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pre WWI RWF back flash

Article about: I was gifted this to aid in a restoration of a WWII period RWF officers SD tunic, but I am hesitant to use it as it is a Victorian or Edwardian example, being of finer fabric and much wider

  1. #1

    Default pre WWI RWF back flash

    I was gifted this to aid in a restoration of a WWII period RWF officers SD tunic, but I am hesitant to use it as it is a Victorian or Edwardian example, being of finer fabric and much wider than those used during WWII, as shown by the comparison pic with an in situ example on another WWII RWF tunic I own. I am not sure how it would compare with a WWI period example so if anyone has one to show and can take measurements of its width that would be appreciated. Each ribbon is 2.5 inches wide whilst the WWII example is just under 2 inches wide.

    Just thought I would show it and I will probably continue to hunt for a WWII example.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  2. #2

    Default

    I picked up another back flash for the RWF today. This has the same width to the tails as the thread starter but is much shorter in length and has two safety pins still attached to it. The width suggests it is another early example and it is possible that shorter tails were used by OR's but that is not known by me and it might be either a manufacturers or period related variation.

    For those who don't know the history and significance of the back flash, which was unique to the His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales's Own Royal Regiment of Welch Fusileers (the full title of the RWF in 1714).

    In 1795 the practice of wearing powdered pigtails by the British army ceased and after that it was plaited, greased with pig grease or tallow or even tar and was placed in a queue bag which was tied with black ribbons to protect the red coat. This latter practice was also abolished in July 1808. The RWF was abroad at the time and was against the measure and after much heated debate the officers cut them off and burnt them, whilst the OR's and their wifes/companions also refused to allow this to happen as it was a matter of pride as to who had presented their men with the best pigtail. Following a stern order by the commander, the order was duly carried out with much muttering among the men and their ladies.

    As a mark of protest the officers took to wearing the ribbons from them sewn to the back of the tunic collar and this rapidly became a regimental tradition until the RWF returned to the UK in November 1834 when the General officer commanding the South West complained about the superfluous decoration and threatened to order its immediate abolition. However the Commander of the Regiment appealed to the Colonel in Chief of the RWF who was Quartermaster General who appealed to the King and he approved of their wearing the flash to mark the dress of that distinquished Regiment, by officers, warrant officers and staff sergeants.

    In 1900 Queen Victoria approved of the wearing of the flash by all ranks on full dress and by the above as before.

    In 1915 the under secretary of state for war complained in parliment that some officers of the regiment were wearing the flash with the by then introduced khaki service tunic and six days later permission was given to wear the flash with service dress for the duration of the war.

    In 1924 permission was granted for all ranks to wear the flash on service dress and in 1932 when the King was inspecting the troops he commented,

    "....it is such a pleasure to see you all in your flashes today. I had such trouble about it during the war. They wanted to take the flash off the khaki uniform of the Royal Welch. Lord Kitchener was particularly difficult. They said it was too conspicuous. I told them that the enemy would never see the flash on the BACKS of the Royal Welch"

    It continued to be worn by all ranks on formal occasions but only officers could wear it in the front line and since the RWF became part of the Royal Welsh in 2006 it is worn by that regiment to this day.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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