SSAFA, or the Soldiers, Sailors and Airman’s Families Association was founded in 1885 as the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association and in 1919 expanded to also cover the newly formed Air Force. They spent an incredibly busy six years during World War Two supporting the families of servicemen with everything from helping them claim grants form the government to physically distributing clothing and food to those left behind who had fallen on hard times. In the first ten months of 1940 107,200 garments and 5,500 pairs of footwear were distributed. The members of SSAFA who were involved in this work were issued with an enameled badge that showed they were members of the organisation and on official business. The badge was circular in design and had the organisation’s badge in the centre, with it’s title around the outside and a crown at the top:
The vast majority of SSAFA’s workers were women, and so the badge has a brooch clasp to the back rather than a lapel fitting:
As the war progressed, SSAFA campaigned for higher allowances for servicemen’s families, set up homes for bombed out mothers and children whose husbands and fathers were serving and, one of the most appreciated services, was to let serving men know that their families were alright, or not, after a bombing raid. SSAFA continues to work hard for servicemen’s families today, but perhaps the Second World War was the most challenging chapter in their history.
A full history of the organisation during World War II can be read here.