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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Despatch Riders badge for motorcyclist?


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Hi Gang!

Can anyone help out with the following please! I'm trying to ascertain if there was one, albeit semi-official/unofficial, that was used by DR's during the great war period.

I recall the marvellous insignia publication by one of the forum chaps (langley) who wrote that there was one which had a badge very similiar to the 2ndww one, but minus the wings with the letters DR above it, and possibly that it may have shown the wheel 'side on' instead of the 2nd ww version which shows it at an angle. Does anyone have any other info, or even a photo/drawing of said badge?

Further, i was reading a while back, some info on Signal Service DR's, and there was mention of one chap with a DR badge which was supposed to be the letters DR with a wreath below it. Is there any proof that said badges actually existed?

Any help at all is always appreciated! Thanks in advance!!


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Thank you for the kind words.

I can add nothing worth having: I have lots of examples and can date none, my suspicion is that they are all demi-official WW II, but nothing would surprise me!

Certainly TF Cyclist units wore the bicycle wheel in peace, and that may have gone to war.

I would welcome proof [photo preferably] that DR with/without wreath/ wings or whatever was worn in the Great War.

[as an aside, DR status was used as a cloak for Int. work in the mobile phase of the war, many officers thus employed using their own machines].

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When I qualified in an X trade (electronics) in REME in 1956, the QM had no trade badges and we were told to make one by acquiring a similar badge and converting it. This we did and we were not all expert needlemen! I`m not surprised that in WW1 the QMs didn`t always have a full range of badges and that men might have made their own versions. Phil B

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many thanx for putting up the photie, it's greatly appreciated! Now i know for definate that there were some in use! I'd always assumed that they would have been worn on the left cuff (as you wear the jacket), as per other trade/specialsation badges.

My thanx to LB too, as any help is greatly appreciated!!

Kind regards,


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Paul: brilliant: added to my collection! A better scan would indeed be appreciated but ...........

And TRADE badges were indeed worn upper right. [as were Assistant Instructor's badges]. The lower left was primarily for skill-at-arms. Very few Militaria people have a clue when they talk about trade badges!

The broad categories of these badges were:

Skill at arms ........................................ lower left, eg crossed rifles, signalling flags, MG in wreath. These carried financial reward until 1905 or thereabouts

Qualification/ proficiency ........................upper right, eg layer RA,

Trade ....................................................upper right eg wheelright. continuous financial reward

Group/squad/team/battery/company etc achievements ........... lower right, eg best shooting battery, best shooting rifle company. status only

Instructor ..............................................upper right [only, not left] over chevrons, unless instructor was a WO, in which case lower right.

There are, funny old thing, exceptions.

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Hey hey hey!

Whilst consulting MY OWN BOOK on badges, I re-read [first time for years] an extract from a Gamages catalogue [Gamages: gents outfitters, uniform items etc, sold not just to officers but OR.]

Guess what: worsted despatch rider badge price 9d. No illustration, but one of the dearer ones on offer so fairly ornate and big: could be the demi-official source of these badges. Date, by context, 1916/17.

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Canadians wore the winged wheel with the letters DR above. The one in the photo is the British version. Many Canadian and British badges were the same but in this case they were different. No photo but info comes from CEF dress regs.

The oval DR with wreath, I assume is a skill badge for DRs but no proof.


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