The feared and very capable crack German "Fallschirmjager" paratroopers who rained down over the island of Crete during May of 1941 wore this collar badge upon their uniform.
This original 1936 Wehrmacht badge was awarded as a qualification recognition after completing full Luftwaffe parachutist training and after the completion of six fully equipped terrain jumps. The recipient had to re-qualify for the badge each year and was worn over the left breast of the paratroopers jacket.This particular badge is note worthy as the gold plated Nazi Swastika has been removed more than likely by Lt. E V Hayward which originally was positioned under the tallons or claws of the German eagle.
This first 1936 example ordered by General Herman Goering was also noteable as it was uniquely awarded to the Staffen-SS paratroopers who qualified and may be the reason Lt. Hayward took a fancy to it during the "Battle of Crete"
What undoubtedly would have been a very tired Maori Battalion Lt. E V Hayward whom decided that he would like to "aquire" this pin from a German soldier's uniform as a souvenir of his efforts during the illconcieved political folly of this Allied Greece campaign.Some thing that the 28th Maori Battalion was especially keen on doing during their active years of WW2.
This pin remains with the Hayward family to this day.
These paratroopers were again some 3 years later our adversary at what was one of the 4 "Battles of Cassino" in Italy.