The Old and the Bold

The Old and the Bold


Cap Badges

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Cap Badges continued....

The ‘general’ pattern of badge considered to be that of the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen) and which appears being worn in the vast majority of existing photographs is that shown on this page.  However, even with this pattern there are a number of variants which I will attempt to place in an order which, to me at least, makes sense.  I won’t however make any claim that the order is definitive, it is purely my interpretation of available evidence.

Kipling & King ref.1143

The first of the images shown (Fig.1) is of a badge where the tri-part scroll, with ‘Royal Frontiersmen Fusiliers’ in an unusual and non-standard font style, connects to the ball of the grenade by a ‘stalk’ while the second image (Fig.2), showing a badge of apparently similar font style, has the scroll connecting to the ball of the grenade in two places and with the ends reaching the flames of the grenade.

It is my belief that these two badges should probably be considered as being the earliest versions of the 25th Royal Fusiliers’ badge and that they were possibly privately produced for some, not all, members of the original battalion.  Based on the photographic evidence I have I’ll also venture that the badge with the ‘stalk’ connecting piece between the scroll and grenade (Fig.1) is possibly an officer’s version as shown in the photograph of Second Lieutenant Wilbur Dartnell whilst the second style (Fig.2) is for ‘other ranks’.

Fig.2

Image courtesy of Neil Pearce

Fig.1

Image courtesy of Neil Pearce

Second Lieutenant Wilbur Dartnell

Image “The Stage Year Book 1916”

Pre-Embarkation Group Photograph Showing Cap Badge Types Fig.3 (left) and Fig.2 (right)

Image Author’s Collection

There then appears to have been produced a third ‘standard’ die-struck cap badge (Fig.3), again with the scroll connecting to the ball of the grenade in two places and with the ends reaching the flames of the grenade but with ‘Royal Frontiersmen Fusiliers’ in what could best be described as a standard cap badge font.  A couple of pre-embarkation photographs in my possession appear to show ‘other ranks’ wearing the two different style badges (Fig.2 and Fig.3) which means that within the space of two months, before the battalion left for overseas, three different cap badges were produced for the battalion.  Although both versions of badge are in evidence in the pre-embarkation photographs it is the third version that would appear to be the badge being worn by the greater number of men.

Once overseas, in theatre in East Africa but also in South Africa, the battalion’s cap badge became quite sort after by the local population and many were given away or exchanged.  As a consequence a number (Fig.4) had to be cast locally and, because of the different process used, were not of the same quality as those previously produced in Britain.  The cap badges shown in Fig.3 and Fig.4 have good provenance and can be attributed to Henry George Cotton (#13735) and William Holdsworth Townsend (#13717) respectively, both men proceeding overseas with the original battalion strength.

Fig.3

Image Author’s Collection

Fig.4

Image Courtesy of Chris Balm

Image Author’s Collection

Captain William Richards

Image Courtesy of Claire Avery