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  #1  
Old 05-10-17, 02:18 AM
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Default Unknown British Legion badge?

Hi

Wonder if anyone would like to give a date/ period to this badge, please?

What intrigues me is the "1914" date so is this some type of "home front" badge or did "British Legion" have another meaning in 1914?

The badge is, as I've heard said, a "high cost item" as the Union Jack shield has been applied separately.

No number, no maker, a "half moon" clip but about the size and format of those "Athlete's Volunteer Force 1914"

Thoughts?

The other pic is of the standard large BL badge plus a bronze Auckland-made badge for the New Zealand branch (dating from around 1922). Note the crossed Union Jack and the NZ flags.
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File Type: jpg bl1914.jpg (54.4 KB, 147 views)
File Type: jpg blnz.jpg (31.2 KB, 55 views)
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  #2  
Old 05-10-17, 12:51 PM
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The British Legion was not formed till 15th May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-Servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War so it must have had another meaning.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-17, 01:21 AM
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I think that you are correct. Somewhere at the back of my mind is the idea that "British Legion" could have overtones of "King's German Legion" (of much older date I know).

We had the British Section, New Zealand Expeditionary Force so could this be a badge for some overseas enlistment?

You'll see that the soldier copies the stance of the "Gentleman in Khaki" of Kipling's verse but wears the "soft cap".

I guess that we can't know EVERYTHING but it would be nice!
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  #4  
Old 21-08-19, 12:51 PM
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Question More questions than answers

I recently acquired this badge (really like the subject matter) and thought of this thread.

If it is a ‘veterans’ badge then it must be post 15th May 1921 (when The British Legion was formed) but why wait at least 3 years and have a badge about WW1 that includes an organisation that didn’t even exist during the war?

One point that I can’t find an answer to is, who actually decided on the name “The British Legion” and why was that name chosen?

There was an earlier ‘British Legion’ also known as “Garibaldi Excursionists" (to avoid any problems of diplomatic appearance) , they were described in some newspaper articles at the time (British/American and New Zealand) as “roughs, principally from Glasgow and London who lacked discipline” but ‘The Illustrated London News’ points out that they were “often from middle-class or well-paid jobs, who left their country attracted by adventure and love of freedom, to fight for the liberty of a foreign country.”

British Legion (1860).

A paper I found gives an insight into the ‘volunteers.

British Red Shirts: A History of the Garibaldi Volunteers (1860)

They also had some influential support.

“John Whitehead Peard was a British soldier, renowned as 'Garibaldi's Englishman'. He was the second son of Vice-Admiral Shuldham Peard.”

“Lady PALMERSTON has subscribed to a Garibaldi Fund, and so has Mrs. GLADSTONE”

So, although their ‘military’ influence was very short lived, is it possible that this group continued as a socio-political party? In the early years of WW1 there were many groups (political/social/military) concerned with the welfare of soldiers/wounded/veterans, some fell by the wayside but others eventually joined forces and became “The British Legion”.

One further ‘enigma’, while looking for information about my badge I came across an item in the IWM, an “oral history” recording, unfortunately not available on-line but details described, of William Easton (a British private who served with 75th and 77th Field Ambulances Royal Army Medical Corps on Western Front, 1917-1918). It includes a reference to the British Legion……
…. in 1914!

IWM - EASTON, WILLIAM (ORAL HISTORY) click on ‘show more’ in Content description.
“posted to Aldershot for further training; story of British Legion visitor”

Could some faction of the original 1860 British Legion have survived and still been ‘active’ during WW1? As the title of this post states, there are more questions than answers. I’ll keep digging as the two badges in this thread don’t seem to fit the accepted British Legion narrative.
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File Type: jpg Stretcher Front.jpg (75.7 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg Stretcher Rear.jpg (51.4 KB, 9 views)
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  #5  
Old 21-08-19, 12:57 PM
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Post Interlude

Did a bit more digging about Private William ‘Bill’ Easton, found an article from the Daily Express (Aug 17 2013) ‘Meeting the enemy: Tales of extraordinary camaraderie between British and German soldiers’ with this interesting section.

“Stretcher-bearer Private Bill Easton of the 77th Field Ambulance went even further. When he was captured in 1918, he agreed to work with the German military medical teams near the front line to help the injured of both sides. His work was recognised to such an extent that he was made an acting sergeant in the German army and literally treated as an equal.”

He also appeared in 2 episodes (ep.2 + ep.5) of a television series from 2011, Lost Heroes of World War One.

“A last eyewitness account of the 1914-18 conflict, drawing on a unique archive of interviews to tell the story of those years in the words of the men and women who lived through them.”

I hadn’t seen this series when it was first shown but have now watched all 5 episodes, sadly all the veterans featured in the series are no longer with us.


“We Will Remember Them”

.
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File Type: jpg William 'Bill'Easton.jpg (32.5 KB, 25 views)
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  #6  
Old 21-08-19, 12:57 PM
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It seems unlikely that any veterans of the 1860s organization were around and active in 1914, but the term 'Legion' does seem to resonate for Imperials: the Arab Legion, the Legion of Frontiersmen and so on. Perhaps harking back to the Second Augusta and the other legions which battled Boudica?
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  #7  
Old 21-08-19, 01:12 PM
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My thinking was more along the lines of the organisation/ideology surviving rather than the actual veterans.

Edit : I used the term 'veterans' in my initial post to indicate veterans of WW1.
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Last edited by mike_vee; 21-08-19 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Added info
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  #8  
Old 22-08-19, 02:51 AM
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Hi Mike

Hope that this reply isn't too "random" but here goes....

I would think that your badge is WW1/ 1920s in style. There are a couple of clues in the "horse shoe fitting" and the possible size, which I can roughly gauge from the fitting. Big(ger) badge = older badge (sometimes!)

If I can return to the BL badge that I posted a picture of originally which is clearly dated "1914" unless this is some type of "tribute" to "earlier times".

My pretty much "rule of thumb" way to date badges has always been the more elaborate they are in their "construction" (2 or 3 piece, for example) the earlier they are.

OK, not much of a method and there can be no hard and fast rules as we should all know.....

Could your badge be a 1920s Ambulance Corps that fulfilled some Civil Defence function? The iconography has a clear WW1 theme with the soft cap, etc.

A nice find too!
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  #9  
Old 22-08-19, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
If I can return to the BL badge that I posted a picture of originally which is clearly dated "1914" unless this is some type of "tribute" to "earlier times".

Could your badge be a 1920s Ambulance Corps that fulfilled some Civil Defence function?
I considered the "tribute" aspect , the size and style of my badge is similar to that of the "Officers and Men" one , but still found the "British Legion" aspect intriguing.

Haven't found anything that suggests that the British Legion was involved in post war Civil Defence/Ambulance duties.

Am still trying to find out details of why the "British Legion" title was chosen for the organisation .

While it is unlikely that any of the original "British Legion"(1860) or their 'supporters' were still alive their immediate descendants would have been. Were any of them involved in the choice of name or was it simply appropriated for the new organisation ?

One point that is really puzzling me is the mention of a "British Legion visitor" in the IWM 'oral history' recording. The veteran is specifically talking about his experience/memories of the 1914-1918 period , so it seems strange that he would mention an organisation that wasn't formed until 3 years after the war ?

Will try to find out if there is a way to listen to the original recording as this may clarify the matter.
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  #10  
Old 23-08-19, 12:50 AM
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Hi Mike

I can't guarantee an answer, but there is a book written in about 1963 called "The Politics of Influence". Can't recall the author but it has a lot of detail about the pre-BL associations as well as the BL itself.

Through reading it I discovered that the Comrades of the Great War (badges still available at your local car boot sale....) was actually viewed as somewhat elitist!
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Old 23-08-19, 09:23 AM
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The book was written by Graham Wootton , I've got a copy but haven't really gotten onto it yet.

There is an article covering the basic backgound of some of the various groups/associations available online.

1914-1918 online "Veterans' Associations (Great Britain and Ireland)"

The more I read about the four 'founding organisations' , their different political/social/ideological backgrounds , I wonder how the decision was made to use the name of a group of "roughs" who had previously "acquired a name for disorder".


Sorry , I have drifted from the original topic of the badges , maybe we will never discover their history.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:25 AM
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Default Volunteer Training Corps

Apologies; late to the thread...

This is a VTC (or pre-VTC, to be precise) badge for WW1 home front volunteers. It appears in Ernest Martin's article in the Society for Army Historical Research, where he states it is "a similar, but much smaller, organisation to the Athletes."

Whereas the Athletes VF had affiliated corps in many cities, many with their own badges, I have not come across any for the British Legion (although there was a Manchester legion of Volunteers).

Rather like the National Volunteer Reserve, there is precious little documentation surrounding the British Legion. I suspect they were both initially eclipsed by the AVF before being swept up into the VTC.

Best regards,

Tim
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  #13  
Old 12-09-19, 11:50 AM
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Thanks for your input (and great albums) , do you have a copy of the article ?

The 'British Legion' connection has proved difficult (impossible !) to find , any searches I've done always lead to the formation in 1921.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-19, 07:25 PM
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The following attachments may be of some interest. They were written by me for the purpose of a talk on Remembrance some time back.
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File Type: jpg Remembrance 1.jpg (111.3 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg Remembrance 2.jpg (107.1 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Remembrance 3.jpg (106.1 KB, 18 views)
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  #15  
Old 13-09-19, 01:01 PM
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Appreciate your input , hadn't realised the South African connections.
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