike our Irvin Caterpillar Club database, when the GQ company relocated to Wales all the old records were lost including the original application letters.
I can confirm from our database that your father’s Gold Wing number is indeed 392 and his descent is recorded as occurring on the 16th Jan 1945. His Service Number was 42279 (I am not sure, but I believe from this you may be able to get his service records from UK Military archives.) His descent was made ‘into’ Belgium and the parachute he used was a Pilot C2 Serial Number 166033. This would have been a ‘seat’ type parachute with a 24 foot diameter canopy – probably made of nylon and sewn with silk thread. Unfortunately, we do not retain any old parachute photos here specific to that model. What I have attached though for you perusal is a couple of GQ advertisements from the ‘Aeroplane’ magazine in Dec 1944 that pictorially shows the type of parachute he would have used…. I hope that these may be of interest to you.
I can only think that such a treasured memento, whilst relatively valuable from a collector’s perspective, must have great sentimental value to you… I apologise that I have no more information that I can provide.
Engineering Manager Airborne Systems Limited
Isn't that interesting. I've asked a couple more questions which I hope Andy will be able to answer and I'll post that when it arrives.
And as soon as I can, I'll post those GQ ads Andy mentioned.