View Full Version : What are the badges??

kelly smith
08-01-08, 10:38
Hello all

Was just wondering if any one knew what the badges were on Grandads sleeve Esspecially the star?


08-01-08, 12:26
Kelly, what nationality was your Grandfather? The three stripes would indicate that he was a sergeant, the star could indicate he was a staff sergeant but I do not know what the coloured flashes mean. The whole uniform does'nt look british to me

08-01-08, 12:30

a guess he was a sergeant the three chevrons indicate this, perhaps the colours on the boards, indicate he was a colour sergeant?

kelly smith
08-01-08, 12:30
Hello Pilgrim
He was British but I know he was stationed all over the world he spent some time in Germany and India as well as alot of other places that people have mentioned to me, I know he was in the RTR as it was the only part of his army life he ever spoke about and still wore his tank badge on a blazor when he was in his eightys.
Just wish I could find out a bit more about his army life!

kelly smith
08-01-08, 12:31
Hi Julie sorry ingorance on my behalf! whats a colour sergeant?

08-01-08, 12:35
after a bit of hunting

Regimental quartermaster-sergeants wore four chevrons on the lower sleeve, point upwards, with a star above, but adopted the crown when they too became warrant officers class II in 1915 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1915). In their case, however, the crown was surrounded by a wreath. Regimental sergeant-majors, who before the Boer War had worn four chevrons with a crown, were given in 1902 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1902) the badge of a single large crown on the lower arm, but adopted a small version of the Royal arms in its place in 1915 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1915) when they became warrant officers class I.

you will need to look at section 2, ORIGINS

British Army Other Ranks rank insignia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Army_Other_Ranks_rank_insignia#Origins)

08-01-08, 12:38
I think your best bet would be to PM "Don.t" he is a member here and knows alot about identifiying stuff,

dunno what a colour sergeant is perhaps Don will enlighten us?

Have seen them mentioned before, but am at a loss, sorry

kelly smith
08-01-08, 12:44
How confusing Julie!!!

Thankyou vey much am off to have a read through at a slow pace so I can take it all in!

08-01-08, 12:45
ooooo before you do, have you seen this?

Royal Tank Regiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Tank_Regiment)

kelly smith
08-01-08, 12:55
Julie thats wonderful even mentions the 11th RTR which I can't seem to find much about! have already pmed Don, hope he dosn't mind.

08-01-08, 13:14
Glad its of some use :)

I dont think Don will mind, (and Don, you can slap me if you like...) ;)

Hopefully we'll be able to find out a bit more :):)

08-01-08, 14:32
Time to put Kelly out of her misery :D

Starting from the top (so to speak) the dark and light patch on his shoulder tab would be his regimental flash. Underneath is a diabolo (the one that looks like an egg timer). in this case it is a dark colour which I suspect would have been black on both triangles if this was the case then it was the emblem for the 25th Tank Brigade and would be before the white maple leaf was added to the top section. Below this is the single stripe in two colours which is the "arm of service stripe" in this case possibly the armoured division. as for the star in a circle this could be a unit insiginia (I am still looking for this one). A colour sergeant or staff sergeant would have a crown in the middle of the chevrons. To complete his uniform of Battle Dress he would also have a black beret with the regimental badge on it.


kelly smith
08-01-08, 15:02
Oh Don thank you so much, You are an angel

The Beret he still had when I was a child I will have to ring round the family to see if I can find it although the cap badge I have and have had it mounted on a plaque,

Just one more question Don (sorry) do you think this picture was taken before during or a ww2? he severd for 20 odd years so its always hard for me to tell!

Thank you again

Rachel Scand
08-01-08, 15:30
Oh Don thank you so much, You are an angel
Just one more question Don (sorry) do you think this picture was taken before during or a ww2? he severd for 20 odd years so its always hard for me to tell!

Oh help .... what colour are the chevrons ? :confused: I keep googling and getting nowhere ! :(

08-01-08, 15:53
The Battle Dress uniform was introduced in the March of 1939 and was to replace the Service Dress for the British Army but saying that not all units received their new kit straight away as units of the Territorial Forces were going to France in 1940 still kitted out in the old Service Dress. In (and from) 1944 the Battle Dress uniform blouse (the blouse being the outer jacket) was being worn with a collar and tie (all khaki) when off duty this did not become offical until 1947. So to start with this photograph was taken between 1939 and 1947 but the date can be narrow down still further as the blouse show's pleating to the pockets and overflaps to the central buttons and pockets (covering the pocket button). Pleating and flaps where discontinued in 1942 due to the need to conserve material thus being victim of the then ecomony drives that were happening at that time. Sooooooo, I would say that this photograph was taken between 1939 and 1942.

As for the colouration for the chevron's these (in general) would be white (or off white depending on how long they had been up) on a khaki backing.


08-01-08, 15:58

Hadn't thought about the trade badges as my mind was thinking more on the others being what I have said. well done.


kelly smith
08-01-08, 16:20
Don and Bob thank you so much I didn't expect to get such a narrow time frame you know your stuff alright!

Rachel Scand
08-01-08, 21:46
Please are any of you experts around ?

I have a tiny photo which may be my grandfather, which I'd forgotten about

I've given it a quick clean and crop and would love to know if the regiment/rank is identifiable or is there anything you can tell me about it ? ... a date would be helpful

I do know when grandfather was born but don't want to influence any ideas you may have.http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o228/rachelscand/GrpaCropweb.jpg

08-01-08, 22:27
Hi Rachel,

The only thing that I can really say about this photograph is that it is of the first world war period. As there are no medal ribbons up it would predate 1919. What was his name Rachel.


Rachel Scand
08-01-08, 22:58
Hi Rachel,
The only thing that I can really say about this photograph is that it is of the first world war period. As there are no medal ribbons up it would predate 1919. don

Thank you don ... now that I've looked at it on the website as opposed to the computer screen, I can see that the features are almost definitely grandad's
(there's an earlier one of him on page 1 of the "100 year old photographs" thread).
He was born in 1903 and I do know that he was in the Royal Artillery WW2 .... and very likely WW1 also.

Rachel Scand
08-01-08, 23:38
Ooooooo ... Bob, this is getting interesting :)

I have another small pic which is very definitely grandad in uniform but looking a little older .... it's a real mess .... stuck together with sellotape on the back and I can't scan it/do anything with it tonight.

He has another piece of white cord coming from his left pocket and it looks as if he has one stripe towards the bottom of his left sleeve :)

Will put it on here tomorrow ....

Thank you both so much

Rachel Scand
09-01-08, 10:24
here's the other one of grandad ... enlarged HUGELY :D and with the major creases removed.
If anyone can tell me anything about it .... age, rank etc. that would be great.
All I can say is that it was taken in the back garden of the house where he was brought up.


Rachel Scand
09-01-08, 12:09
:) And just one more .... this would have been taken in 1923
He looks a bit strange, but I'd say he's older than in the first pic. .... so I think Don's correct with the date of that


09-01-08, 12:37
Gooooooooood morning Rachel.

These last two photograpghs throw up more clues as to his army days and even tells you in which regiment he served in. Firstly the white lanyard. The arm was passed through the loop made by the lanyard and under the shoulder tab (which was then fastened over it) as I have said before this white lanyard had a service Jack knife attached (via white cording) and the end of this cording and knife were placed in the soldiers left breast pocket along with his Army Service Pay Book. The white chevron on the lower left sleeves denotes a length of service of good conduct, somewhere between two and a half to three and half years good conduct (or as some would say "never being caught") depending from which book/web site the information comes from. Because of this G/C chevron these pictures post date the first that you put up. Now for his regiment. On the shoulder tab of the last photograph can clearly be seen the brass letters RGA this stands for Royal Garrison Artillary (his regiment). What was his name as a search on the national archives website may produce his medal index card which you can download for the costly sum of £3.50.


kelly smith
09-01-08, 13:04
Hello again,

I was just wondering if there is any way I can access my grandfathers army records and papers don't mind paying for them but where would I start?

Rachel Scand
09-01-08, 13:34
:) Many thanks Don .... I have his 3 WW2 medals ... will pm you

On further thought ... I've remembered that I have a letter (1st May 1918) written by gt gran and she mentions that grandad was at work .... so it doesn't sound as if he'd have had time to serve in WW1 ...
He would have been just 15 years of age when the war ended.

09-01-08, 13:35
Good morning Kelly,

You could try ancestry as they have British army records on their site, this being the ones that are known as "the burnt records" you may be lucky to find your grandfather's records amongst them but bear in mind some of these records are missing due to enemy action in the 2nd ww. It can be a bit of a bind to search, more so if you have a common name. But, not wanting to get your hopes up, if you were successful in finding the records for him/them then the information provided can be very good. Another source is the medal card index held at Kew. These can be accessed on the internet at The National Archives of the United Kingdom (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)
you will need to go to the section entitled "1st ww campaign medals" and then place the details that you have with regards to your grandfather's in the search area's and hopefully you may be successfull. If you have an army service number this will help you in the case of common surnames. Once found and taking it to be the correct one that you want you can then obtain an imagine of the card for £3.50 via that site. Unlike the "burnt records" there will be no personal details on the card other than name, rank, number, etc, awards given, and at times the theatre of war that the named soldier served in.
hope this helps


Rachel Scand
10-01-08, 00:42
Gosh ! ... my previous pic (post no. 26) grandad's wearing a bandolier .... it's taken this long for it to sink in ...
I thought it was some kind of stripey thing made of cloth :D

10-01-08, 11:52
morning Rachel,

Looking back over the postings that you have put up it now strikes me that the date that you have (1923) would mean that the first photograph would have been taken c1920/21 being that a good conduct chevron (or to give it its proper title Good-Conduct Badge) was awarded after two to two and a half years of good conduct. It would also fit with the uniform not showing any collar dogs (small regimental badges on the collar) as these did not come into being until 1924 when alterations were made to the British army uniform. If you post a picture of his medals up I maybe able to tell you something about them to add to your files.


Rachel Scand
10-01-08, 13:05
Afternoon Don :)
Does that mean that he was in the army doing his National Service or would that have only lasted 2 years ? :confused:

I only remember him talking about the war twice (very briefly) and I've no idea which war.
He mentioned horses and chains .... and that they were brutes which had to be caught every morning (well that's how I remember it !) and I always assumed it was WW1.
Far more interesting to a small child, was that he saw a soldier get his head blown off and he carried on walking another 3 paces ! ! ! :) LUVVLY !
I'm sure he said the chap was carrying a canon ball or something similar, but that could well be the way it stuck in my head at the time.

Re the 3 medals .... I googled images and found them ... 39-45 Star, Defence medal and the War medal ...

Google Image Result for http://collectables.maltaexpo.com/filebank/imagebank/Medals%20Trio.jpg (http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://collectables.maltaexpo.com/filebank/imagebank/Medals%2520Trio.jpg&imgrefurl=http://collectables.maltaexpo.com/page.asp%3Fn%3Dproduct%26p%3D208222%26c%3D788&h=398&w=600&sz=61&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=vq4Clwd8QS37aM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3D1939%2B-%2B1945%2Bmilitary%2Bmedals%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1% 26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN)

Grandad's are in their original cardboard box .... maybe I should photograph that instead of the medals ?

11-01-08, 00:10
National Service was introduced after the 2nd World War. Conscription of men to serve in the armed forces was first introduced in 1916 and lasted til the end of that conflict so I would imagine that your granddad joined voluntary, unless of course he was called up at the tale end of the conscription period and stayed on (which to me is doubtful). The evidence of a good-conduct badge shows that he had been in the army for a period of at least two years to have been intitled to be awarded it.

The medals that you have identified were, as you know, awarded to service personnel who served their country during the 39-45 war but are you aware that the colours on the medal ribbon also have their own meanings?

The 1939-1945 Star was awarded to personnel who had completed six months service in specified operational commands overseas between 3rd September 1939 and the 2nd September 1945. The ribbon colours are equal stripes of dark blue, red and light blue and represent the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force respectively.

The Defence Medal was awarded to personnel for three years service at home or six months service overseas in territories which were subjected to air attacks or otherwise closely threatened. The ribbon colours are two broad bands of green which are superimposed by a narrow strip of black and has a wide orange band in the centre. The green represents this green and pleasant land, the black is for the black-out whilst the orange is for the fire-bombing that occurred.

The War Medal was issued to all full time personnel of the armed forces where ever they served as long as they had served for at least 28 days between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945. The ribbon colours of red, blue and white represent the colours of the Union Jack.


Rachel Scand
11-01-08, 00:32
The green represents this green and pleasant land, the black is for the black-out whilst the orange is for the fire-bombing that occurred.

Goodness me ... that's something to think about ...
I've always wondered about the vibrant green colour in particular

Rachel Scand
11-01-08, 13:18
Hello Don, Bob and anyone else who can help :)

I have 2 questions about my late father's WW2 service medals.

We have 3 medals on their correct ribbons (War medal, 1939-49 Star, The France and Germany Star) + 2 spare ribbons for both Stars and there is another ribbon.

This has a wide black band in the centre and either side a thin white band and an thin orange band (outer edges). I've found one on google images which looks like it .... War Merit ?

(1) Can you tell me what this was for ... Ooooer ... it's not German is it ? :D in which case it's not his !

(2) If it's dad's, is there any way mum could apply for it, or find out if there are any others he was entitled to ?

11-01-08, 15:06
Hi Rachel,

It is not a campaign ribbon combination that I easily recognise but after looking it up in one of my books I have found a medal ribbon that might be the correct one. The Lifesaving Medal of the Order of St John has the same colour combination (the medal ribbon changed in 1954 to the colours that you mention) and the medal is awarded for gallantry in saving life.


Rachel Scand
11-01-08, 15:46
Thank you Don
I think it must be German !

I've unearthed some correspondence re his entitlement to medals .... these are as clear as mud.

One says he's entitled to the Defence Medal (he does not have this) others say he did not qualify because because his length of service was less than 3 years.

It says he served for 2 years and 137 days + 41 days in NWE.
However, I'm now looking at his 'Statement of Service'

Enlisted ... 12-2-42 ...... Granted ws/Sgt ... 21-6-45 ...
Isn't that more than 3 years ? :confused:

(I may well have lost the plot)

11-01-08, 17:02
The address and details on how to apply for campaign medals can be found on the veterans agency site at
Medals - Claiming for campaign medals (http://www.veterans-uk.info/medals/claiming.html)


Rachel Scand
11-01-08, 17:34
Many thanks Don.... might as well give it a go and see if they can unravel it :)

Paul Barton, Special Agent
12-01-08, 09:31
I think Don.t should have his own section on FamilyTreeForum.... "Ask Don.t".... he comes up trumps every time!