♦ 45 operation tour without a break, other than the standard one week’s leave every six weeks awarded to aircrew, or the 48-hour survivors’ leave awarded to those who had had a sea ditching, baled out or crashed in the UK. (This 48 hours could be increased to a week or even more at the Squadron Medical Officer’s discretion.)
NOTES: 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). Initially the PFF requirement was set as 60 operations without a break, but better judgement prevailed on the impossibility of this task.
♦ one step up in acting rank, for example a Pilot Officer would become a temporary Flying Officer – pay was increased accordingly.
♦ the Pathfinder badge of a hovering gold eagle awarded on a temporary basis after a number of operations, during which the required standard of proficiency was reached, and then permanently, usually at the end of a tour.
♦ the badge was sometimes awarded permanently in exceptional circumstances such as an outstanding airman going missing on operations. See the award to Pilot Officer McEgan, above; this award was made within one week of his being registered as ‘Missing’ – he had in fact been killed.
For detailed information on the Pathfinder badge, see THE PATHFINDER EAGLE .