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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

WWI Upper Sleeve Patches


dlr78

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Good day to you all,

I'm attempting to find some military history information about my great grandfather. He lived in Durham in 1911, and later Newbiggin, Northumberland. His service was during the first world war, and I have some postcards from him to my great grandmother from "somewhere in France".

Having that his name is quite common, I've run into trouble trying to determine his regiment, or other details that will lead me to some deeper information.

I do have the attached photograph which unfortunately is at a poor angle for sleeve insignia. It is located at http://cdn5.danielrose.com.au/George%20N%20Robson.jpg and I would have embedded but couldn't figure out how to resize it.

If anybody has an idea what the upper sleeve patch indicates, I'd be most grateful! It looks to me to be the rear half of either a camel or an elephant, but I've not been able to find anything with the same design.

I suspect the right sleeve chevrons indicate overseas service in the great war, and the left sleeve being a good conduct and two wound patches, but I'm not certain.

Would love any feedback or information anybody may happen to have!

Many Thanks,

Daniel Rose

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Hi,

You are correct re sleeve badges...well done. Re the upper sleeve / shoulder patches I am afraid the angle is too obscure and I feel you will struggle.

Cracking photo nevertheless.

Regards

TT

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Welcome to the forum Daniel,

yes you are correct in your observations, 3 blue overseas service chevrons (not issued until 1918 - a red chevron for 1914). 2 years good conduct and 2 brass wound stripes (recieved wounds on 2 occasions and not issued until 1916). The upper sleeve insignia I would suggest are battalion or battle patches. What is your Great Grandfathers name? It may be worth checking to see if a local AVL (Absent Voters List 1918) still exists for the area in which he lived, these will often given service numbers and regiments in which a man served.

cheers, Jon

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Cracking photo, I think it is the Hawke Bn, as the lady is wearing the black bird sweet heart brooch. JG

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Thanks for the wonderfully helpful replies everybody!

His name is George Norman Robson b. 1890 in Houghton le Spring, the lady is his wife (although I'm not sure if she was when the photograph was taken), Sarah Isabella Hollan.

Understandably there are quite a few George Robson's listed in service / pension records, but no George Norman Robson's or Norman Robson's (which he later went by). I'd been looking at army service, but after checking out the Hawke Battallion information, it seems they are the RN. Is this a navy uniform? I'd completely ignored that angle!

Regarding the absentee voter list, would you be able to point me in the right direction to check that?

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After thinking about this information something was ringing in my head about the Hawke Battalion. I took a look through the old postcards Norman had sent to Isabella during the war, and low and behold - one had the information identifying that indeed the Hawke Battalion is correct!

The postcard is here for you:

http://cdn5.danielrose.com.au/Postcard%20-%20Reverse.jpg

And the front:

http://cdn5.danielrose.com.au/Postcard%20-%20Front.jpg

I don't particularly understand what most of the text indicates, except the Battalion number, so I'd be interested to know if anybody can interpret.

Thank You

Daniel

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Hawke Battalion was one of the Battalions in the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division - note that this was the second Division to bear this number, the earlier one being a home service Northumbrian Division.

The Royal Naval Division was made oup of Royal Navy personnel. These were Royal Navy men and had Navy ranks, but wore Army Uniforms (except in the very early months of the war). They fought as land soldiers.

The Battalions did not have numbers but were instead name after old Admirals:

Royal Naval Division service records are available online.

Search page:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/browse-refine.asp?CatID=19&searchType=browserefine&pagenumber=1&query=*&queryType=1

The deatils on the postcard match this record:

Name Robson, George Norman

Service Number(s): Z/1459

Rank or Rating: Able Seaman

Date of Birth: 13 August 1889

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7521411&queryType=1&resultcount=5

His address details on the postcard translate to:

Able Seaman G. N. Robson, number T/Z 1459

Unit: Hawke Battalion

63rd (Royal Naval) Division Infantry Base Depot

Army Post Office S.24.

British Expeditionary Force, France

Brief details on the Division are here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/63rd_(Royal_Naval)_Division

http://www.1914-1918.net/63div.htm

Steve.

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Thanks for the wonderfully helpful replies everybody!

His name is George Norman Robson b. 1890 in Houghton le Spring, the lady is his wife (although I'm not sure if she was when the photograph was taken), Sarah Isabella Hollan.

Understandably there are quite a few George Robson's listed in service / pension records, but no George Norman Robson's or Norman Robson's (which he later went by). I'd been looking at army service, but after checking out the Hawke Battallion information, it seems they are the RN. Is this a navy uniform? I'd completely ignored that angle!

Regarding the absentee voter list, would you be able to point me in the right direction to check that?

They where married at the time of the photo, she has a wedding on. JG

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Hi All,

Thank you very much for your exceptionally helpful information! It's most appreciated.

I am quite at awe at the amount of information that can be gleaned from one photograph!

Many Thanks

Daniel

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Hi Daniel

Point of interest.

The Royal Naval Division. Although still officialy sailors they served as soldiers and wore khaki in France. Until May 1916, when

they arrived in France, they had worn either sailors caps or foreign-service helmets without cap badges.

Originally there were eight named battalions but Benbow and Collingwood were disbanded before badges were produced.

The remaining six wore the brass badge, "Anson Battalion, a coronet". "Drake Battalion, a ship on top of the world".

"Hawke Battalion and "Hood Battalion, birds from ships' badges". Howe Battalion, a naval crown". "Nelson Battalion, a head-on

view of a ship.

Gerwyn

" Hawke Battalion cap badge"

post-78506-0-31846800-1314910816.jpeg

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An ORs badge and shoulder title.

title.

post-599-0-06941200-1314989586.jpg

post-599-0-88153800-1314989628.jpg

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