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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Putting to bed the M.F.P Cap Badge myth


Toby Brayley

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Reading through the pages of the forum I frequently see reference (but no evidence) to  the Military Foot Police crown and scroll cap badge, many members and nearly all the well known insignia books published in the last 40 years often state that the Military Mounted Police and Military Foot Police wore different cap badges in the Great War era, this is simply not the case.  No evidence exists of the style of badge ever in use and certainly not during the Great War. 

 

Working at the Museum and having access to 1000s of images, original Standing Orders and Corps Order book of the Military Police and there is nothing to back up the claim that the badge was ever on any wide-scale issue.  I hope the evidence (and we have lots more) presented below will finally persuade people! 

 

Below: The offending badge so often referred to. 

 

post-599-1211886527.jpg.534caccc7420867eeed95b269e2e517d.jpg

 

 

Below: The Correct Badges of the era, Edward VII and George V

 

Capture.JPG.c568c623d4ee4c0406da381b9951d394.JPG

 

Prior to the Introduction of the Universal Forage Cap (Brodrick) the Military Police had no headgear on which the cap badge was required, shoulder titles were worn on Field Service Caps that were seldom seen.  MMP and MFP titles were worn for a short period when the Brodrick was introduced until the Edward VII Cap badge was introduced in January 1904. The size of the M.F.P during the period  was less than 300 NCOs,  we have plenty of photographic evidence from the era and the badge does not appear once. Reference to it does not appear in the Corps Order Books (which record the mundane minutiae of day to day life within the Corps) even though they reference  the introduction of the Edward VII  and George V styles. EVERY M.F.P style badge I have ever seen has been a fake and a rather poor one at that. 

 

 

Below: C1903 M.F.P and probationers note the titles used prior to the introduction of the Edward VII style. Despite the very short lifespan of this practise we have multiple photographs of this style.

 

titles.jpg.9c5f0466f281f8bf5bd3df835b591c55.jpg

 

Below: Sealed Pattern of the Edward VII Cap Badge. Note the term collective "Military Police", other sealed patterns of the era are marked Corps of Military Police.. not MFP or MMP unlike the sealed patterns of the shoulder titles. 

 

5ad1c58a823ee_sealedpattern.jpg.3966f7dd30213545072837c684b3b013.jpg

 

Below: Military Foot Police c1904.

 

brod.jpeg.ee0d1f8dd06581528cbf54696dda81cf.jpeg

 

Below: Military Foot Police Woking 1915. Note the prolific use of the Edward VII style badge, a practice that is seen well into BAOR in the 1920s...still no shots of the fictitious MFP badge. 

 

5ad1c58df2871_woking1915.jpg.a831e98eaca78103aed833ee3feafeff.jpg

 

Below: Military Foot Police 1914. 

Riley.jpg.5bdc28c743aebc36332bd1419a00f802.jpg

 

Below:  Further evidence, note the slip on titles. 

MFP.jpg.3cf346cfdc89f2c87e64fd4ed4c2e508.jpg

 

1.jpg.e0699371f12e835e4c932d3c2ba99fac.jpg

 

Norton.jpg.36e64dc399ea8a9c42fd1ed4987efd41.jpg

 

We believe the badge may have been an early suggested style that was never  adopted... but given there is no evidence of its and the small nature of the M.F.P at this time  why are there so many on the market when the original Edward VII badges are so scarce. Sadly many authors have picked up on it as gospel and the false information has been recycled over the years.  I would welcome a single shred of photographic evidence of its use in the Great War. I hope this goes someway toward finally "putting to bed" the continually recycled myth.  I feel with the forum's reader base and interest this is the right place to start or at least try. I hope the members of the forum will join me in spreading the word...or at least provide some evidence to the contrary!   

Regards

Toby 

 

MFP Brod.jpeg

Edited by Toby Brayley
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Thanks Toby. Brodricks and moustaches: your museum must seem like a little piece of Heaven.

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Compelling deduction I think Toby, you have certainly convinced me.  I did own a MFP badge once around 30-years ago and thought it quite good quality, but I suspect that your suggestion that it might have been a trial badge subsequently rejected is the most likely origin.  Many old dies were sold on and then used to create re-strikes for the commercial market, perhaps that is what happened in this case.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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A badge that has been discussed elsewhere:  http://www.britishbadgeforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74&highlight=military+foot+police

 

where the same conclusion was reached that the bi-metal version is a fake and fantasy. 

 

Hugh King's book shows a gilding metal version which is either your unadopted trial  badge or the Shorncliife det one If such a thing existed) mentioned in the link.  

 

Great thread by the way and the photos are superb.

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21 hours ago, max7474 said:

Hugh King's book shows a gilding metal version which is either your unadopted trial  badge or the Shorncliife det one If such a thing existed) mentioned in the link.  

 

Great thread by the way and the photos are superb.

 

 

Thank you. 

 

I have heard about the Shorncliffe  Detachment link before. It would have been very tiny Detachment at this stage. It was told to me that a gentleman at the Museum many years ago said it came from Shorncliffe .  I have yet to find anything to prove this or even a mention of it, but either way I can't deny it and its design must have come from somewhere! 

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The all brass one shown in Kipling and King, which seems to have started all of the bi-metal fakes to satisfy collectors demands, was lugged. This is significant as this means it was either one of several things:

 

1. Unofficial and not provided by the Army Clothing Department as from 1903 cap badges made for the Brodricks were fitted with long vertical shanks (sliders).  These were shortened in 1905 for the new peaked caps.

2.  Officially ordered but made before 1902-03 to replace the s/t in the cap.

3.  Not a hat badge at all.  Hugh King was a badge magpie rather than a researcher and his book contains many errors and omissions.

 

This just goes to prove that it is certainly not a WW1 era cap badge.

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Indeed! Totally correct points that in my opinion provide further conclusive evidence. 

 

Also the information on the MP Helmet Plates in the Kipling and King Book are totally wrong..based on no evidence and again recycled through the years! But that's another lengthy post in another forum perhaps ! 

 

 

 

Edited by Toby Brayley
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20 hours ago, Toby Brayley said:

 

 

Thank you. 

 

I have heard about the Shorncliffe  Detachment link before. It would have been very tiny Detachment at this stage. It was told to me that a gentleman at the Museum many years ago said it came from Shorncliffe .  I have yet to find anything to prove this or even a mention of it, but either way I can't deny it and its design must have come from somewhere! 

From the MFP Locations Roll, the Shorncliffe Detachment in the late 1890s consisted of 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal and 8 Lance Corporals. Besides Shorncliffe, there were detachments in Belfast, Chatham, Colchester, Cork, Curragh, Devonport, Dover, Dublin, Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Salisbury, as well, of course at the Depot in Aldershot. Overseas depoloyment was Egypt, Malta and South Africa.

 

I find it hard to believe that a new design of cap badge would be produced in such numbers (and varieties) as survive for a trial by such a small detachment.

 

Cheers,

 

Richard

Edited by Provost
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  • 3 years later...
17 minutes ago, Solent said:

Hi Toby 

Was the  Mounted Military Police badge a real badge or did it have its own ?

There was no special badge for the Military Mounted Police.  They wore the generic corps badge shown in Toby’s opening post in this thread, as did the Military Foot Police.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Hi Frogsmile

I hope you are well and thanks for answering my question as usual Frogsmile I have another you question I really need to ask please. The Army Muster roll ended in 1898, could you advice me what records replaced this regimental / Unit of strength report and where I could locate it please.

Solent

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7 minutes ago, Solent said:

Hi Frogsmile

I hope you are well and thanks for answering my question as usual Frogsmile I have another you question I really need to ask please. The Army Muster roll ended in 1898, could you advice me what records replaced this regimental / Unit of strength report and where I could locate it please.

Solent

I’m not sure, but it’s possible that @MaureenE  will know, as she has collated internet links to many old documents and records.  She will advise in due course if she can help.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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44 minutes ago, Solent said:

Hi Frogsmile

is that her GWF tag?

Yes.  She will see it at some point and if she can help I know that she will.

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Depending on the information required, there might be something in the The General Annual Report on the British Army, sometimes referred to as GARBA.

The following is copied from a FIBIS Fibiwiki page, and there is a link though to another Fibiwiki page.

Editions from 1902 to 1938 of The General Annual Report on the British Army are available on the library subscription website U.K. Parliamentary Papers. For more details, see Subscription websites-online newspapers, journals and directories, section Other British and Irish publications. Your library must have subscribed for the 20th Century module.

The General Annual Report on the British Army September 1906 may be downloaded as a series of pdfs from the website majortweedy.com.

 

Maureen

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Hi Maureen

Many thanks for picking up on this however, Ive checked these but neither have the monthly regimental strengths and pay roll ledgers similar to the old muster rolls, unless I am missing something some how.

My quest is to identify what replaced the muster roll / pay ledger post 1898.

I am open to ideas 

Mike

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Perhaps if you set up another topic with a relevant question as the subject heading someone might know. I am not aware of any such records.

Maureen

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Maybe there's a Victorian Army forum that can answer your question? I'm only aware of the WO 12 series from 1880-1885 for infantry regiments, and this time period falls outside the scope of the forum.

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Sadly the owner of the Victorian Wars forum  pulled the plug on it perhaps about a year ago following some aggravation that I can't remember the detail of.  It was a splendid site.

MaxD

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