The Navy League had been set up in 1894 as a pressure group to encourage public support for the Royal Navy. Its original aims were:
• to promote an awareness in the British public on the dependency of the country on the sea and that the only safeguard was to have a powerful navy
• to convince the public of the justification for adequate expenditure and maintenance of the navy to enable them to fulfil their role
• that naval issues required continuity and should not be interfered with through differing party politic
• education of the public and young people about the need of a strong navy through publications and lectures.
By the Second World War, however, the organisation’s focus had changed somewhat and the emphasis was now on running youth movements such as the Sea Cadets and more general welfare programmes for sailors in the Royal Navy. One of the areas of support charities such as the Naval League were popularly involved with was in the supply of ‘comforts’. Comforts were small items given to seamen to make their lives more comfortable, typically these included hand made hats, scarves, gloves and socks to supplement official supplies, items of stationery to allow men to write home to their families and items such as tobacco etc. These organisations had a network of civilian helpers and frequently enamelled pin badges were awarded to those heavily involved in the process. The Naval League’s Seafarers Comforts Supply organisation adopted a circular badge with a white ensign in the centre of it:
As many of those making and administering the distribution of comforts were women, the badge has a brooch style of pin on the rear rather than a half-moon lapel fitting:
The number of different civilian pin and lapel badges used during the Second World War is mind-boggling and there are always new examples coming out of the woodwork, usually with bright and attractive designs that makes the area ripe for collecting.