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Hawthorn 19-06-22 12:52 PM

Kent Volunteer Fencibles - E.K.V.R.
3 Attachment(s)
Hopefully some of you may find this an interesting photographic postcard showing a Volunteer Kent Unit.

Having studied the cap badges I believe them to be for the Kent Volunteer Fencibles however the reverse of the card details the Unit as B Company, No 1 Platoon, E.K.V.R. (East Kent Volunteer Reserve?)

Although its difficult to fully make it out the bass drum bears the Horse of Kent within a circlet with 'M.K.B.' on it, any suggestions welcome re identification and deciphering the other details?

The two Officers and the Warrant Officer wear different cap badges which I have not yet positively identified.

The clothing of the young boys seated at the front is also quite interesting in that one wears a full uniform matching that of the adults, the lad second from the right wears a very small Kent Horse style cap badge and the boy second from the left wears an unidentified lapel badge.

The light machine gun at the front is I believe a Hotchkiss M1909 model.

An interesting image and would welcome any observations .

Regards, Simon.

Hawthorn 19-06-22 12:56 PM

Unsure why the last image is in portrait and not landscape, apologies.


Jelly Terror 19-06-22 02:12 PM

Love the inscription: ‘I have just spotted an aeroplane.



Jelly Terror 19-06-22 03:01 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Great photo, Simon.

A couple of the chaps are wearing Sgt. chevrons. To the best of my knowledge, this was not permitted within the VTC:

'The accepted military ranks and titles will not be used or recognised, and no uniform is to be worn except where necessary for training.' *

Attachment 269396

As we know, the VTC had their own cuff lace rank system too:

Attachment 269395

Also, the drum appears to say '8th' (possibly), before the MKB, and 'Coy' after it. Just an added observation:

Attachment 269398

The buttons appear to be black 'rifles' buttons, but could equally be the so-called 'football' buttons often seen worn on the VTC uniform.

Attachment 269399

Thanks for sharing.


* Source: 'Uniforms of the Volunteers 1914-19', The Journal of the Society for Army Historical research, Autumn 1938, Vol.17, No.67, pp. 163-170.

Alan O 19-06-22 03:04 PM

I don't recognise the LMG but that would make it WW1 era: East Kent Volunteer Regiment is a contender for EKVR rather than Reserves.

Alan O 19-06-22 03:05 PM

There you go. The LMG is French so I would suggest the photo must be 1915-16.

Hawthorn 19-06-22 03:52 PM

JT and Alan,

Many thanks for your observations, very interesting. 8th M.K.B. Company throws up nothing obvious with a Web search or within my limited reference Library however a good starting point for future research.

I do enjoy these group photographs and the research potential they provide.


Alan O 19-06-22 04:14 PM


I don't think that there is any doubt they are VTC from the details in the photo. The VTCs are not well recorded because they were semi-official at best and being self-funded volunteers had a lot of variance in their dress. The French MG is an oddity and you do wonder where they got it from.


Hawthorn 19-06-22 04:19 PM


I agree, wonder where they obtained such a weapon and obviously proud to show off their Unit's new found firepower with it displayed front and centre of the group.


Jelly Terror 19-06-22 04:26 PM

Just wondering if it could be late-1916 around the transitional period from VTC to VF?

At that time the War Office announced that officers and other ranks were now to wear the same badges of rank as those worn by the Regular Army, though all ranks were to wear the Royal Arms as their cap badge.

It’s an interesting subject.


Alan O 19-06-22 04:39 PM

Quite possibly. I have read a thesis on the VTC in the library at JSCSC at Shrivenham. It was superbly researched and recorded the problem of uniforms being changed over in 1916 without adequate funding. The VTC bought their own (not khaki as they were forbidden to wear it as VTC) in 1915 and some resorted to dying their uniforms when they moved to VB status. The officers are in khaki which suggest you are exactly right in your date.

Alan O 19-06-22 04:45 PM

Late 1916 or later would also explain the Army ranks being worn.

Rob Miller 19-06-22 05:21 PM

I believe we had some .303 Hotchkiss machine guns pretty early in WW1, I think I remember they were intended for Cavalry use but were then issued to Army Cyclists and fitted in some tanks?


mike_vee 19-06-22 05:29 PM


Originally Posted by Rob Miller (Post 581832)
I believe we had some .303 Hotchkiss machine guns pretty early in WW1, I think I remember they were intended for Cavalry use but were then issued to Army Cyclists and fitted in some tanks?


First produced in France in 1914 then :


The following year, the British government invited Hotchkiss to set up a factory in Coventry. By the end of the war, this factory had manufactured over 40,000 M1909s.


magpie 19-06-22 06:49 PM

40,000 produced in Coventry and I'm sure these are also used in the early takns along with Lewis guns

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