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  #16  
Old 15-07-18, 08:39 PM
Hoot Hoot is offline
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Very useful information and very much appreciated.
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  #17  
Old 17-07-18, 07:48 AM
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Sonofacqms Sonofacqms is offline
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Default Corps of Guides

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Originally Posted by green_anorak View Post
Prior to the beginning of World War One, fear of invasion once again plagued the British psyche. In anticipation of war or possible invasion, some of the county Territorial Army associations began their own preparations by forming specific units. A War Office memorandum, retained in the Public Records Office and dated 4th October 1912, contains direction to the Secretary of the Territorial Force Association of Surrey. The memo states that the Army Council had decided to allow County Associations to raise ‘Corps of Guides’ as part of the Technical Reserve with the intention of such persons being able to be employed in war with troops operating in the neighbourhood. In addition to laying down the organisation of the Guides units, the War Office letter (PRO reference WO 32/4744) also states that Guides need not possess military training or bear arms unless they are actually serving in the armed forces of the Crown. It was also directed that the Guides also need not wear uniform unless they are so serving. The letter goes on to state that ‘any distinguishing badge required by the Hague Convention would be supplied from public store’. It seems that (at least in the case of the Surrey Guides), this requirement not to wear uniform may have been ignored. In fact, (according to an article in Navy & Army Illustrated, Vol III, No. 33 dated 3 April 1915) the Surrey Guides had already formed up by that time. The article states that the unit came into existence in 1900, but most observers assess that it had probably only been operating since 1910. They had been founded as a volunteer force by Colonel Sir Frank Dormay Watney with the help of John St. La Strachey, the editor of ‘The Spectator’. They enrolled country dwellers, farmers and gamekeepers to act as guides for troops across country, by day and by night, and carried out their first field exercise in October 1912 when 35 mounted men took part at Ewhurst. There is uncertainty about headgear which may at first have been a peaked cap with red band or ‘a soft green hat with a badge of jay’s feathers’, but there is no doubt about the final version of the uniform: a military-style uniform of green serge with riding breeches and a badge for cap or lapel depicting Mercury (winged messenger of the Gods) on a globe. The badge worn in the cap was in fact a version of that later worn by some recruits to the Royal Signals whilst in training. It is likely that this emblem was adopted (for want of anything more appropriate) by the Corps of Guides. I have examples of the Essex, Suffolk, Ayrshire and Northumberland Corps of Guides lapel badges.
A superb description of the Corps of Guides, this unit of course would have been needed due to the fact that all sign posts would have been removed as with other distinguishing markings if Britain had been invaded.

The members would have had to guide a body of troops across their county to hopefully be met by a guide from the neighbouring county.

I have a Cambridgeshire Corps of Guides badge numbered 48 and a Suffolk Corps of Guides badge numbered 190.

Rob
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