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Old 04-10-22, 12:48 AM
nbroadarrowz nbroadarrowz is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 347
Default Returned Soldier’s Badges of WW1

Returned Soldier’s Badges of WW1
By Barry O'Sullivan

ANZAC Club Badge
The Dunedin ANZAC Club was opened in October 1915 at the former home of Doctor Thomas Hocken, which was located in Moray Place, central Dunedin. The ANZAC club differed from other returned soldier’s clubs in that its members were those who have been honourably discharged from Trentham, South African war veterans and wounded returned soldiers from the current war.
The Dunedin ANZAC club badge is made from silver and consists of the letters ANZAC in a rectangular bar which is surmounted by a crown. Below the rectangular is a downward facing arch containing the word CLUB. The badge measures 29x20mm. The rear of the badge is marked STL (sterling) and the membership number. The badge is secured by a broach pin. The Dunedin ANZAC club and its membership badge should not be confused with the Wairarapa ANZAC club in Featherston which opened on 16th October 1916 or the Manawatu ANZAC Club in Palmerston North which opened on 8th December 1917. After the NZRSA was formed in 1916 the members of the Dunedin ANZAC Club opted to disband and join the RSA. The ANZAC Club badge was deregistered so that the NZRSA badge would not infringe on the rights of the ANZAC Club badge.

Auckland Returned Soldiers’ Association Badge
The A.R.S.A. was formed on the 29th of January 1916 after a meeting of returned soldiers at the Auckland Soldiers’ Club. The ARSA considered that the Government issued returned soldiers’ arm badge was unsuitable, and so, decided to issue a badge of their own. The badge was available from early April 1916. The badge was round, about the size of a florin depicting Rangitoto Island, a kiwi and a nikau palm on the front with the letters ANZAC squeezed in at the base. Around the outside is a band containing the words FOR KING AND COUNTRY at the top and A.R.S.A. at the bottom (with a star on each end). On the left is the letter N and, on the right, is the letter Z. Originally the badge was issued attached to a piece of red silk, presumably to represent the red of the Government issued honourably discharged red fabric arm badge.
Three versions of the badge were produced, all were convex in shape with the same design features to the front and a broach clip to the rear. The gold badge had an engraved front. Two silver badges were produced by two different makers, Watts and CM Page, both of Auckland. The front design of these badges is slightly different. The CM Page made badge is die struck, 30mm diameter and stamped St. SIL, while the Watts badge has a diameter of 29 mm and is stamped STERLING. The badges were individually numbered.
On the 13th of December 1916 a meeting was held of the ARSA. The purpose of the meeting was to change the rules of the ARSA, as the ARSA was now an affiliate of the NZRSA. One major difference between the two bodies was that the NZRSA only accepted discharged men as members while the ARSA accepted all servicemen. To overcome this the ARSA introduced an honorary membership. At the meeting it was also decided to adopt the NZRSA badge, and the ARSA members could exchange their circular badge for the NZRSA designed badge. The process of exchanging badges would have taken time as on the 3rd of February 1917 a newspaper advertisement announced that the ARSA badge could now be exchanged for the NZRSA badge.

New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association Badge
The first RSA was established in Christchurch at a meeting on 17th December 1915 when it was decided to form a Returned Soldiers’ Association. The R.S.A. would be open to all returned men of good character and a further meeting was planned to adopt a constitution and elect officers etc. A national RSA was formed at a meeting of delegates from thought-out New Zealand which was held in Wellington on 28th April 1916. Captain Simson was the force behind the formation of the Wellington RSA, the NZRSA and the badge design. The first badge he designed for the RSA was not accepted as it was too similar to the National Reserve badge already in use. The badge was to be circular, the size of a half a crown and was to include the name of the members military district and his regimental number. The second design for an NZRSA badge was based on the design of the Dunedin ANZAC Club badge. In the centre was crown with a wreath of fern on each side. At the bottom was to be the soldier’s regimental number and his branch of service. June 1916 saw the adoption and issue of the final design of NZRSA badge. Still similar to the Dunedin ANZAC Club badge this new design replaced the ANZAC Club words for RETURNED SOLDIERS ASSOCIATION.
The NZRSA badge was made from silver and is 43x27 mm. The badge has the words RETURNED SOLDIERS in a rectangular bar across the middle with the word ASSOCIATION in smaller letters in an arch below. Surmounted on the rectangular bar is a crown with the letters N and Z on either side. The clear field between the rectangular and the arch was where the regimental number was engraved. The badge has a registered design number of 861 and is marked RGD on the left and 861 on the right of the arch ends. The badge is secured by a broach clip and a chained safety pin for added security. The badges were the property of the NZRSA and not the member or the local association. In April 1919 the badge was officially protected under clause 4 of the Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act of 1918.
In October 1927 the NZRSA introduced a small size membership badge to replace the original large size badge. The feeling of the RSA was that the old badge was too large and that as the members service number was engraved on the front that this could create division within the membership. (i.e., early bar numbers verse later straight-line numbers). The NZRSA wanted a club where all were equal.
The miniature NZRSA badge was 21x24mm, made of silver and had a registered design number of 851. There was a broach pin to the rear. The initial batch of badges were made by H.T. Peat. The rear of the badge was polished so that the members service number could be engraved, and the rear of the crown was marked RD851, H.T.P. and STG SIL.
At a meeting of the NZRSA Dominion Executive in March 1940, it was decided to buy crown date attachments that could be attached over the crown of the badge to identify financial members. The crown date attachment was to be a different colour for each financial year. The first colour was red and was for the year ending 31st March 1941. The attachment for the 1942 year was blue. This scheme was copied from the Australian Returned Services League.
The name of the Returned Soldiers’ Association was changed to Returned Services’ Association by a vote in favour of the name change at the NZRSA council meeting on 30th October 1941. This name change would mean the production of new badges with the new title.

Taranaki Returned Badge
As in other areas of New Zealand returned soldiers in Taranaki wanted a badge more becoming of their status as returned men, than the Government issued red arm badge. A meeting of returned soldiers was held on 27th April 1916 where complaints were heard, and comparisons made with the badges being issued in Auckland and Wellington. A committee was formed to look into the production of a local badge and designs were asked for. A
meeting of the New Plymouth Patriotic Committee was held on the 2nd of May 1915, and it was submitted that the Taranaki War Relief Association be asked to supply and issue a local Taranaki Returned Soldiers badge. The Taranaki War Relief Association declined the proposal stating that it was not in their interests to spend money on a badge, so the New Plymouth Patriotic Committee undertook to get the badges made and issued. The main person behind the promotion of a Taranaki returned badge was Captain Hartnell and finally, a badge was ready and the first order of badges for returned Taranaki soldiers was delivered to the secretary of the New Plymouth Patriotic Committee in mid-November 1916.
The Taranaki returned soldiers badge was made by Watts of Auckland and is designed in the shape of a shield. The badge is convex, 38x33mm, made of silver and has a broach clip to the rear. The design on the front shows Mt. Taranaki surrounded by a laurel wreath joined at the bottom by a ribbon. Two crossed rifles with slings and four stars which depict the Southern Cross are also shown. There is a scroll on either side of the badge that form the shoulders of the shield. The word RETURNED is arched above Mt. Taranaki. The lower two thirds of the shield have a pebbled surface, while the top third is smooth. The rear of the badge is marked STERLING, WATTS and AUCK. The badges were individually numbered.

Honourably Discharged Badge
Ever since the first returned men arrived home in July 1915 there had been calls for a way to distinguish between men who had served and returned and men who had not. The Government response was to issue a series of arm badges to identify the different classes of men who fell into the age range of possible service or exemption from military service. The National Recruiting Board authorised, at their meeting on 10th February 1916, the use of four distinctive coloured arm badges. This decision was made official on the 11th of February 1916 by the issuing of an Order-of-Council under the War Regulation act of 1914. A red arm badge with a yellow crown was used to distinguish the returned men who had been honourably discharged, most of whom had suffered a wound. These red arm badges were worn on the sleeve but were generally disliked as being too cheap and not very dignified. To over- come this some men brought small brass crowns with a red base which were sewn to the sleeve. While metal lapel badges issued by returned soldiers clubs were a lot more to the liking of returned men and were gaining in popularity, the Government issued red arm badge was the only official indication of an honourably discharged returned man until the issue in New Zealand of the Silver War Badge in March 1918.
The arm badges were issued by the Base Records office and were accompanied by an authority to wear card which had to be carried at all times. The badges are made from a drill fabric dyed red and screen printed with a yellow crown and the letters G. and R. on either side. Badges can be found that have been over stitched in yellow thread to enhance the crown and letters. The badges are 185x65mm and nicely finished with a hem top and bottom. On the inside is the Government ownership stamp of N^Z DEFENCE inside an oval.

Silver War Badge
Officially introduced in Great Britain on the 12 of September 1916 by Army Order number 316 of 1st October 1916. The badge was issued to “British, Indian, and overseas forces who have served at home or abroad since August 4, 1914, and who on account of age or physical infirmity arising from wounds or sickness caused by military service have, in the case of officers, retired or relinquished their commissions, or, in the case of men, have been discharged from the army”. This initial order was superseded by Army orders 50 and 265 of 1917 and an order issued on 14th September 1918, which detailed who was entitled to the Silver War Badge. The badge was designed to be worn on civilian clothing and was issued with an ‘Authority to Wear’ card which had to be carried at all times.
In New Zealand the Silver War Badge was issued from 1st March 1918 and a special General Order was issued from Defence Headquarters detailing the badge design, how to wear the badge, who was eligible and how to apply. As well as discharged soldiers, those eligible included the N.Z.A.N.S and discharged Home Service personal who had served in New Zealand for at least 6 months. Others could apply but it was up to the discretion of the Commandant. General Order 143 of 1918 stated “The badge will be worn with plain clothes only, on the right breast, or on the right lapel of the jacket”. Officers and men had to apply to the Director of Base Records, Wellington for the badge if they had been discharged before the 28th of February 1918, those who were discharged after this date had their badges sent out automatically.
The Silver War Badge was round, 33mm in diameter and was slightly convex in shape. The centre of the badge is void and bears the Imperial cipher of GRI surmounted by a crown. Around the outside is a circle containing the words FOR KING AND EMPIRE in the top half and SERVICES RENDERED in the lower half. The two phrases are separated by a small cross on either side. The rear of the badge was not marked with a silver mark but were stamped with the badge number which was recorded in a register against the soldiers’ name and service number. In New Zealand the numbers had a NZ prefix. The badge is secured by a broach clip which was initially horizontal, later production badges had a more secure vertical broach clip.
A register of names with corresponding service numbers and S.W.B. numbers was kept. To my knowledge this register has been missing and unavailable to the general public. The register is of significant and national important as large numbers of S.W.B. in private and public collections are not attributed to their original recipient. This is because the S.W.B. was worn on civilian clothing and as such were separated from any of the service details pertaining to the individual.
Two files at Archives NZ contain between 700 to 800 pages. Due to the title and size of the files it is most likely that a register is contained within these files.
Discharges, Personnel Lists – King’s Silver War Badge
R10701370 AAYS 8694 AD78 3/12/17A
Discharges, Personnel Lists – King’s Silver War Badge
R10701371 AAYS 8694 AD78 4/12/17

If anyone has any more information regarding the badges detailed above or any other New Zealand returned soldiers badges from the WW1 period, then I would be happy to hear from you.

Not all the badges below are mine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ANAZC Club rear.jpg (42.0 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg ANZAC Club front.jpg (55.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Honourably discharged.jpg (43.6 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Large RSA front.jpg (55.9 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Large RSA rear.jpg (50.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Page front.jpg (103.6 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg Page rear.jpg (101.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Silver War Badge front.jpg (82.8 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Silver War Badge rear.jpg (63.1 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Taranaki returned rear.jpg (72.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Taranaki returned, front.jpg (117.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Watts front.jpg (100.0 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Watts rear.jpg (100.7 KB, 4 views)
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Old 06-10-22, 08:19 PM
KapitiDave KapitiDave is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 21

That’s great information thank Barry. My Auckland RSA badges are photographed here best I can. Interestingly the Watts one has another tab but hard to read… Possibly Young?
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Old 06-10-22, 09:15 PM
Home Guard's Avatar
Home Guard Home Guard is offline
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Tennessee
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Great thread and great info! Thanks for sharing it,

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Old 07-10-22, 01:41 AM
NZEF NZEF is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 55

Here's a couple of local NZRSA club badges, Grey Lynn and Napier branches.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20221007_143637.jpg (39.2 KB, 10 views)
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Old 07-10-22, 02:29 AM
australia's Avatar
australia australia is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 90

Excellent info thanks for posting !
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Old 07-10-22, 08:59 AM
nbroadarrowz nbroadarrowz is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 347

I am glad the post is beneficial.
The references to all my articles don't transfer when I cut and post but are available to anyone interested on request, please PM me.
NZEF - I would put your badge and button in the fund-raising category of those RSAs. The round badge as we call it today, was referred to as a button back then.
Kapitdave - the unreadable word on your Watts badge will be sterling
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