RAF Logo Man’s Former Home
This property, formerly known as The Gables, was once the home of Charles Pepper, designer of the RAF’s insignia.
On 1 April 1918, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). At a meeting held at RAF headquarters in The Cecil Hotel on The Strand, London, in 1918 it was decided to appoint Chief Petty Officer Pepper of the Royal Naval Air Service to design the RAF’s logo. It has remained largely unchanged since, the main difference being that the circlet around the bird originally featured a garter with a buckle. In 1925 the College of Arms, the official body responsible for coats of arms, provided a coloured drawing of the badge.
There has been occasional controversy over whether the badge that RAF other ranks (everyone except officers) wear on each shoulder is an eagle or an albatross. To quell the debate, the Air Ministry issued an order in 1949 declaring that the bird was in fact an eagle! However, while living at The Gables in the late 1970s, Mr Pepper told local newspaper journalist Ivor Wynne Jones: “I rejected the eagle because it was the badge of the Germans, who were then our enemy.” Mr Pepper chose instead the albatross as the basis for his insignia after a visit to the British Museum, where taxidermists had mounted an albatross soaring majestically.
In 1941 the RAF considered reworking the badge, as it was felt that a more war-like “eagle” should be shown.
The only recognition Mr Pepper received was a letter of thanks from the Air Minister, Sir William Weir, together with a copy of the letter briefing him to design the official seal of the RAF.
Source: Ivor Wynne Jones: Llandudno – Queen of Welsh Resorts
With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum
Postcode: LL30 2DN