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  #1  
Old 20-08-17, 07:58 PM
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Default RWAFF Project & New Album

Hello Chaps

For a while now I have been collecting & studying the headdress badges of the Royal West African Frontier Force (1928-1960). Aside from having an appreciation for the 'palm tree' as a badge, the history and participation by so many regions across West Africa is a fascinating topic to study.

Although the badge itself seems rather simply (a palm tree atop a scroll) with little variations in design, I still find it an enjoyable topic to study and research. From the approval of the prefix 'Royal' in 1928 (formerly just WAFF) the badge underwent no changes to the design until the last units finally ceasing to exist (in that form) in 1960 with the independence of the last of the British colonies in that region of Africa. This does not mean that there is not variety in the RWAFF cap badge to collect and study.

A number of makers have been involved in producing this badge and in some cases have marked their products. A great many badges are unmarked, many of which (with close study) can be attributed to a particular maker. Further, there were a great many examples locally made and as such these badges are an especially interesting area of study as variations abound. The quality of locally made badges varied greatly and can be found in nearing professional standards all the way to clearly hand-made and quite naive renditions, with everything in between. Some of these have clearly been cast from original badges of British manufacture and again with close inspection it is sometimes possible to identify the parent badge and manufacturer which was used as a pattern.

As the design of the badge did not change and due to the lack of complexity in that design, it can often be challenging to distinguish one manufacturer from another (when no maker's mark is present). If one studies the fine details it can sometimes be possible to attribute a badge to a particular maker, despite no markings being present. I have found the best feature to facilitate this is the central part of the palm tree canopy. This has what I presume to be a group of 'coconuts' (usually seven) and it is in the placement of these in relation to one another that holds the key.

To help with this process I have developed what I call a 'coconut clock'. This is a graphic I overlay on the center of the canopy to better understand what's going on. The outside circle remains constant and is divided into the clock-face hours to better locate each 'coconut' and it's place. The overlaid circles are specific to a maker and helps to narrow down an identification. As dies changes and/or became worn, I may have more than one 'clock' per maker. Although not especially scientific, it certainly does make it much easier to attribute a badge (or not as the case may be) with a specific manufacturer. It's worth mentioning that I created each 'clock' only from badges that have clear and correct makers marks, so as to create somewhat of a badge base-line. I will attach a photo of an example to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

New Album

As I collect and study these badges I thought it would be enjoyable to start an album of those examples I have thus far found. It may take me a while to finish cataloging and loading up all the badges, so bear with me. I don't quite know where this project will take me, so at this time still plant to obtain more examples as able. I'm especially looking for locally made and/or silver examples. If you happen to have an unmarked example you wish to identify feel free to contact me and I will be happy to run it around my 'coconut clocks' and try and attribute it for you.

Cheerio,

Roy
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File Type: jpg Gaunt 1.jpg (65.0 KB, 29 views)
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Last edited by Roy; 22-08-17 at 12:03 AM.
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  #2  
Old 27-08-17, 02:51 PM
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Hi Gents,

I have now uploaded fourteen badges into my new RWAFF album project (link: http://www.britishbadgeforum.com/for...p?albumid=3238 ) but still have a number yet to do before I'm caught up.

Makers thus far featured:

JR Gaunt
Wali Mohd & Co, Nairobi
Dowler
Firmin

Aside from maker-marked examples, the (sand-cast) locally made badges are particularly enjoyable as I find they fall into two categories; firstly those that have been made using existing (professionally made) badges as a pattern. And secondly those that appear to have been completely hand-made by an artisan of sorts. The later I personally find is most interesting.

Cheerio,

Roy
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  #3  
Old 27-08-17, 03:37 PM
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Thanks Roy. Very interesting area to collect and a wonderful collection...I'm sure there will be many more to come

Cheers, Tim
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  #4  
Old 27-08-17, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for that Tim,

Nothing like a little Anorak project to keep one's mind occupied. I think I'm about half way through the badges that I have, so lots still to do.

I'm still very much looking for a silver example, so if folks could keep an eye out for me.

Cheerio,

Roy
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  #5  
Old 28-08-17, 02:10 PM
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Hi Roy
I must admit I've got myself confused over the small officer's gilt badge with pin that you show in your album and identify as a pagri. I had made an assumption that it was used in the officer's side cap and/or bush hat - but I've really no idea and I suppose it does have what some would describe as a pagri pin. Adding to my confusion, I've also seen them for sale in pairs as officer's collars (on pins!) - indeed I bought an identical pair myself some time ago because they were going cheap.

I really should buy Barry Renfrew's book, British Colonial Badges and have a look in there. Are you sure it is definitely a pagri badge?

(Oh and back to your growing collection, don't forget there are anodised and plastic RWAFF palm trees to add if you collect in these materials).
Cheers
Mark
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  #6  
Old 28-08-17, 04:29 PM
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for that mate. Re the 'pagri' pin, that's just me being generic I'm afraid, as you say it could indeed have been worn on other headdress.

As for it's size mark, this is not small but full size at 47mm in hight, so certainly a headdress badge. I know of the small (30mm and under) collars you speak of with pin fittings and yes these are indeed collars and this is not one of those.

I do have an A/A badge in my collection; number 009 and very pleased to have it too. I will be on the look out for other examples as I know there is at least one more to get. Re the plastic examples, yes I will grab one of these when I see one that I really like, so it's on my 'to-get' list. I have seen a few but not one that really speaks to me yet and as they are quite common, not a huge priority right now.

Cheerio,

Roy
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  #7  
Old 28-08-17, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubaiguy View Post
Hi Roy
I must admit I've got myself confused over the small officer's gilt badge with pin that you show in your album and identify as a pagri. I had made an assumption that it was used in the officer's side cap and/or bush hat - but I've really no idea and I suppose it does have what some would describe as a pagri pin. Adding to my confusion, I've also seen them for sale in pairs as officer's collars (on pins!) - indeed I bought an identical pair myself some time ago because they were going cheap.


Cheers
Mark
Hi Mark,

I thought I would throw up a couple of quick photos to better illustrate my comments.

As you can see the two top badge are headdress badges, one with the standard slider and the one with the pin you mentioned earlier, as you can see the latter is full size - both being around 47mm in hight.

Below are shown a selection of three collars; the first with lugs and the second with pin (which you mentioned) both of these are well below 30mm. Thrown in for fun, the third is a locally made example, at 32mm a little larger but still a collar (I have the pair).

Cheerio,

Roy
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File Type: jpg IMG_0001.jpg (37.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0002.jpg (23.8 KB, 16 views)
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  #8  
Old 28-08-17, 06:39 PM
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Hi Roy
Oh it's 47mm......! Cap it is then. As you've deduced the small gilt pair that were sold to me as collars are 30mm. I also have a collar sized cap badge on a mm'd Dowler slider that is 30mm. I've put it next to one of the 30mm gilt 'collars' with pin fitting for comparison sake.

Good luck in your search.
Cheers
Mark
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  #9  
Old 28-08-17, 06:43 PM
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Hi Mark,

Thank you for that. A very nice little badge there. These smaller cap badges I believe date from WWII when the smaller economy (plastic) badge was introduced.

In general it seems the smaller cap badges are a little over 30mm where as the collars are a little under (around 27mm).

That's just a general observation of course.

I haven't found a small slider'd version yet Mark, so quite envious.

Cheers,

Roy
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  #10  
Old 28-08-17, 06:47 PM
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Hi Roy
Our posts obviously crossed or you sent yours whilst I was still writing. I guess what I'm getting at is - as there is a 30mm cap badge (shown in the crossing post), coupled with the plastic badge also being roughly 30mm - then my imagination would lead me to think that the a 30mm gilt collar might also be acceptable worn in headdress such as side cap. Perrrrhaps!

Mark
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  #11  
Old 28-08-17, 06:49 PM
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We are still crossing- but thanks for your thoughts. I'm going to take it all in now.
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  #12  
Old 28-08-17, 08:38 PM
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Hi Roy,
I admire your collection of RWAFF badges. Good Luck with your project.
I have only two hat badges:
Bronze, slidered, with J R GAUNT LONDON (small letters, rainbow shaped mark)
Gilding metal, slidered, with J R GAUNT B'HAM (possibly a copy for collector's market)
Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Old 28-08-17, 08:47 PM
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Hi John,

Thank you for that my friend, very kind of you.

I believe you are correct re the Birmingham example, I have one also (#015 in my album) which I have included for reference. I understand it that these are 1970's, so too late for the RWAFF for them to have been worn.

Cheerio,

Roy
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Collecting:

Shropshire Badges & Buttons.
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Lee-Speed Rifles.

My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com

Last edited by Roy; 31-08-17 at 06:52 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-17, 10:01 PM
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Project Update..

My RWAFF project is coming along splendidly. I've loaded up twenty five badges now in the album with a few more yet to do.

I thought I would talk a little about some of the badges that really peek my interest and to be more specific, these are the locally made or 'artisan' examples.

I have attached a group photograph showing four of my favorites - the centre badge is for perspective as it is of formal manufacture (by Firmin).

The badges top left and right (No's 17 & 24 respectively) are especially interesting in their own right, as they are clearly very naive and simplistic in their construction. The top right (No 24) seemingly cast from an alloy. As most are brass, it's quite unusual for that.

The bottom left (No 16) example is a firm favorite, as the quality of details put into its construction is quite something - someone really took some time to make this a splendid badge.

Perhaps the most interesting to me is the one bottom right (No 25). Again and like the previous example, the quality is superb, with plenty of detail present. The palm leaves for examples are a real joy. But perhaps the most interesting aspect is found within the scroll, as the 'R' is squeezed in. After careful study I'm convinced this is a pre 1928 'WAFF' badge that was later updated with the addition of the letter R when the Force was granted the prefix of 'Royal'. All letters are also stamped into the brass as apposed to cast, another unusual feature. I will talk more about this in a later post when I have had time to compare it to some other badges.

One thing is for sure, these locally made or 'artisan' crafted badges never get boring.

Cheerio,

Roy
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File Type: jpg RWAFF group.jpg (44.1 KB, 28 views)
__________________
Collecting:

Shropshire Badges & Buttons.
British Militia Button.
Boer War Badges.
Lee-Speed Rifles.

My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com
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  #15  
Old 13-09-17, 09:22 AM
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Roy,

Very nice and I think you are correct about No. 25 (R)WAFF.

regards
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