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badge Identification please

Article about: HI guys I bought some german medals and badges from a guy this week which he said his great uncle had collected after being released from pow camp oflagv111f . And I must admit they look gen

  1. #11

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    Quote by plumbob View Post
    I take it a Skill-at-Arms badge was just for someone who was good at shooting ect.
    Not necessarily but that was the origin of the term. There were basically three types of badge in use in the British Army in the WW2 period:

    1. Tradesmen's Badges (worn on right upper sleeve)
    2. Instructor's Badges (worn on both upper sleeves)
    3. Skill-at-Arms Badges (usually worn on left forearm, with some exceptions)

    Some badges were used in multiple categories, to mean different things. For example, the Crossed Rifles badge was used to denote a rifle marksman when on the left forearm, but was also worn on both upper arms by a musketry instructor.

    The first two categories are fairly self-explanatory, tradesmen were trained individuals at a higher rate of pay, ranging from cooks to surveyors to wireless mechanics. These badges went through many changes during the war, and in 1944 the system was expanded, as most trades had no badge.

    Instructors were similar, in that they were trained specialists, but these badges were worn for a four or five year period, after which the instructor was required to reclassify for the right to wear it. They could also be withdrawn from the wearer for 'inefficiency', which is army terminology for being not very good at the job.

    Skill-at-Arms Badges came in two categories: Competition Badges and Qualification Badges.

    Competition badges were not used during the war, but pre-war they were awarded within a unit. These could include such things as 'Company Best Shot', 'Skill in Driving', 'Squadron Best Swordsmanship' etc. As you suggested, this is the literal skill-at-arms meaning. These were usually done on an annual basis, just as a means to encourage excellence amongst the men.

    Qualification Badges were used, developed and expanded throughout the war and included the Parachute Badge, Driver IC, RA Gunlayer, Light Machine Gun Marksman (Bren Gunner) and Special Proficiency. They were awarded to any individual that had qualified at something that wasn't an actual trade. A parachute training course would entitle you to the Parachute Badge, a motor vehicle driving course would entitle you to the Driver IC badge etc. Most badges required the COs permission to wear, however. It's also worth mentioning that there were more unofficial badges than official ones, but most unit commanders allowed the use of these badges as they fostered a pride in personal achievement and provided an incentive for excellence.

    Thats the basic story anyway.

    Rob

  2. #12

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    Thanks Rob for going to all that trouble, you have educated me in something else I had no idea about .
    I will copy and paste this and save it in my docs.
    Thanks Rod

  3. #13

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    Quote by Battery Command Post View Post
    It's also worth mentioning that there were more unofficial badges than official ones, but most unit commanders allowed the use of these badges as they fostered a pride in personal achievement and provided an incentive for excellence.

    Rob
    Hi Rob, as I know nothing about British Army patches, I've just learnt more from your thread than I had in all my life! When you say unofficial badges were abundant, how would those have been made? I'm guessing they were mostly cloth? Who would make those in the field? The platoon/company tailor?

  4. #14

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    Quote by WHW Meister View Post
    Hi Rob, as I know nothing about British Army patches, I've just learnt more from your thread than I had in all my life! When you say unofficial badges were abundant, how would those have been made? I'm guessing they were mostly cloth? Who would make those in the field? The platoon/company tailor?
    That's an interesting question. The unofficial badges are definitely professionally made and in most cases probably from the same manufacturers as the official ones. As for the actual mechanics of who ordered them, and how far up the chain the approval for these patches went... I really don't know. If I had to make a guess, I would say it's likely that badges were purchased from regimental funds, and because of this, regimentally preferred designs were ordered. Considering that some infantry units wore patches in bright regimental colours, it would seem the most likely explanation. Even some of the most famous of these patches are actually unofficial badges.

    Rob

  5. #15

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    What is the highest ranking officer you have seen photos of wearing an unofficial patch in the field? I'm guessing if they were funded out of regiment money, would the Colonel have worn them?

  6. #16

    Default Re: badge Identification please

    Quote by WHW Meister View Post
    What is the highest ranking officer you have seen photos of wearing an unofficial patch in the field? I'm guessing if they were funded out of regiment money, would the Colonel have worn them?
    Badges were only worn by Other Ranks

    Rob

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