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Remembered Today:

Where'd all the SWB's go ?


bif
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Hello all, Now that I've become somewhat adroit at using Ancestry, it seems every time I get an answer it comes with several more questions. Sound familiar? I hold four groups for Seaforth who apparently were awarded the SWB, but none of them are with the group. Three show the SWB on their MIC and the fourth has a Type two MIC for the SWB only, (hope that's correct). After reading about how trios were sometimes broken up and/or melted down for the silver, (thanks for nothing, Hunt brothers), I wondered if this is common re the SWB are "somewhere else". The four Seaforth are:

Peebles, Hew H, #203023, 4/Sea, BWM/AVW/SWB (388342, 15 May 1918). His are the first medals I purchased.

Haggie, William, #6478, 2/Sea, QSA (CC,OFS,Trans)/KSA ('01, '02)/1914 Star (missing the Mons bar but the shadow is on the ribbon)/BWM/AVM/SWB (297132 10 May 1916). Per his attestation/service papers he was apparently a VERY interesting soldier.

Reid, George, #7645, 3Sea, 1914 -15 Star/BWM/AVM/SWB (196760 7 June 1915).

Robertson, Roderick, s/10887, DCM (2 Sept 1898)/Queens Sudan/Khedive Sudan (the Atbara, Khartoum)/LS&GC (1 July 1904/SWB (329615 16 Feb 1918)/MSM (July, 1935). In re-researching any men serving after 1880, I also checked for WW1 service and there was A SWB card on him ! As far I I can find he never served overseas but recieved the SWB due to over age for service ? ( Thanks to grm79 on the BMF site for lots of help on this old soldier).

How do I find out where/what happened to the SWB's ? Is it worth the effort to try to find them ? How did Robertson every qualify for the award ?

Any suggestions, help, or direction is appreciated, as always. Bif

Ps Sorry for no link to the Haggie papers. My wife has yet to show me how to link or attach.

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Quick note on Roderick Robertson.There was no requirement to have served overseas to qualify for a SWB. Robertson re-enlisted in Seaforth Highlanders on 1 March 1916 and served at home as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the 4th Reserve Battalion until being discharged through "age and sickness" at the age of 55 on 16 February 1918. The SWB roll (here) confirms that there was no overseas service.

C

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Unfortunately, once a Silver War Badge has been separated from its medal group it is rarely reunited. People who do house clearances or the so called knocker boys don't necessarily associate medals and Silver War Badges and don't always sell them with the medals if they find them. Added to which, many collectors concentrate on collecting Silver War Badges and are not interested in collecting medals. I once met a collector who collected only Victory Medals and who was quite happy to split medal groups in order to collect them.

In my opinion they are always better together. What is needed is a Silver War Badge dating agency where people can match up badges and medal groups.

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Now they are on Ancestry at least there is a chance of finding the correct one, in some cases of course its a case of confirming the few which are with groups. Never managed to reunite a SWB with the medals but you never know.

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in 25 years of collecting I have had only one 1914 star group with its swb - a rare thing to have them together

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maybe it was pinned on his jacket ?

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Quick note on Roderick Robertson.There was no requirement to have served overseas to qualify for a SWB. Robertson re-enlisted in Seaforth Highlanders on 1 March 1916 and served at home as a Regimental Sergeant Major in the 4th Reserve Battalion until being discharged through "age and sickness" at the age of 55 on 16 February 1918. The SWB roll (here) confirms that there was no overseas service.

C

Thanks to all for the quick and helpful replies. Woollamc, thanks for the "push". I had the SWB roll from Ancestry and info re RSM Robertson's service, but had thought you had to serve overseas for eligibility. Have now re-read the section pertaining from Mr Williamson's great book and am enlightened. Once again, ask a question, and answers come from all sides. Wish regimental service #s were as clear! Best to all, Bif

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I noticed for sale the other day a SWB for the Mons Regiment and it was his only entitlement having been discharged without going overseas.

As regards the missing SWB's, sold for scrap or just split up over the years, either by sellers or perhaps on occasion as a way of dividing them between family members, one gets the medal, another gets the SWB, another gets the paperwork etc.....Or any variation of the above.

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We know that the badges were not officially named. As a result relatives were often confused as to who they belonged too, so it was no moral decision to part with them. Also if your family couldn't eat in the early 1920's, they had no choice but to sell the silver.

The badges were held in high esteem by the rightful awardees, because they not only disproved any cowardice on their part but also entitled them to free use of public services.

Still to this day, there are many who don't want badges with medals....even silver war badges. When I reunited a Mons Star Officers trio with a badge, I was told by one collector that he didn't value that trio any higher with the badge. Not an opinion I share, or probably any dealer would share when it came to retail pricing!

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My brother-in-laws father collected nothing else except SWBs picking them up for "peanuts" in second hand shops and the like over 10 years ago, my b-i-l still has them. Noticed several on EBay for a lot of pennies.

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They used to be 50p to a pound each in the early 1990s and one collector in the UK bought all the interesting ones.

British Badges Price Guide:

£65 - £75 Women.
£45+ to officers
£40+ to RFC (add premium for officers)
£35 - £40 RAF (Value may increase when rolls are recompiled).
£40+ to Cavalry. ( Rarities to some yeomanry units)
£25 - £35 to Infantry (value may be influenced by Battalion served e.g.highly collected Pals Battalions).
£20 Corps excluding (add premium for specialised units e.g. Tanks, Tunnellers, Waggoners etc)

£25 - £35 to RN. (Add premium for wounds received in actions of note which triggered award).

Also many other morbid rarities......double and triple amputees. Some of the most interesting stories I have come across. Value? My best guess for a double amputee would be £65+ (perhaps more with a story and supporting photographs).

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