The Goldfish Club is a worldwide association of people who’ve escaped an aircraft by parachuting into the water, or whose aircraft crashed in the water, and whose lives were then saved by a life jacket, inflatable dinghy, or another similar device.
The Goldfish Club badge shows a white-winged goldfish flying over two symbolic blue waves. The main aim of the club is “to keep alive the spirit of comradeship arising from the mutual experience of members surviving, ‘coming down in the drink'” (the Goldfish Club website).
The club was formed in November of 1942 by C.A. Robertson, the Chief Draftsman at the United Kingdom’s PB Cow & Co., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of air-sea rescue equipment. He had heard of the experiences of airmen who had survived a ditching at sea, Robertson decided to form an exclusive club for those airmen; this would allow the members to meet and exchange experiences.
With the company’s blessing, the club was named The Goldfish Club ~ gold represented the value of life and fish represented the water. Each member was presented with a heat-sealed waterproof membership card and an embroidered badge. News quickly spread and in January of 1943, the BBC broadcast an interview with Robertson and two members who had qualified on their first operational flight. By the end of WWII, the club had 9000 members from all branches of the allied forces.
Stories of many of the members are told in “The Goldfish Club” by Danny Danziger, a member of the club; it was published in 2012.
Another relevant book is “Down in the Drink” by Ralph Barker; it too contains true stories of members of the club.
Are you a member of the Goldfish Club? If so, we’d love to hear your story!