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Ww1 irish guards shoulder titles?


Ollie77
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Hello all, 

My question is did the Irish guards (more particularly the 2nd battalion) use cloth shoulder titles on the western front in 1917? 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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11 hours ago, Ollie77 said:

Hello all, 

My question is did the Irish guards (more particularly the 2nd battalion) use cloth shoulder titles on the western front in 1917? 

 

Thanks in advance. 

Yes they did.  In 1917 the curved and fully lettered shoulder title in line with the shoulder seam was being worn, but by 1918 that had changed to the drab khaki pattern with off white embroidered star and the letters IG beneath stitched to the upper arm.  Both types are extraordinarily rare, as few seem to have survived into post war collections given their rough usage (those serving at home seem to have been still wearing the brass type on shoulder straps, although men returned on leave, or wounded were occasionally seen in cloth according to contemporary photos).  I haven’t an Irish Guards second type to show you, but below is the Scots Guards equivalent of the same format. They were adaptable and worn on either, shoulder straps, or upper arm, according to unit preference.  I am unsure if there was any difference between 1st and 2nd Battalion practice, but it’s unlikely with titles and other means, such as vertical strips of cloth, were frequently used additionally to differentiate.

In the enclosed photos of wounded the first type cloth can be seen on the man stood at right in each case.  Also the other photo of three men with a German Maxim gun.

The second type used until the end of the war can be seen on the soldiers undergoing gas drill training in respirators circa 1918.

NB.  I have not been able to discover with certainty the colour scheme of the first type, but it seems likely to have been dark green with white lettering as was used again in WW2 and down to the present day.  The previous tradition for all units had been scarlet with white lettering, but it’s unknown if the Irish Guards ever wore that type.  The Welsh Guards certainly didn’t, but the Scots Guards did, so hence the slight element of uncertainty.

87AA758D-3C0C-43EA-8CCC-6F025B2C4329.jpeg

1A93C9A9-5F09-4E3E-A8CC-0952B749157D.jpeg

3294E1BA-040D-4237-84DE-85F3EBFCF2D7.jpeg

 

E53A0352-C432-4D82-9BED-AFF71FE688CD.jpeg

8CFB2424-4462-4BEB-98C9-FFFEE1348AF9.jpeg

5BA17EB3-3930-4D37-B29C-2E4BC01EBE38.jpeg

8AEA38BA-EEBA-4129-8102-6855988F1499.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thank you so much mate, that really helps and fully answers my question, I appreciate you using your time to help me! 

Regards, 

Ollie 

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1 hour ago, Ollie77 said:

Thank you so much mate, that really helps and fully answers my question, I appreciate you using your time to help me! 

Regards, 

Ollie 

I'm glad to help Ollie, it was interesting to research it.  Myself and one other have been working on a collaborative project in uniformology.com on the same subject for a while now, but we were not covering the Irish Guards because it fell outside our time limit, so this has been a good excuse to look into it anyway. http://www.uniformology.com/S-TITLES-00.html

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On 01/09/2021 at 08:50, FROGSMILE said:

by 1918 that had changed to the drab khaki pattern with off white embroidered star and the letters IG beneath stitched to the upper arm. 

They were adaptable and worn on either, shoulder straps, or upper arm, according to unit preference.

The second type used until the end of the war can be seen on the soldiers undergoing gas drill training in respirators circa 1918.

E53A0352-C432-4D82-9BED-AFF71FE688CD.jpeg

8CFB2424-4462-4BEB-98C9-FFFEE1348AF9.jpeg

 

 

The '1918' title described is the Irish Guards iteration of the embroidered slip-on title, introduced for all guards in June 1916, with the crescent title following in 1917.

Thus the answer to Ollie's question is both or either.

While the slip-on was indeed adaptable and could be worn either way, it was mandated to be sewn to the upper shoulder in February 1917.

This was more honoured in the breach than the observance by the army as a whole, while the Irish Guards photos of '1918' showing 'respirator drill' pre-date this order.

One assumes they did it for guards-type reasons of smartness, although Tyneside Chinaman (missing from here since 2016) posted a very good image of the Coldstreams in 1916 wearing the their slip-ons loose on the shoulder strap.

The two John Warwick Brooke images (IWM Q4231 and Q4232 respectively) showing the Irish with sewn slip-ons drilling with PH helmets were taken on the Albert Road in September 1916, rather than 1918 when you might have expected to see the SBR instead.

The guards' slip-ons are very rare - in photos and more so in life. They weren't popular with the army generally, and I imagine even less so with the guards. I have never seen an Irish one for sale, although the Scots do surface occasionally and, if my memory doesn't deceive, I have come across a Coldstream too. The Grenadiers, while having their own pattern, seemed to have eschewed them completely, being in possession of their crescent title from the outset.

Cheers,

GT.

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On 03/09/2021 at 10:23, Grovetown said:

The '1918' title described is the Irish Guards iteration of the embroidered slip-on title, introduced for all guards in June 1916, with the crescent title following in 1917.

Thus the answer to Ollie's question is both or either.

While the slip-on was indeed adaptable and could be worn either way, it was mandated to be sewn to the upper shoulder in February 1917.

This was more honoured in the breach than the observance by the army as a whole, while the Irish Guards photos of '1918' showing 'respirator drill' pre-date this order.

One assumes they did it for guards-type reasons of smartness, although Tyneside Chinaman (missing from here since 2016) posted a very good image of the Coldstreams in 1916 wearing the their slip-ons loose on the shoulder strap.

The two John Warwick Brooke images (IWM Q4231 and Q4232 respectively) showing the Irish with sewn slip-ons drilling with PH helmets were taken on the Albert Road in September 1916, rather than 1918 when you might have expected to see the SBR instead.

The guards' slip-ons are very rare - in photos and more so in life. They weren't popular with the army generally, and I imagine even less so with the guards. I have never seen an Irish one for sale, although the Scots do surface occasionally and, if my memory doesn't deceive, I have come across a Coldstream too. The Grenadiers, while having their own pattern, seemed to have eschewed them completely, being in possession of their crescent title from the outset.

Cheers,

GT.

Thank you GT for such an interesting rundown, especially the dates, which I have found tough to pin down.  I think you’re entirely right that the Guards as a whole were ambivalent about the drab slip on type titles, although they did match in configuration the gilding metal type that they were used to and that continued to be used at home.  I enclose an image of the Scots Guards preference for stitching them to the shoulder strap as opposed to the upper arm, which demonstrates well their adaptability.  

Interestingly the Guards Machine Gun Battalion (pre GMGR) were in some cases seen with the cloth title plus the metal title of the regiment from which they originated, in addition to MGC collars and GMGB cap badges, quite an array of insignia.

 Incidentally if you can help with any definitive evidence as to the colour of the Irish Guards curved title issued at that time (WW1) I’d be most grateful.  Also the Welsh Guards similarly?

The date of 1917 surprises me as these were coloured titles for all the Guards regiments and so a big departure camouflage wise from the subdued drab and off white that you point out as preceding them. It goes some way perhaps to suggest why they were unpopular, as from the enfilade position they would have made a handy aiming reference for a decent shot at close quarter battle range.

There had long been a methodology of issuing ‘patches’ bearing woven titles dating back to the 1890s, as a more efficient way than the previous manner of stitching directly to shoulder straps, and it’s struck me that the drab Guards titles appear to have been produced in that way (at least at some point) as I’ve yet to see an intact one with the herringbone tape conjoining the front and back and they tend to be much more rectangular, but with a vertical orientation as shown on the strap below.  However, that might be because the emblem and lettering were taller than the similar, two element titles of fusiliers and light infantry.  I can only assume that if they were actually configured as slip ons originally (see photos below), they were subsequently trimmed of the back by tailors under unit arrangement.

 

694BD464-CCC1-4D48-9EFA-16D8A7A34A1F.jpeg

A9241CF4-4A51-42E1-BBB4-CCFA8F693B8D.jpeg

A6F443E3-5CD3-4C1E-B52F-189E7FE3B994.jpeg

FED92470-4E6E-4BA7-AB42-A023DB79CEE9.jpeg

12C464F8-3C37-4234-AEEF-0ABD60ACAB24.jpeg

 

1EDAB030-28C5-465C-B73A-9A19C5BFDDA2.jpeg

 

E535E900-AB0E-4009-98AF-61944452B786.jpeg

EA2E454C-8EE2-483A-B8CA-47CFDA93F7DB.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Can't help on the colour of the IG titles I'm afraid.

1917 relates to the date of introduction of these titles for the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Guards - and I'm relying on forum pal Andrew Thornton for that. Apparently, only the GGs were wearing them in 1914 which suggests that the IG and SG were content with GM on SD after 1908 and until crescents disinterred. 

The orientation of the slip-ons must be a function of the narrowness of the abbreviation and mimics the GM equivalents as you see it in other, similarly brief, titles.

Cheers,

GT.

 

12311.jpg

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On 03/09/2021 at 10:57, FROGSMILE said:

Thank you GT for such an interesting rundown, especially the dates, which I have found tough to pin down.  I think you’re entirely right that the Guards as a whole were ambivalent about the drab slip on type titles, although they did match in configuration the gilding metal type that they were used to and that continued to be used at home.  I enclose an image of the Scots Guards preference for stitching them to the shoulder strap as opposed to the upper arm, which demonstrates well their adaptability.  

Interestingly the Guards Machine Gun Battalion (pre GMGR) were in some cases seen with the cloth title of the regiment from which they originated, in addition to MGC collars and GMGB cap badges, quite an array of insignia.

 Incidentally if you can help with any definitive evidence as to the colour of the Irish Guards curved title issued at that time (WW1) I’d be most grateful.  Also the Welsh Guards similarly?

The date of 1917 surprises me as these were coloured titles for all the Guards regiments and so a big departure camouflage wise from the subdued drab and off white that you point out as preceding them. It goes some way perhaps to suggest why they were unpopular, as from the enfilade position they would have made a handy aiming reference for a decent shot at close quarter battle range.

There had long been a methodology of issuing ‘patches’ bearing woven titles dating back to the 1890s, as a more efficient way than the previous manner of stitching directly to shoulder straps, and it’s struck me that the drab Guards titles appear to have been produced in that way (at least at some point) as I’ve yet to see an intact one with the herringbone tape conjoining the front and back and they tend to be much more rectangular, but with a vertical orientation as shown on the strap below.  However, that might be because the emblem and lettering were taller than the similar, two element titles of fusiliers and light infantry.  I can only assume that if they were actually configured as slip ons originally (see photos below), they were subsequently trimmed of the back by tailors under unit arrangement.

FA91ABDC-0AF9-4895-8FC9-8260BFC3AFB8.jpeg

694BD464-CCC1-4D48-9EFA-16D8A7A34A1F.jpeg

A9241CF4-4A51-42E1-BBB4-CCFA8F693B8D.jpeg

A6F443E3-5CD3-4C1E-B52F-189E7FE3B994.jpeg

FED92470-4E6E-4BA7-AB42-A023DB79CEE9.jpeg

12C464F8-3C37-4234-AEEF-0ABD60ACAB24.jpeg

E4241CC1-F2A3-4E9F-A666-6DBED292D989.jpeg

1EDAB030-28C5-465C-B73A-9A19C5BFDDA2.jpeg

Frogsmile,

 

The ASC titles you illustrate are copies emanating out of the County of Lincolnshire.

 

Regards

 

Mark 

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On 04/09/2021 at 13:28, Grovetown said:

Can't help on the colour of the IG titles I'm afraid.

1917 relates to the date of introduction of these titles for the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Guards - and I'm relying on forum pal Andrew Thornton for that. Apparently, only the GGs were wearing them in 1914 which suggests that the IG and SG were content with GM on SD after 1908 and until crescents disinterred. 

The orientation of the slip-ons must be a function of the narrowness of the abbreviation and mimics the GM equivalents as you see it in other, similarly brief, titles.

Cheers,

GT.

 

12311.jpg

Thanks for the reply regarding Irish Guards, the search for clarification goes on, although I’m increasingly thinking it was green.

The Grenadier Guards deployed in 1914 with gilding metal shoulder titles as per the rest of the Brigade.  See the mobilisation images below.

Regarding the orientation of the drab titles, I agree that the short designations required a different arrangement, but as I mentioned above that was similar to the fusilier and light infantry units, whose titles also had dual elements.  The significant difference with the Foot Guards was the larger lettering, of the same dimension as that used for ASC, RGA, AOC, etc.

8C329053-B0F5-413D-A86B-60818E5C793C.jpeg

AE8E006B-060C-4C18-BF00-56DCB515C630.jpeg

7C0C49A8-69D3-48CE-9546-6BCE11FBF2EA.jpeg

E9710AF5-326A-4A14-811B-FE024624FC81.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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This shows the band in 1915 in France still wearing gilding metal titles.

C760C35F-197D-4965-B643-609D379C6FD5.jpeg

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And this shows 1st Bn GG complete with wound and overseas stripes, so late in the war, but wearing curved cloth shoulder titles as we discussed earlier GT.

9C5FDAD7-E7D7-4B38-A95B-759A2C53BBB0.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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19 minutes ago, mark holden said:

Frogsmile,

 

The ASC titles you illustrate are copies emanating out of the County of Lincolnshire.

 

Regards

 

Mark 

Thanks Mark.  I’m not really bothered that they’re reproduction as my intent was purely to show the method of manufacture via the tape on the back.  Here are some genuine examples to confirm.

E34B2F33-258E-47EA-8DE3-6ECD26099DE3.jpeg

BDC106D7-3FC4-4990-AB34-B9A0566BEC92.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Frogsmile,

 

yes I do understand that but people do sometimes use GWF posts as references prior to purchase. The second pair you have shown are spot on.

 

regards

 

Mark

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2 minutes ago, mark holden said:

Frogsmile,

 

yes I do understand that but people do sometimes use GWF posts as references prior to purchase. The second pair you have shown are spot on.

 

regards

 

Mark

Thanks Mark.  Hopefully people will actually read the text and the useful date information that GT and you have provided.

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One would certainly hope so but in some cases you can lead a horse etc.

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Two variants of Grenadier Guards titles. The slip on has a separate ball stitched to the slide a considerably over complicated design and hardly practical if one considers the rubbing of equipment straps 

9DC7D583-655E-489E-8F0C-43FB8160420E.jpeg

228C1DEA-D78E-449F-A1E2-05F10A3E422F.jpeg

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On 04/09/2021 at 19:05, mark holden said:

Two variants of Grenadier Guards titles. The slip on has a separate ball stitched to the slide a considerably over complicated design and hardly practical if one considers the rubbing of equipment straps 

9DC7D583-655E-489E-8F0C-43FB8160420E.jpeg

228C1DEA-D78E-449F-A1E2-05F10A3E422F.jpeg

Fantastic images, thank you very much for posting them Mark.  It’s especially useful to see the drab type with its double tapes.  Much appreciated.  I will be most grateful for similar images if you ever come across the directly equivalent titles for the Irish and Welsh Guards.

See enclosed your curved coloured title worn by two wounded Grenadier Guardsmen.

164413AA-841A-4CE4-8F36-5BF81BCAF05A.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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16 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

The Grenadier Guards deployed in 1914 with gilding metal shoulder titles as per the rest of the Brigade.  See two mobilisation images below.

8C329053-B0F5-413D-A86B-60818E5C793C.jpeg

AE8E006B-060C-4C18-BF00-56DCB515C630.jpeg

Not for long or at least mixed use.

I take your GG GM titles, and raise them with RSM Parkin at 1st Ypres 1914 and HRH The Prince of Wales leading his company in 1914. The link to the IWM site shows the title in the second image much more clearly (it's an image they try to monetise):  https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205286508

Cheers,

GT.

 

 

RSM Parkin, Grenadier Guards, 1914.jpg

mev-10223549.jpg

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16 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

And this shows 1st Bn GG complete with wound and overseas stripes, so late in the war, but wearing curved cloth shoulder titles as we discussed earlier GT.

9C5FDAD7-E7D7-4B38-A95B-759A2C53BBB0.jpeg

With respect, 1918, so doesn't really inform the debate.

To supplement Mark's pix, one of my pair of GG titles, recently sold. 

Cheers,

GT.

gg.jpg

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good morning,

here are 2 tables that I made n relation with the units of the guard :

Guards.JPG.a8172c112bf1ae0dfa5dafa9cffcd037.JPG

IMG_20210905_142539.jpg.75cabe86195a614b44c2b6bbb784458e.jpg

regards

michel

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6 hours ago, Grovetown said:

With respect, 1918, so doesn't really inform the debate.

To supplement Mark's pix, one of my pair of GG titles, recently sold. 

Cheers,

GT.

gg.jpg

I thought it clear that my intent was backing up the dating information that you provided earlier, not informing a debate, hence why I said “late in the war” and emphasised the overseas stripes, but no matter.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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On 05/09/2021 at 10:19, Grovetown said:

Not for long or at least mixed use.

I take your GG GM titles, and raise them with RSM Parkin at 1st Ypres 1914 and HRH The Prince of Wales leading his company in 1914. The link to the IWM site shows the title in the second image much more clearly (it's an image they try to monetise):  https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205286508

Cheers,

GT.

 

 

RSM Parkin, Grenadier Guards, 1914.jpg

mev-10223549.jpg

Nevertheless, it’s factually what they wore upon mobilisation and during the early fighting (retreat from Mons, etc.) in 1914.

NB.  With regards to the RSM the initial issue of curved coloured titles to all the infantry and the Guards was aligned with the issue of 1902 SD and they remained in use until superseded by gilding metal in 1907, so it seems likely that that would explain the occasional mixed usage in the field in 1914.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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3 hours ago, battle of loos said:

good morning,

here are 2 tables that I made n relation with the units of the guard :

Guards.JPG.a8172c112bf1ae0dfa5dafa9cffcd037.JPG

IMG_20210905_142539.jpg.75cabe86195a614b44c2b6bbb784458e.jpg

regards

michel

Thank you Michel, very interesting to see.

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And Coldstream Guards from around 1916 with gilding metal titles.  Two men are holders of the Victoria Cross, but only the lowermost with metal emblem, and one a Military Medal.  Notice the battalion numeral on the upper arms that are visible.

A89BA7CE-22E5-4C9A-BB5D-073B215E637A.jpeg

76EC8326-2FD6-48C5-B121-7569F362E6DA.jpeg

83599FAD-1F0D-4701-ADB4-26CD036F2853.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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One Grenadier Guard with slip on title on his shoulder strap and one with coloured, curved title (the latter 3rd Battalion).

C0561D41-906C-4EAE-96AD-03143CA57C41.jpeg

A8BC0C1E-82E5-4E14-8225-7AEE785638D2.jpeg

574FAD6E-277B-404C-9E5F-8CD43705C22E.jpeg

F7BC1324-373D-407F-BFC2-7BEDBA99258C.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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