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  #1  
Old 06-11-17, 12:50 PM
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Default London Rgt. Battalion patches 1917 and '18

A theory as to how far London Regiment battalion patches changed from 1917 to the period after Jan/Feb 1918.

This theory is presumed from the evidence of photographs of the period rather than from the necessary Army Order or its equivalent. Hopefully I will be able to add such detail later. Many thanks to Forum members Jelly Terror, Orasot, Mark Holden and others like them, for their generosity in making their extensive collections and research available for all to view. It is their collections on which this is largely based. Any mistakes are, of course, my own. I apologise if this is already general knowledge for anyone. Try as I might though, I couldn't find this information anywhere, hence why I am posting.

I had originally thought that since brigades had been reduced from four to three battalions, in January 1918, and that since seniority had changed and many units had moved around, there must have been wholesale changes to insignia worn. However, I now think that the changes were as small as they could possibly be. This makes sense in terms of logistics and in trying to avoid confusion.

I believe that the only two battalions that 'completely' changed insignia were the 17th and 21st London Regiments (see illustrations). They changed brigades and so had to change patch. Staying with the 47th Division, other battalions did not change brigades. Technically, the order of seniority had changed as battalions left, and perhaps those remaining should have changed to a different suit, however, they did not do so.
Seniority was 'heart', 'diamond', 'club' and 'spade'. Taking the 1/15th Londons as an example, with their yellow spade they were the least senior of the 140th Brigade in 1917. However, when the 1/6th, 1/7th and 1/8th Bns. left for the 58th Division after January 1918, they found themselves at the top in terms of seniority, ahead of the 1/17th and 1/19th Bns. Perhaps they should therefore have adopted the heart vacated by the 1/6th Bn, but as stated, they did not. One sees in postcards, magazines and other types of drawing, that men became attached to their particular suit to a certain degree. For whatever reason, the 15th Londons kept their yellow spade. The 141st and 142nd brigades too, stayed as they were, minus the heart suit and the battalions that had worn it. In the 47th Division, the heart suit went out of use.

With regard the 56th Division, all appear to have stayed the same, except that those signs used by the 1/3rd, 1/12th and 1/9th Bns. went out of use- a yellow square, red square and green diamond respectively.

In the case of the 58th Division, all apparently stayed the same, except that signs used by the 2/1st, 2/5th and 2/11th Bns. also ceased to be used (in this case a vertical red rectangle, vertical blue rectangle and a green triangle respectively). The Second Line battalions, that now welcomed the small cadre of their own First Lines, retained their own battalion patches that had been used in the 58th Division before. It could be argued that since the new amalgamated battalions were now in some sense the First Line (or at least its equivalent), that they had therefore changed from their 47th or 56th Division patches to new ones. However, this would be incredibly pedantic to insist upon. The battalions present in the 58th Division retained patches previously worn. The 1/9th Bn had used a green diamond ; the 9th Bn now used a green rectangle. This rectangle had been the patch of the 2/9th Bn throughout 1917.

I hope this is of use. Any corrections or comments very welcome.

Chris
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Last edited by Drew; 22-04-18 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Clarity
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  #2  
Old 06-11-17, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
A theory as to how far London Regiment battalion patches changed from 1917 to the period after Jan/Feb 1918.

This theory is presumed from the evidence of photographs of the period rather than from the necessary Army Order or its equivalent. Hopefully I will be able to add such detail later. Many thanks to Forum members Jelly Terror and Orasot, and others like them, for their generosity in making their extensive collections and research available for all to view. It is their collections on which this is largely based. Any mistakes are, of course, my own. I apologise if this is already general knowledge for anyone. Try as I might though, I couldn't find this information anywhere, hence why I am posting.

I had originally thought that since brigades had been reduced from four to three battalions, in January 1918, and that since seniority had changed and many units had moved around, there must have been wholesale changes to insignia worn. However, I now think that the changes were as small as they could possibly be. This makes sense in terms of logistics and in trying to avoid confusion.

I believe that the only two battalions that 'completely' changed insignia were the 17th and 21st London Regiments (see illustrations). It can be seen that they completely changed brigades and that they would have had to change patch anyway. Staying with the 47th Division, other battalions did not change brigades. Technically, the order of seniority had changed as battalions left, and perhaps those remaining should have changed to a different suit, however, they did not do so. Seniority was 'heart', 'diamond', 'club' and 'spade'. Taking the 1/15th Londons as an example, with their yellow spade they were the least senior of the 140th Brigade in 1917. However, when the 1/6th, 1/7th and 1/8th Bns. left for the 58th Division after January 1918, they found themselves at the top in terms of seniority, ahead of the 1/17th and 1/19th Bns. Perhaps they should have therefore adopted the heart vacated by the 1/6th Bn, but as stated, they did not. One sees in postcards, magazines and other types of drawing, that men became attached to their particular suit to a certain degree. For whatever reason, the 15th Londons kept their yellow spade. The 141st and 142nd brigades too, stayed as they were, minus the heart suit and the battalions that had worn it. In the 47th Division, the heart suit went out of use.

With regard the 56th Division, all appear to have stayed the same, except that those signs used by the 1/3rd, 1/12th and 1/9th Bns. went out of use- a yellow square, red square and green diamond respectively.

In the case of the 58th Division, all apparently stayed the same, except that signs used by the 2/1st, 2/5th and 2/11th Bns. also ceased to be used (in this case a vertical red rectangle, vertical blue rectangle and a green triangle respectively). The Second Line battalions, that now welcomed the small cadre of their own First Lines, retained their own battalion patches that had been used in the 58th Division before. It could be argued that since the new amalgamated battalions were now in some sense the First Line (or at least its equivalent), that they had therefore changed from their 47th or 56th Division patches to new ones. However, this would be incredibly pedantic to insist upon. The battalions present in the 58th Division retained patches previously worn. The 1/9th Bn had used a green diamond ; the 9th Bn now used a green rectangle. This rectangle had been the patch of the 2/9th Bn throughout 1917.

I hope this is of use. Any corrections or comments very welcome.

Chris
Chris,

You really must be commended for your considerable efforts with this subject. To me at least, this area of insignia is a confusing web of knots, which you are steadily untangling with great aplomb. Not only am I huge fan of what you are doing but I am also very grateful to you for the selfless approach you have taken from day one, in willingly sharing it with the rest of us.

Keep up the great work.

JT
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Old 06-11-17, 09:27 PM
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Thanks very much, JT. Looking at it now, the 'answer' seems so simple- almost not worth posting about. However, in similarity to what you describe, I found it a very confusing mix at first and not at all clear.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 12-11-17, 02:57 PM
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I should say that in my illustration of the 2/6th London Regiment, I have depicted their battalion patch as a square. However, the IWM describes it as a dark blue diamond (black was originally written but has been crossed out).

I think this entry at the IWM must be wrong. In the first place, the 2/6th Bn patch that the IWM has does not look like a diamond. The angles are all 90° and the diagonals are all equal etc. I am sure that sounds pedantic, but then I believe that the Army could be so too. All the other diamond patches for the London Regiment that I have seen* are unmistakeable. It is possible that in France they may not have been so picky. I don't feel that this was the case though.

Furthermore, a diamond does not fit the pattern of patches used in the 58th Division. The order of seniority for the 173rd and 175th Brigade was 1) Vertical rectangle 2) square 3) triangle 4) horizontal rectangle. A diamond does not fit this scheme.

The envelopes these patches come with show the same handwriting of someone at GHQ. It is entirely conceivable that mistakes could have been made with such a volume of correspondence coming through. It is probably not connected, but I note that the 2/6th Liverpool Regiment had a dark green diamond as their distinguishing patch.

It would be good to try and get photographic evidence to back-up or disprove this claim.

Chris

Thanks again to Jelly Terror and Orasot for information from the IWM.

Edit: After double-checking, I found that there are in fact some 'square' diamonds present in the IWM collection. This perhaps invalidates my first point. However, I still think it highly likely to be a mistake due to reasons outlined in my paragraph about the 58th Division 'battalion patch scheme'.

*in photographs

Last edited by Drew; 02-12-17 at 12:58 AM.
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  #5  
Old 30-11-17, 03:57 AM
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7th Lond Regt
BEF 15/12/18

From S.F. Butler (?)


7th lon 1.jpg

7th lon 2.jpg

7th bn bef.jpg

IMG_9190.JPG

7th London Regiment wearing the former 2/7th Bn. patch now adopted by the amalgamated battalion. (Also wearing cloth shoulder title).

Last edited by Drew; 02-12-17 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 01-12-17, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
I should say that in my illustration of the 2/6th London Regiment, I have depicted their battalion patch as a square. However, the IWM describes it as a dark blue diamond (black was originally written but has been crossed out).

I think this entry at the IWM must be wrong. In the first place, the 2/6th Bn patch that the IWM has does not look like a diamond...

Furthermore, a diamond does not fit the pattern of patches used in the 58th Division. The order of seniority for the 173rd and 175th Brigade was 1) Vertical rectangle 2) square 3) triangle 4) horizontal rectangle. A diamond does not fit this scheme...

It would be good to try and get photographic evidence to back-up or disprove my claim.

Chris
Here is a photo of "Bugler Murrell". I think he must be of the 2/6 or 6th Bn. London Regiment. The cap badge looks to have a strung bugle in the centre and it does not look like there is any writing on the left or lower part of the maltese cross.

Until firmer evidence comes along*, I think this may go some way to proving that the 6th Bn did indeed wear a square rather than a diamond patch.

Murrell.jpg

IMG_9185.jpg

IMG_9186.jpg

IMG_9205.JPG


*For example, writing on the back of the postcard or a clear view of a shoulder title etc.

Edit: It can also be seen from the IWM collection that the 1/9th, 2/9th and the 2/11th patches do not fit the evidence in this photograph. In other words, the only remaining 'Maltese cross' wearing London Rgt battalions did not wear a patch of this shape.

Last edited by Drew; 22-04-18 at 12:32 AM.
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  #7  
Old 19-07-18, 02:56 PM
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A very useful and informative post, than you.
Talos
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Old 20-07-18, 03:18 AM
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Thanks, Talos, much appreciated.
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Old 20-07-18, 08:32 PM
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Great threat mate. Really enjoyed reading!

Cheers
Luke
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Old 21-07-18, 04:55 AM
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Thanks a lot mate, very good of you to comment.

There are a few threads and photographs that were crucial.
Jelly Terror’s Poplar and Stepney- cloth shoulder title ID

Photograph of 2nd Lt. Cyril Thomas Underhay MC also from JT’s collection.

Mark Holden’s photograph of the Middlesex VAD post #95 here

Not to mention all the other great posts and photos on here.

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 16-09-18, 03:18 PM
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My apologies everyone, but I made a mistake in my conclusions about the 140th Brigade, 47th Division. I noted that the 17th and 21st Battalions changed suit when they moved over from the 141st and 142nd Brigades, and I then contended that the 15th Battalion did not change suit and kept their yellow spade. After consulting the ‘1919 Questionnaire’ at the IWM, it seems that the 15th Bn. did, after all, change suit. The Questionnaire states that they used a yellow heart from Feb 1918 onwards.

This does not change what I have proposed for the other brigades of the 47th Division as photographs show that other battalions continued to wear the insignia they had used previously. It seems that as seniority had changed in the 140th Brigade only, this must have been the need for the change.
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Old 16-09-18, 03:21 PM
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It seems that I cannot now edit the first post, though I have done previously. I am not sure why.
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Old 16-09-18, 03:24 PM
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3B12EC0B-1829-48A7-B10A-023A36345EFC.jpeg

00F26A29-A691-4A48-8DC9-E5846131352A.jpeg

Source: IWM

This photo from the IWM shows an officer from the 1/18th Bn still wearing the green diamond patch in August 1918.

Last edited by Drew; 16-09-18 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 18-09-18, 02:10 PM
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47th Div.jpg

How I currently believe the 47th Divisional patch sheme should appear.
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Old 09-12-18, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Here is a photo of "Bugler Murrell". I think he must be of the 2/6 or 6th Bn. London Regiment. The cap badge looks to have a strung bugle in the centre and it does not look like there is any writing on the left or lower part of the maltese cross.

Until firmer evidence comes along*, I think this may go some way to proving that the 6th Bn did indeed wear a square rather than a diamond patch.


*For example, writing on the back of the postcard or a clear view of a shoulder title etc.

Edit: It can also be seen from the IWM collection that the 1/9th, 2/9th and the 2/11th patches do not fit the evidence in this photograph. In other words, the only remaining 'Maltese cross' wearing London Rgt battalions did not wear a patch of this shape.

The following close-ups are from a collection of photographs belonging to a Gilbert Buckingham. He was an LRB man who went to France with the 6th Battalion. It says "Sixth Lond." on the back of the photograph from which these are taken. The man to the right in the first photo has 4 wound stripes!

6th lon 1.jpg

6th lond 2.jpg

6th Lond 3.jpg

6th Lond 4.jpg
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