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  #31  
Old 20-06-19, 12:42 AM
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Hi Steve

You beat me to it but I think that your photos are SO much better than anything I could produce!

The RD marking is to be found on the ring that is soldered to the back of the crown but ONLY on early badges. My guess is that the "faffing around" to stamp each ring got a wee bit too much for them.

The early rings appear to be made of nickel silver whereas later ones are often brass.

Your Auckland RSA badge is C.M. PAGE and this is Charles Macintyre (?) Page a watchmaker and jeweller. From memory, he died around 1938 and was possibly a Mason.

The earlier maker was Reuben Watts but he appears to have stopped making the badges at some point and Page did a new die for the badge.

I've actually seen at least two versions of the Watts badge (the frond of the "ponga" tree covers the trunk).

It might interest anyone following this post that the Auckland RSA badge was originally fitted with a small piece of "swallow-tailed" red ribbon. I found a mention of this in a "Quick March" article on ARSA and also have found photos of men wearing this ribbon but had no idea of the colour until I read the piece!

My own example has therefore been "upgraded"!
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  #32  
Old 20-06-19, 02:38 AM
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Hi James

I wrote you a long reply and then it "went"!

I think that the numbers on the back of the ANZAC badge are actually association numbers (much as the ARSA badge has just a number that only the ARSA could have identified until some well-meaning member "binned" all their old records...)

I've found ads in the paper under the "Lost & Found" column (for RSA, SWBs and ANZAC Club badges) that usually (but not always) quote the number on the back of the badge.

The ANZAC Club badge is said to have inspired the RSA badge proper and I think that the ARSA badge owes something to the SWB in terms of wording, approximate size and style.

My one doubt is that, although the SWB wasn't issued to NZ servicemen until around Jan (?) 1917, British forces got theirs in 1916 (the year the ARSA was founded).

Nevertheless, mention of the SWB issue was made in the papers of the time with a description thereof (and maybe a drawing although I would have to check this).

Did someone see this badge and decide that it was a good idea?
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  #33  
Old 20-06-19, 05:05 PM
stevjp stevjp is offline
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many thanks for the superb info.
Out of that lot, 5 had a marking to the ring, but really only one of those was decipherable... the rest were either a flat area or just bumps... as you mentioned. Anyway attached.
I have a few with medal sets, so will go through those to see if there is a better strike.
All the best
James
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  #34  
Old 21-06-19, 02:18 AM
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Hi James

Yes, that's the marking. As I said, I think that there was a "what the heck?" moment and they gave up after a time. I also think that Bay was rather keen to mark his work (as can be seen from other examples). Oddly enough, I'd never noticed this number until someone told me about him registering his idea! This prompted me to have a closer look.

I'm fairly sure that National Archives will have this "improvement" listed under their Registered Designs holdings.

It's also clear that the designs were sequential as, with the RSA badge at RD 861 (1916) the "ring" has a number in the "1100/ 1011"(?) range which would make this around 1918. This being the date that the contract passed to Bay.

Reinforcement badges can also be "linked" to the creation of the relevant unit I think.

The RSA badge has many an untold story behind it, and one that comes readily to mind was a returned soldier who was taken to court by the RSA because he had cut the crown off his badge. His defence was that he had "fought for New Zealand and not for the King".

I can't recall all the details but I think in the end he told them what they could do with their badge!

In a similar vein, the watch house at Cook Street Police barracks held a small stock of "lost" RSA badges that were used to nab "sly groggers". Police constables were posing as ex-soldiers to obtain alcohol.

You will find an account of the case taken against the Police by the RSA to recover the badges and get an assurance that this would not be repeated in the future!
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  #35  
Old 21-06-19, 03:21 PM
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Superb stories and many thanks.
I came across this one today... my understanding was that the small version of the RSA badge was introduced in the late 20's/early 30's in an effort to reduce cost.
Is that correct, and when is the exact date?
This small size one says "RD861, M A K (for Mayer and Keane), Silver" to back.
Its to 6/4210 Pte Tasman James Bunton.
So the RD mark was used well beyond WW1 on RSA badges?
All the best
James
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  #36  
Old 22-06-19, 02:24 PM
stevjp stevjp is offline
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Guys,
finally found a readable RD stamping on a large RSA badge to 9/746 Trooper Frank Valentine Puttick and I think it actually says "RD 1010".

All the best
James
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  #37  
Old Today, 02:19 AM
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Hi James

Great! Yes, I'm sure that you are correct. I also realised that "1011" is the old alarm code for where I work!

Burglars, please ignore the above......

Now we just need someone to go to Archives and see what the relevant file says!
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  #38  
Old Today, 02:37 AM
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Hi James

Just saw your previous post on this smaller badge. I can help you out here. The small badge came in in 1927 as I have a letter to a ex-26/ man thanking him for his payment of 2 shillings and sevenpence and enclosing his "new" small badge.

M & K were not the first makers of this new badge. That honour goes to "H.T.P". I think that this (without checking) is a Harold Theodore Peat(e). His small badges are a fraction smaller than the M & K ones and "H.T.P." is on the back of the crown. They also have a curious little "spring pin" that I've not seen on many other badges. He did continue with the RD 861 marking too.

I think that the change in badge size was partly materials cost (but I don't think that the "subs" went down in price.....) and also fashion. I've noticed that a lot of association badges for organisations such as the RSL, South African War Vets, etc. changed their badge sizes.

Also the RSA was experiencing difficulty working out who was "financial" or not. The issue of a new smaller badge partially solved this problem.

A last point (that I found in an "N.Z. Truth" article of the period!) was that many RSA members didn't like displaying their service number on the front of the badge. If you were an ex-digger you could easily spot a Gallipoli man from a 1917 conscript....
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