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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Help to identify Trade/Proficiency badge


Simon J Emmerson

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Good Afternoon. I'm after some help to identify the correct term of Proficiency for the Sherwood Foresters L/Cpl Drummer in the photo postcard. Can anyone tell me what the exploding grenade above the crossed rifles means please. 

Kind regards in advance 

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There’s been much speculation about this, as there’s no officially recorded stipulation Simon.  The general consensus appears to be (and I agree) a man who had completed and passed a ‘bombers’ course.  As well as hand throwing of the grenade, by the middle of the war projectiles from the rifle were also taught.  
 

The metal badge generally used was known as the Universal Grenade and used also for other purposes by artillery, engineers, fusiliers, and the Grenadier Guards.  The word ‘universal’ was well-chosen.  It’s last recorded use was as the collar badge of the Royal Welch Fusiliers until their amalgamation in 2006.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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18 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

There’s been much speculation about this, as there’s no officially recorded stipulation Simon.  The general consensus appears to be (and I agree) a man who had completed and passed a ‘bombers’ course.  As well as hand throwing of the grenade, by the middle of the war projectiles from the rifle were also taught.  
 

The metal badge generally used was known as the Universal Grenade and used also for other purposes by artillery, engineers, fusiliers, and the Grenadier Guards.  The word ‘universal’ was well-chosen.  It’s last recorded use was as the collar badge of the Royal Welch Fusiliers until their amalgamation in 2006.

Thank you for the information. My thoughts were possibly Rife Grenader. He's certainly not your typical Drummer/Stretcher-Bearer

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49 minutes ago, Simon J Emmerson said:

Thank you for the information. My thoughts were possibly Rife Grenader. He's certainly not your typical Drummer/Stretcher-Bearer

Yes I agree that he’s a bomber, and very likely trained to launch a grenade using his rifle, but I’ve not yet ever found any reference to a specialist, stand-alone ‘rifle grenadier’, so my perception is that it was a subset of the bomber’s skills.  NCO (trained) bombers usually wore a grenade above their rank stripe(s), whereas privates tended to wear them in the typical skill-at-arms badge position on the left lower sleeve, so hence its location above the crossed rifles that were/are very specifically for marksmanship. Like so many things during WW1 it was a trench skill that evolved, along with the associated technology and training courses by the end of the war were different from the rudimentary one’s at the beginning.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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In my experience studying period photos the cloth Bombers badge and Trench Mortar badge were commonly worn upper right sleeve for soldiers and NCOs. The wearing of the universal grenade worn above the marksman badge I have seen worn by bombers of the West Yorkshire Regiment in Ross Coulthards book The Lost Tommys I also have a photo of a Sherwood Forester wearing a similar combination to that shown in the original post.

 

Mark

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16 minutes ago, mark holden said:

In my experience studying period photos the cloth Bombers badge and Trench Mortar badge were commonly worn upper right sleeve for soldiers and NCOs. The wearing of the universal grenade worn above the marksman badge I have seen worn by bombers of the West Yorkshire Regiment in Ross Coulthards book The Lost Tommys I also have a photo of a Sherwood Forester wearing a similar combination to that shown in the original post.

 

Mark

Yes I too have noticed trench mortar men wearing badges top right, not so much bombers though, although as a specific policy for bombers doesn’t seem to have existed there were inevitably unit variations.  There have already been posts about unique battalion bombers badges complete with regimental iconography for the Liverpool Scottish, and another Northern Battalion whose identity escapes me just now.  The bottom line is that without regulation there were irregularities.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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