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Artifact of the Week: Merchant Marine Patch

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

This patch was created by Walt Disney Studios in Burbank California, in July of 1944. Made for the Merchant Marines of the Second World War, this patch shows one of Disney’s classic characters, Pete, punching a human-like torpedo. The design was likely penned by designer Hank Porter, who headed the World War II insignia division at Disney Studios.

This patch is about five inches in diameter, three inches longer than typical patches from this period. This type of patch would have been worn on the shoulder, jacket fronts, or blouses.

The United States Merchant Marines of World War II provided supplies, ammunitions, and troops in nearly every theater of the war. About 243,000 mariners served in the war with over nine thousand casualties. Over 700 Merchant Marine ships sank, and the Japanese captured about 600. In 1941, prior to the attack at Pear Harbor, the Germans and Japanese sunk six Merchant Marine vessels, marking them as among the first Americans to die in the war.

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