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Remembered Today:

Identifying an ID tag


J T Gray
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A thought - my parents have at home a pair of red fibre ID tags, with a victorian sixpence wired to them. I would guess that they are military, and are labelled

"Andrews FS 44 1087"

I cannot find an FS Andrews on the CWGC, SWDITGW, or the MICs - any other ideas?

Adrian

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Andrews James A. 1087 5th Dorsetshire Regt {FS ~ Religion??44??}Comes up on MiCs;just a thought

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A possibility, I guess, but I'm a bit lost as to the relevance of FS or 44 to religion. I'm obviously missing something - could you explain please?

Thanks,

Adrian

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They might not be Services - since Victorian troops did not wear conventional fibre discs - and might date from later than WW1. The armed forces (Army at any rate) had octagonal green and circular red disc pairs, rather than two of the same style: although the Navy, I believe, still issue two red, circular fibre discs as ID tags ('cos they don't melt in fire or rot in seawater - supposedly).

FS - could be initials, as you assume, viz. FS Andrews; or perhaps they were issued to Fire Service, ARP and police etc. in WW2 during the Blitz, and the FS stands for something else? FS - Fire Service?? (Although I'd have though AFS if auxiliary.) Equally, could it be a merchant seaman's tag, the numerals referring to his B of T or ID card?

Perhaps also a non-Army officer's ID tags. I don't know when they assigned service numbers to officers, but could this be the case?

Uncharted territory for me, but could these be likely possibilities?

Richard

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Any chance of a scan of these tags?

The actual "layout" of the lettering could be significant. Also, the fact that it's two red, round fibre tags is unusual (although a red tag was also issued to ID the respirator haversack).

Stumped at the moment, but I haven't had one (well ,no post 1914/15 fibre tag anyway) beat me yet! :ph34r:

Dave.

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A thought - my parents have at home a pair of red fibre ID tags, with a victorian sixpence wired to them. I would guess that they are military, and are labelled

"Andrews FS 44 1087"

I cannot find an FS Andrews on the CWGC, SWDITGW, or the MICs - any other ideas?

Adrian

As Dave says it would probably be best to post a scan of these discs.

Strictly speaking a pair of post November 1916 discs should comprise one round red and one octagonal green tag. This being said, I do have a pair of red discs that belonged to a VAD nurse from Devon. Also, in her case, the information is not stamped. It is hand written in ink, and includes her Plymouth home address on the back.

Sight unseen my vote would be that you probably have the tags of a member of the WW2 AFS/NFS. I know that they used service gas masks and would assume that you have the red disc from the gasmask, and the red half of the pair from around his neck. The sixpence is probably a good luck token.

Member Lee will probably know more on this, but I suspect that "44" could be Andrew's Fire Station and "1087" his number?

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I'll attempt to add a scan as soon as I can get back to Essex (about ten days) to borrow them .

I had assumed military dog tags as I recall hearing/reading that they changed to metal when it was realised that fibre ones disintegrated quite quickly under burial conditions. However if they do turn out to be AFS we may even know whose they are!

Many thanks everyone and I'll keep you posted...

Adrian

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I recall hearing/reading that they changed to metal when it was realised that fibre ones disintegrated quite quickly under burial conditions.

On the "official patterns" this didn't happen until the late 1960's/70's (though pre 1914, they were aluminium). A "plastic" type also existed around the same period.

Dave.

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I recall hearing/reading that they changed to metal when it was realised that fibre ones disintegrated quite quickly under burial conditions.

On the "official patterns" this didn't happen until the late 1960's/70's (though pre 1914, they were aluminium). A "plastic" type also existed around the same period.

Dave.

True for Britain, although I did read that the British army issued metal tags on a very limited scale in Burma. Do you have a scan of one of the plastic tags you mention?

The Australians were wearing a round/octagonal metal pair of discs by the second half of WW2, that is for sure as I have some - these exist with both Militia and 2AIF number prefix.

Also, I believe that the Canadians wore a single "two piece" metal tag as early as the 1950s, the type that was snapped in two if a man was killed.

Anyone know about the New Zealanders?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone for the help with this. I had a look at the weekend and in fact it's a SINGLE dogtag and TWO sixpences!

Careful cleaning and removal of various lumps of crud revealed a hitherto undiscovered "N" - so it is a National Fire Service dogtag as suggested, not a soldier's, so no wonder I couldn't find any info!

As it's no longer relevant I won't post a scan...

Adrian

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