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  #1  
Old 08-03-21, 09:42 AM
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Default Battle Veterans of Australia?

Hi all

This small badge surfaced some years back on eBay and drew my attention. I guessed that it was Australian by its construction (the two loops,pins and also the shield shape). Badge is numbered also.

With a bit of digging through the newspaper archives I found a mention of it in November, 1946. It would appear to be an attempt at a rival to the RSL (or create a sub group?) with the stipulation that: "Membership is restricted to those who have had battle service. Sponsors are veterans of both wars" (as quoted in Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga, 19 Nov, 1946).

Does this imply a criticism of the RSL accepting members who had not been on active service?

The association also seems to have had enough "clout" that they were part of a Parliamentary Committee on war pensions in June,1950.

Can anyone add more to this?
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  #2  
Old 10-03-21, 11:34 AM
Lancer 17 Lancer 17 is offline
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Hi dumdum

Ive never heard of such a badge in Aust, the first RSSILA (now RSL/Returned Services League) badges came out in 1919 and there were a few small short lived organisations but Ive never heard of a "battle" grouping. A photo might help.

I hope that this helps.

Regards

Phil.
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Old 10-03-21, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancer 17 View Post
Ive never heard of such a badge in Aust, the first RSSILA (now RSL/Returned Services League) badges came out in 1919 and there were a few small short lived organisations but Ive never heard of a "battle" grouping.
This appears to be post WW2 politics.

An article in the same newspaper starts with details about the Legion of Ex-Servicemen and concludes with a paragraph about Battle Veterans ;

Service Legion Not to Merge With R.S.L.

SYDNEY, Sunday: There was no possibility of the Legion of Ex-Servlcemen merging with the Returned Soldiers' League, said Mr. Ian Ferguson, editor of the Legion's official journal, 'Flak', last night.

The belief that one ex-service organisation would cater for the men of two wars was fallacious, he said.

Mr. Ferguson said the legion had a membership of 150,000. He believed the men of the First World War should have their own organisation.

'The Legion caters for ex-servicemen and women of World War II,' he said. 'Many of our members are 1914-18 veterans, but this is Incidental. It is also a reflection on the job the R.S.L. did for ex-servicemen between the two wars. 'More than 50 per cent of our members are eligible for League membership. Indeed, many are members.'


Battle Veterans

The Battle Veterans' Association will be formed at a meeting in Sydney on Monday night. . The sponsor, Mr. O. Speddlng, said the Association was not a breakaway from the R.S.L.



NB- The Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen and Women is an ex-service association. Formed in December 1944 from a number of existing organisations , and former members of the peacetime Australian regular and reserve forces.

So it appears that the "Battle Veterans" weren't happy with the RSL or the Legion of Ex-Servicemen and wanted only those who had actually been in battle !


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Old 11-03-21, 10:02 AM
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Hi

Thought that I had uploaded a photo but it would appear that my skills in this area are even more limited than I thought....

OK, hopefully we've got it this time! Thanks Mike for your input and you've found information that I'd not located so full marks to you!

There was always this feeling of those who had "been there" and those who hadn't.

Yes, the good old game of politics...a cousin of my Mum's (won the MM with the Engineers during WW1) would often dismiss any of this internecine stuff as "power politics".

Mind you, he tended to apply this to anything that he didn't approve of!

I was also told that he (Mum's cousin) used to live in a shed at the bottom of the garden of an old friend of his who had "served" during WW1.

This "serving" was in a home service camp kitchen but said gent was very happy to show pictures of himself in uniform and let the viewer think that he had seen active service...

Further reason for Wilf (cousin) to argue with his friend! Also this discussions were often fueled by cheap sherry and of a theological nature....
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Old 11-03-21, 12:54 PM
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The Politics Of Peace !

Found a couple more articles which give a bit more insight into the backgound and politics of this group.

"The move to launch the new organisation followed the announcement by the N.S.W. branch of the R.S.L. that there would be no change in the new rule to admit certain classes of non returned men to membership."

"The Battle Veterans' Association will be restricted to men who have actually been in battle. That will exclude many members of the league."

"Communists or Fascists could not become members of the newly-formed Battle Veterans' Association because of its constitution, which pledged swerving loyalty to the Throne."


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Old 11-03-21, 09:04 PM
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Hi Mike

Time for me to again state how much I for one value your information!

Ah ha, the old political angle! That could explain a lot as the spectre of what used to be called the "Red Fed" loomed large here too.

To what extent they saw the "communists and fascists" as tainted with this influence is a matter for speculation but I do recall my dear 95-year old Mum still talking about some of her lecturers at university as being somewhat politically "doubtful".

As an aside, have many of these badges survived? Logically they will be in Australia so can any member comment on this?
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Old 12-03-21, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dumdum View Post
As an aside, have many of these badges survived?
I wonder how many veterans joined this group , and whether they also retained their RSL membership ?

Their initial meeting , where 'officials' were appointed , was attended by about 60 people. It is also interesting that your badge has the 'date crown' for 1951 , was the badge designed so that RSL 'date crowns' could be used ?

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Old 12-03-21, 10:09 AM
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Hi Mike

Thanks for that. Yes, I did wonder if the use of the crown was sanctioned or not.

I have a couple of the large RSL badges one of which has the enameled date clasp "1919" and the other has a small AIF Battalion patch in the place of the date clasp.

I don't think that their use was widespread until the badge was "downsized" at a date that can be no doubt confirmed by one of our Australian members.

I first noticed that the Battle Veterans badge had the same shield shape as the standard RSL badge (both large and small) but that the two figures on that badge had been replaced by a sword. Now that REALLY is a weapon for battle!

The large badge makes quite a statement but is also very prone to damage. Some years back I was crossing the road near work when a young chap with an interesting fashion sense passed me by. He was wearing one of the large badges!

I wish I'd pursued him and offered him something for it...

Thanks again
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