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  #1  
Old 21-07-21, 01:21 PM
hindoostan hindoostan is offline
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Default Comrades of the Great War.

This is an early larger gilt version. Does any one know if you can identify the recipient from the official number stamped on the back?
Cheers
John
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  #2  
Old 21-07-21, 01:26 PM
peter monahan peter monahan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hindoostan View Post
Does any one know if you can identify the recipient from the official number stamped on the back?
Sadly, probably not. There doesn't seem to have been a central registry for the official War Service badges. I've just this week come across a Canadian who has the serial number of his scrawled across the top corner of his attestation paper - that is, the top page of his service file. But, after looking at 450-500 individual records of CEF members, this is the first time I've seen this.
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  #3  
Old 21-07-21, 04:22 PM
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I've got both sizes of the "Comrades" badge , I think the member numbers were probably recorded locally and that there was not a "central" list.

.
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  #4  
Old 22-07-21, 07:17 AM
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Hi Mike and others with an interest in the Comrades,

Yes, a bit like the BL, the association numbers have gone long ago.....

I bought an SWB and a Comrades badge some time back so I'm picking that it is his badge but maybe the seller just put them together. However, you do find stuff that has managed to stay together over the years.

For example an SWB with an assortment of badges, including an RE badge, turned out to be....someone in the RE!

The Comrades had a Certificate of Comradeship and this bears a number down one side that will, I would guess, be the badge number. I have one for Richard Grant but I think I'll give up on the search for him!

I've also posted a photo of a Comrades membership card (about the size of an old driver's licence) and that has name, branch and address but...it didn't come with a badge!
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  #5  
Old 23-07-21, 07:17 AM
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Default Comrades of the Great War badge and card

Hi

Here is a Comrades membership card and an associated badge that I've previously posted but might be of interest to those who've not seen one.

After my post about the impossibility of trying to locate "Richard Grant", I reckon I've got even less chance with "J.Smith"......
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  #6  
Old 23-07-21, 07:21 AM
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I see that there is a space for badge number but it has been left blank.

Nevertheless there is a number, top right! Badge number and membership number?

Also it cost 1/6d to stay financial...
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  #7  
Old 23-07-21, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
I see that there is a space for badge number but it has been left blank.

Nevertheless there is a number, top right! Badge number and membership number?

Also it cost 1/6d to stay financial...
Two points to note , the first subscription was paid in the 3rd quarter of 1921 and the number on the card is 860.

As the "Comrades" were formed in 1917 they must have issued issued thousands of badges by 1921 , so it is 'probable' that the number on the top of the card is a "branch" membership number , rather than a national one.

NB - From "The Politics of Influence" :
Quote:
The Comrades of the Great War was certainly larger . The leadership claimed upward of 680,000 in 1919
.
This number has been questioned but their membership was probably greater than 100,000 by 1919.

I wonder if branches submitted a list of new members to the regional/national organisation and were then given a set of numbers which were then stamped on badges ?

One point I can't find any details on is about the badge sizes , were both sizes available at the same time ? If not when was the smaller size introduced ?


EDIT - Found photos of certificates issued to members (with an area for number) , some have a single number (national ?) while a few have two numbers (branch/national ?).

Ideally what is needed to solve this enigma is a badge , membership card and certificate all for the same person !

.

.
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Last edited by mike_vee; 23-07-21 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Added info
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  #8  
Old 23-07-21, 11:19 AM
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Hi Mike

Agreed. It would be nice to find ALL the matching items and that would certainly help solve that issue.

I posted a photo of a large Comrades badge, number 255 I think. If we assume that there might have been a semi-numerical sequence, we could find lower numbers on the larger badges. If anyone is looking for a "project", please examine the numbers on their badges!

Relating to the size question, in the 1920s, many associations reduced the size of their badges and I wonder if this was for reasons of cost or, more possibly, fashion.

I can think of at least three local associations that "downsized" in the late 20's.
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  #9  
Old 23-07-21, 12:25 PM
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Here are three I have:

Large is not maker marked but numbered 33408

Small maker marked in relief J.R.GAUNT LONDON and numbered 173032

Small maker marked in relief J.R.GAUNT LONDON and numbered 88861

Tim
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  #10  
Old 23-07-21, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
I posted a photo of a large Comrades badge, number 255 I think. If we assume that there might have been a semi-numerical sequence, we could find lower numbers on the larger badges.

I can think of at least three local associations that "downsized" in the late 20's.
It is likely that the lowest number badges were given to the founders and members of the first branch , it is also 'probable' that the original badge numbers did match up to their membership number.

Quote:
The first club founded by the Comrades of the Great War was the Surrey county branch and was opened on Saturday, 8 December 1917, at Addlestone, near Weybridge.
When numerous other branches were formed they started issuing their own membership numbers and got 'badge numbers' from the National Headquarters in London.

They started off as a 'Post' , when they reached 100 members they became a 'Branch' . After that (I assume when a branch membership increased or other branchess formed in the same area ) they became a 'Division' .


PS. It took the BL until 1945/6 to finally decide to reduce the size of their membership badges.

.
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  #11  
Old 23-07-21, 01:45 PM
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A couple more for interest :

Associate Member - I assume a seperate numbering system.

Women's Section - Formed in 1918 , women received their own membership certificate with a number on it. Don't know if it was badge or membership number.

NB. There is also an Irish badge but as yet I don't have one.

.
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File Type: jpg Associate R.jpg (72.8 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Women's Section F.jpg (68.3 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Women's Section R.jpg (80.6 KB, 6 views)
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  #12  
Old 24-07-21, 04:32 AM
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Hi Mike

Interesting as always to see what you can dig up!

I've put together some of my Comrades badges for comment. I've attempted to keep them in the order I photographed them in regarding obverse and reverse. I think that this does all point to some type of numbering system based upon the function of the badge holder, branch, etc.

An example would be the Associate Member class or the Womens' Section. The Irish branch badges don't seem to exceed four digits and I've only seen one or two "Official" badges.

You see the large badge "255" but then there is the small badge numbered "325"!

The "1921" banner has had various reasons advanced for it, including indicating a financial member, or an attendee at one of the National conferences.

I'm inclined towards the latter explanation as the task of placing this on every badge would have been a nightmare , and their survival rate would be much higher.

For an organisation that had a fairly brief span, they seem to have left a wide range of material for us to muse over!
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  #13  
Old 24-07-21, 05:11 AM
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And I see that one of my Irish Comrades badges has five digits so bang goes that theory....
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  #14  
Old 24-07-21, 10:24 AM
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I'd forgotten what a great selection of badges you have.

Associate Member - Interesting that top scroll is part of the badge and not a seperate 'addition'.

Womans Auxiliary - Possibly similar to the British Legion in 1922.
Quote:
Subsequently, the word "Auxiliary" was then removed from the name to become The Women's Section.
1921 Banner/scroll - You've previously shown the 1920 one , so possibly simply a conference item . A 1921 example I've seen has had the 'attachment' soldered in place , so it's likely that due to the original 'hook on' fitting the date bar got seperated/lost from the badges and that is why so few exist today.

Official scroll - The example I've seen is a standard badge with the scroll 'brazed' onto it , this would indicate that these badges were specially modified rather than manufactured which could account for so few being seen.

Irish - A "post" was established in Carlow in 1918 (67 men) and there were also "posts" in Rathvilly, Tullow and Bagenalstown.
Quote:
Tonight we have a "Post" but when we have 100 members we will be enlarged to a Branch
.
How many veterans were there ? One article states :
Quote:
When the Irish Divisions raised for the war were demobilised, roughly 100,000 war veterans returned to Ireland
The highest number I've seen on an Irish badge is 28,781 which would represent approximately 1 in 3 of those who returned , which could be about right considering the political situation in Ireland at the time.


NB - All the large badges I have seen were made by Gaunt but while they also made the majority of smaller badges I have also seen examples by :

Thomas Fattorini & Sons Bradford

J.Taylor & Co. London

and mention of badges made by :

Batty & Sons Manchester

J.W Hood & Son Southampton

plus there are unmaked badges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
You see the large badge "255" but then there is the small badge numbered "325"!
I wonder if there was an 'administrative error' at branch level and a members ' "branch membership number" was stamped on the small badge rather than the national badge number ?

.
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  #15  
Old 24-07-21, 11:08 AM
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Most interesting thread, the Liverpool and West Lancashire branch had its own magazine.

P.
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