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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

British General Service Badge (Army)

Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Can anybody tell me when (date, or at least year) the British Army first issued a general service badge ........... + a picture / illustration ?

thanks - Tom

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Good question - one also has to ask who wore them. Of course its clear for WW2, where the GS Corps existed to hold men in training. Maybe officers of the 'General List' before assignment. Certainly illustrated as such in Kipling & King. As for earlier, well I'm sure others will add info.


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I did read somewhere that they were worn at one time by the WW1 type Home Guard, National Volunteers. I am also fairly sure that it was also worn by the Labour Corps men before they had their won Badge. I think Ivor Lee once told me that, i will check over my notes and see.



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Other ranks 'Royal Arms' cap badge - in bronze for officers. More commonly known as a General Service badge.

Worn by;-

Officers on the General List in bronze with matching collar badges.

Officers and other ranks of the Volunteer Force 1916-1918. Officers also wore small 'V's below their collar badges.

Other ranks of the Labour Corps before the introduction of the Labour Corps badge. Not 100% about officers??

As far as I'm aware the 'General Service Corps' was a WWII formation, but it operated on the same lines as the General List of WWI in that officers who had no regimental preference were pooled and then posted where required.

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The badge has been worn by a variety of appointments since Victorian times, including inspectors and Governors of Military Prisons. The General List first appeared in the Army List in October 1914. The title then being General List, Infantry, for Service Battalions, it included the names of 'Officers who have been gazetted to the Gemeral List for service with Service battalions, ut whose alocation is not included in this issue'. To this was added, in February 1915, the names of officers 'who are holding other appointments'.

Note the word appointments.

Don't confuse it with Extra-Regimentally employed which is a different badge.


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That's all very helpful chaps - thanks :)

Now - next question is - the badge below - is this a GS badge or something else ? (original photo is 99.9% certain WW1, with no other distinguishing marks etc).



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Peter - sorry, but as far as the cap part of the photo goes - that's as good as it gets.

When I first saw this photo my first snap-thought was Manchester Reg't, but clearly that isnt the case - the GS badge is a much better resemblance, though I think that this one may have been bent into a curve - maybe some sort of "fashion statement" !

If anybody has any more / other thoughts then please let me know

regards - Tom

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