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Ed Matthews

Uniform help

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Ed Matthews

Can anyone please help with identification of this uniform please?  It's taken after the war in Belgium in 1919. The subject is also sporting a Silver War Badge. The tunic doesn't look British to me - anyone able to help?  Best wishes, Ed

Jack Belgium 1919073.jpg

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HERITAGE PLUS

There appears to be a maple leaf on the buttons making the uniform Canadian unless my eyes are deceiving me.

 

Dave

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battle of loos

Good evening

I think more about buttons  "General Service ".
regards

michel

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Ed Matthews
Posted (edited)

Many thanks for the comments, Michel & Dave. I've tried to scan at much higher resolution in the vicinity of the buttons but to no avail unfortunately - it's just not clear enough to discern. The tunic itself doesn't look British to me but I'm no expert on uniform!

Ed

Edited by Ed Matthews

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Jools mckenna

Look like a Canadian M1913 SD jacket with tailored pockets.

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Ed Matthews
Posted (edited)

Thanks Jools. Is it fair, then, to conclude that he is a CEF soldier?  Would you expect to see some other insignia on his uniform? Wearing of the SWB by re-enlisted personnel in uniform was certainly permissible in the British Army (and presumably same held true for Canadians too).  Such a pity there is nothing to identify who he was!

 

Best wishes

 

Ed

Edited by Ed Matthews

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Andrew Upton

He's a Special Constable. The tunic is a fairly typical dark blue five-button jacket, whilst the buttons themselves are the KC surrounded by the "pie crust" edging:

 

 

Special Constabulary pie crust buttons.JPG

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FROGSMILE

Good spot Andrew.  To my surprise it seems that the Specials did not generally wear collar numbers like regular policemen, but instead had a duty arm band usually with a number on that.

313CD1F5-440A-451E-A1B3-4933D1A79569.jpeg

AA4F0548-0522-4583-B5CD-1F1B887BA251.jpeg

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Andrew Upton
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Good spot Andrew.  To my surprise it seems that the Specials did not generally wear collar numbers like regular policemen, but instead had a duty arm band usually with a number on that.

 

The metal badges for the duty armlet were made by Hiatt, and appear to have been essentially a private purchase item adopted by some forces (such as Leith, pictured below) in the early part of the war before full issue of uniforms became common. They were incredibly impractical - I own the generic Special Constable version illustrated below, which despite being only 4 inches by 2 inches weighs about 170 grams. By the time full uniforms were available most larger forces like the Metropolitan Police for wear on the collar had adopted either the generic crowned SC collar badges or similar, these generally being worn alongside a letter denoting which division they were part of:

 

Image result for special constabulary ww1

Special Constabulary metal armlet badge.jpg

s-l1600[1] (2).jpg

Edited by Andrew Upton

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FROGSMILE

Very interesting.  I’ve found several images of WW1 SC, some in civilian clothes, but most in uniform.

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Andrew Upton
Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Very interesting.  I’ve found several images of WW1 SC, some in civilian clothes, but most in uniform.

 

Very much like the Home Guard in WW2, the early and rapid expansion of the Specials in 1914 was initially met with a wave of enthusiasm that overcame any deficiencies in apparent skill and issue of equipment. By early 1915 however this was beginning to change, and one of the chief criticisms reported was the lack of full uniforms meant Specials were finding it very difficult to get the general public to take them seriously and do as told. So from mid 1915 more strenuous efforts were made to correct this and the problem mostly went away, although even to the very end the Specials were never as highly regarded as the regular Police ("Lost me way and don't know where to roam, Well you can't trust a special like the old time coppers, When you can't find your way 'ome", as written in 1919):

 

Special Constable WW1 propaganda.jpg

WW1 Special Constable pc - note hat, armband, badge.jpg

Special Constable WW1 propaganda pc.jpg

1916 PC Special Constable.jpg

Edited by Andrew Upton

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FROGSMILE

Very interesting and the inclusion of the rhyme made me smile.  Perhaps like most of my generation I was taught to sing it (by my parents), but had not realised it’s WW1 provenance. Father and grandfather were policemen so they would have had direct experience of the Specials.

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Robin Garrett

Here's a photo of my grandfather who was a special constable in Kenley until my grandmother made him resign as she was afraid of the zeppelins. Note the badge in his lapel. He was the manager of the Bow Brewery, which he sold after the war (great shame!). You'll be impressed with his moustache!

Lewis Perrin Garrett WW1.jpg

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Ed Matthews
Posted (edited)

Many thanks for all the fascinating responses and the identification of 'Jack' as a special constable. The only potentially confounding factor then is that the picture was taken in Brussels and there is a handwritten annotation on the reverse 'Belgium, 1919.' Is there any explanation for this?

 

Best wishes

 

Ed

Edited by Ed Matthews

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Andrew Upton
Posted (edited)
On ‎03‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 12:38, Robin Garrett said:

Here's a photo of my grandfather who was a special constable in Kenley until my grandmother made him resign as she was afraid of the zeppelins. Note the badge in his lapel. He was the manager of the Bow Brewery, which he sold after the war (great shame!). You'll be impressed with his moustache!

Lewis Perrin Garrett WW1.jpg

 

It's nice to see such a clear photo of the lapel version Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary badge being worn in civvies. I have attached a photo below of four examples from my own collection. In the WW1 period they were issued in a bronzed finish, and originally came in two main types - lapel fittings (furthest left) and lugged for wear on the peaked cap (second from left). The ones with lapel fittings are sometimes found with varying conversions to enable them later to be worn as cap badges - the third badge has crudely had the round fitting entirely removed and similarly crudely replaced with a slider, whilst the fourth has had the back of the button partially filed down very carefully and then pierced to take a split pin. Plain bronze was for ordinary Specials - the yellow enamel in the crown denotes a Sergeant, with different colours denoting differing higher ranks:1626729816_MetPoliceSpecialsbadgescomparison.jpg.610681f4800f598e9e5898e35c669620.jpg

 

On ‎03‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 22:34, Ed Matthews said:

Many thanks for all the fascinating responses and the identification of 'Jack' as a special constable. The only potentially confounding factor then is that the picture was taken in Brussels and there is a handwritten annotation on the reverse 'Belgium, 1919.' Is there any explanation for this?

 

Is it possible to see the reverse? It wouldn't be the first photograph to have a caption added at a later date that was less than accurate...

Edited by Andrew Upton

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