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Remembered Today:

Wound stripes - how soon issued?


anthony osborne
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Afternoon all,

with regard to wound stripes (and having trawled through various threads on the subject to no avail), how soon was a man issued one after being wounded? Would they have been distributed upon discharge from hospital or did a man have to apply for them? Were they presented upon return to their unit?

Many thanks,

Ant

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Hi

I came upon this info some time back & saved it but did not keep the name of the site it came from, sorry.

This will answer some of your questions but not all.

Wound Stripes

The French introduced a wound stripe in early 1916 known as Insigne des blesses Militaire. The British Army followed this in August 1916 – official Army Orders (AOs) or Army Council Instructions (ACIs) as follows:

AO 204 of 6 July 1916
The following distinctions in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4 August, 1914:-
'Strips of gold Russia braid, No.1, two inches in length, sewn perpendicularly on the left sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.
In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on cuff. Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve. The additional strips of gold braid, marking each subsequent occasion on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half-inch interval.
Gold braid and sewings will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.'

ACI 1637 of 22 August 1916 states;
'.... it is notified for information, that the term "wounded" refers only to those officers and soldiers whose names have appeared, or may hereafter appear, in the Casualty Lists as "wounded".
The braid will be supplied to officers and soldiers under regimental arrangements, and Commanding Officers will ensure that it is not worn by those who are not entitled to it.
sufficient for two jackets will be supplied to each man.'


ACI 2075 of 3 November 1916 states;
'1.... the term "wounded" refers only to those officers and soldiers whose names have appeared or may hereafter appear in casualty lists rendered by the Adjutant General's office at a base overseas, or by the G.O.C. any force engaged in active operations.
Reports in hospital lists are not to be regarded as authoritative for this purpose.
2. Officers and men reported "wounded - gas," or "wounded - shock, shell," are entitled to the distinction.
Accidental or self-inflicted wounds or injuries do not qualify."

Approval was given in an AO, dated 7 June 1917 for the extension of the provisions of AO 249 of 1916, to include members of the Military Nursing Services, including those of the Dominions, members of Voluntary Aid Detachments and special probationers employed in military hospitals.

AO 1, dated 6 March 1919 extended the eligibility to Officers, Soldiers and Nurses wounded in any campaign prior to 4 August 1914. Official casualty lists constituted the authority.

Wound stripes were discontinued in 1922, but reintroduced in February 1944, only to be discontinued again after the war.

Peter

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Peter,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have read this detail before on this site - thanks any way.

The reason I am curious about how soon wound stripes were issued after recovery is that I am attempting to establish from a photo whether a relative of mine was wounded twice (as the family story goes) from a photo taken late 1918 (my avatar picture) which only shows him with one stripe from a wound received in July 1917. The photo was taken in Ripon and I've always supposed this was dispersal area for recovered troops. My assumption is that the photo was taken before the second wound stripe was issued?

My other route will be to trawl through the casualty lists later in the war but do not have access.

Thanks again Peter,

Ant

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Ripon was also used as a dispersal camp for soldiers being demobilised. When was the picture taken in 1918 ?

Ctaig

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Craig,

No exact date for 1918 but do know Uncle Tom was still in the army in 1919 with the 1st Leicesters as part of the Army of Occupation.

The photo could have been taken in 1919 but then where is the second wound stripe? I suppose if all the service records had survived, the hunt for the facts wouldn't be half as interesting would it!

Ant

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It would also depend on the severity of the wound (and whether it was deemed to be self-inflicted etc etc) - he may have been injured but not enough to get a stripe.

Craig

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Craig,

maybe you've hit the nail on the head? Tom's first wounding was in July 1917 - a piece is shrapnel pinned his hand to his chest as he had a scratch at lice - reported in the Times late august. His second "wounding" (according to the family) was when he was blown out of a trench into the wire by an explosion. If he suffered from confusion and minor lacerations, he may well have been sent back to Blighty and Ripon but not awarded another wound stripe? Sounds a plausible answer!

Great to chuck a question out on the Forum - someone always suggests a solution!

Thanks very much.

Ant

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If he suffered from confusion and minor lacerations, he may well have been sent back to Blighty and Ripon but not awarded another wound stripe?

If he was returned home because of this then he had entered the medical system and should have been entitled to a wound badge (unless the explosion was his fault).

Craig

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Being slightly cynical I would say that the wound stripe would be issued once the authorities realised that the patient was going to survive. I think a certain severity of wound had to occur before authority to

wear the stripe was given. My uncle was wounded 3 times and gassed twice but still only wore 2 stripes.

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The basic criteria was that the man had appeared on a casualty list.

Craig

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If a man left his unit as a casualty (killed, wounded, sick), he would of appeared on the casualty lists for every occasion wouldn't he?

Therefore as David intimates his uncle would have appeared as a casualty 5 times wouldn't he? Looks like wound stripes may have been a bit haphazard when it came to issuing them. I suppose a lot of men may not have been bothered being happy enough to still be alive?

Ant

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Ant,

Some annotations on his record show quote wounded in action, still on duty unquote. Two of the entries show quote transferred to UK unquote. These, I assume were the ones responsible for the

awarding of his two wound stripes. My cousin still has (framed) memorabilia which includes the two stripes in her possession. I think the stripes would have been treated with some pride and as you

say happy to still be alive.

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The point at which a man became a casualty on the official lists seems to be a bit of an issue , it seems to be only men who couldn't be patched up and returned to duty and had to be moved down the line for further treatment.

Craig

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I'm sure I read somewhere that during heavy fighting when large numbers of casualties were coming through that the walking wounded were likely to get sent home for treatment as the more severely wounded were more difficult to move and therefore were treated in hospitals in France and Belgium. Can't back this up with evidence though.

Ant

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I'm sure I read somewhere that during heavy fighting when large numbers of casualties were coming through that the walking wounded were likely to get sent home for treatment as the more severely wounded were more difficult to move and therefore were treated in hospitals in France and Belgium. Can't back this up with evidence though.

Ant

I have read that as well - those too severe to be moved where kept in hospitals in France and the less severely wounded were moved on to the UK to make space.

Craig

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My Grand Father's papers state an award of a wound stripe in 1917. None of his later photos show him wearing it. However, he is in 1919 wearing a red and four blue overseas stripes on his right sleeve. He arrived in France on 24/12/1914 and was discharged in 1919. We always wondered why he didn't wear his wound stripe.

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It would appear that there was no consistancy when it came to the issuing or wearing of wound stripes then? My only real hope of confirming a second wounding is to trawl through the casualty lists later in the war.

Ant

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  • 1 month later...

My father was wounded at least 3 times. The only picture of him (about 1918-20) has no wound stripe. Could you tell me how do you get to see "Casualty Lists"??

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John,

The full casualty lists are available at the British Library, London. They are also available on line but this requires access to certain libraries around the country or subscription to certain geneology sites. I haven't been able to persue my search of late unfortunately - got a lot of other 'stuff' going on at present which has taken me away from my research.

I'll get the job finished eventually though.

All the best,

Ant

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  • 6 months later...

I have searched threads on wound stripes but can't find the most issued to a soldier. Recently while reading an article I noticed a man was reported to have five. "While I was in the 2nd Inniskillings in 1918, an officer named Capt. Lendrum re-joined the battalion. He had five wound stripes and was coming back for the sixth time. He was a gallant officer, one of the fearless type, and he served to the end of the war."

Anne

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I have searched threads on wound stripes but can't find the most issued to a soldier. Recently while reading an article I noticed a man was reported to have five. "While I was in the 2nd Inniskillings in 1918, an officer named Capt. Lendrum re-joined the battalion. He had five wound stripes and was coming back for the sixth time. He was a gallant officer, one of the fearless type, and he served to the end of the war."

Anne

Anne if you search within the forum their are numerous examples of photos with many wound stripes. An extraordinary British officer by the name of Adrian Carton Di Wiart had 8 wound stripes and all absolutely genuine!

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Thanks Frogsmile, I had been searching under soldiers until I saw this thread but am now amazed at the numerous examples of photos with wound stripes under Insignia.

Anne

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Frogsmile, I had been searching under soldiers until I saw this thread but am now amazed at the numerous examples of photos with wound stripes under Insignia.

Anne

Glad to help Anne, I hope that you are able to find an 'other rank' with a record number too. They did exist but must have had an extraordinary degree of luck, rather like a cat with 9 lives.

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Carton de Wiart was, I believe, Belgian in origin. His Wiki entry adds:

was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a PoW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them.

They don't make 'em like that any more!

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Carton de Wiart was, I believe, Belgian in origin. His Wiki entry adds:

was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a PoW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them.

They don't make 'em like that any more!

Yes and nobody called him a damned 'immigrant' then either (and yet I imagine he was probably RC)!

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