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Remembered Today:

Before the Silver War Badge


Skipman
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I found this article in The Perthshire Advertiser 27/3/1915 (The Silver War Badge was not instituted until September 1916), so was this a one off, peculiar to Perthshire, or were there many varied badges issued?

Badge for rejected recruits

" -The Sheriff of Perth will give a badge to every resident in the county and city of Perth who being of military age has in good faith offered himself for enlistment in His Majesty's forces, during the present war, and has been rejected on account of defective measurements or medical unfitness for active service. This badge will be evidence of the will to serve both for the present and also in future years when men render an account of the part they played in the hour of their country's need. Applications for the badge should be sent in writing to Christopher N Johnston, K.C., Sheriff of Perth, 4 Heriot Row, Edinburgh, and should be accompanied by a certificate by a Magistrate, Commissioned officer, public school master, minister, physician, solicitor, or local officer of Police, to the good faith of the applicant. "

Mike

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I saw something along similar lines in the Hamilton Advertiser recently, but I can't for the life of me find it again. It was in relation to armlet/arm band given to soldiers who had volunteered but had yet been called to the Colours, but the article also mentioned it was to be given to those medically unfit for service. Maybe not as specific as your example but perhaps similar?

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No problem, Mike, I just wish I could find the article again as I only skimmed it before but I'm curious about it. Someone recently posted a photograph of a man in civvies wearing an armband with a crown, and suggestions were it was related to the Derby scheme - I'm sure the armlet referenced above was described as khaki with a crown sewn onto it, and this (I'm sure) was sometime in 1915. Until I come across it again though, I'll have to assume I'm haverin'!

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Dundee Courier - Saturday 22 May 1915

" Through the instrumentality of Mr Christopher N Johnston, Sheriff-Principal of Perthshire, badges have been provided to be worn by Perthshire men who have been rejected for military service. Up to the present 175 badges have been distributed, 60 going to the City and 115 to the county. Applications should be addressed to etc etc.... "

Mike

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Found it, The Hamilton Advertiser, 6th November 1915:

"The Secretary of State for War has decided to issue khaki armlets, bearing the Royal Crown to the following classes of men:-(1) Men who enlist and are placed in groups awaiting a call to join the colours. (2) Men who offer themselves for enlistment and are found to be medically unfit. (3) Men who have been invalided out of the Service with good character, or have been discharged "not likely to become efficient" on medical grounds. There will be a distinctive mark for each of the classes. The armlets are in process of manufacture. Notice will be given when they can be issued, together with instructions as to issue."

Glad I found it but sounds a bit different from the badge you've found reference to.

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Read a book by a soldier, may have been 14/Lond. who was WIA then sent home & discharged well before the SWB was created. A photo of him shows an armband but can't recall what it had onit, amybe a crown. I thought it was to mark him as being discharged due to wounds so no white feather! Been yrs since I read the book & can't recall the title & thnk it had copy of the certificate issuing him the armband.

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Interesting that the Germans took a while to take on the idea of the SWB, the Wound badge being awarded only from early 1918.

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The Sheriff's scheme is in essence very different from either the SWB or the Derby Scheme brassard. To get an SWB you had to have served at least 90 days before being invalided out - you didn't get one for being rejected as unfit to start with. The Derby brassard was for men who had been accepted for service but the army wasn't ready to take them yet. The sherrif was giving badges to men who applied but were rejected, one wonders what proof one had to submit to prove that you had applied in the first place.

The SWB was awarded retrospectively on application so men who had already been invalided out before the system came into effect could get one.

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Thanks centurion, of course you're right, and there is a difference. Perhaps these Sheriff scheme did lead to the SWB?

Mike

There is quite a lot of evidence in letters that there was considerable pressure for something like the SWB from ex servicemen who still looked fit and were of serving age. One man complains that he was constantly getting into fights on Saturday nights with soldiers who would accuse him of being a shirker even though he'd already seen more action than they had - a somewhat counter-productive reaction as it tended to bring the idea up "if you're fit enough to fight us why aren't you fighting the Germans?"

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