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findabetterole

British Embroidered Shoulder Titles

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findabetterole

Hello Chums,

Here is another area of British WW.1 uniform emblazonement that I have never really been that much interested in, until a few months ago.

From memory, there were distinct differences between a soldiers uniform and regimental markings for both of the World Wars. One of those differences being in the regimental title identification; yellow brass titles for WW.1, worn upon the shoulder epillete, and embroidered titles worn on the upper arm just below the shoulder seam.

Since forming my WW.1 British reenectment / living history group here in California, I have noticed many British WW.1 groups here in the USA sporting the WW.2 style shoulder titles.

My question is, "When did the British Army start wearing embroidered regimental shoulder titles?" :excl:<_<

Seph

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Willywombat

Introduced in 1902 with the new Service Dress.

Abolished 1907, and metal ones introduced, although the Brigade of Guards continued to use cloth ones.

Source: British Army Uniforms and Insignia of WW2, Brian L Davis.

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pbrydon

There are many examples of other ranks wearing embroidered cloth titles ( often at the same time as metal ones) during WW1 examples being " The Liverpool Rifles"and"The Liverpool Scottish" as well as a number of London territorial battalions.

P.B.

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findabetterole

Thank you for that information chaps, much appreciated; its certainly filled a gap in my knowledge.

Is there an acessable listing anywhere which itemizes the units that are known to have worn the embroidered titles during The Great War?

Seph

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pbrydon

I am not aware of any lists of the units which wore cloth titles ( that is not to say that one does not exist) but if you decide to start a collection of these, please take care as many have been reproduced.

P.B.

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yellow

Your could try the OSPREY Man at Arms series.

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T8HANTS

If you count the Rifle Volunteers as part of the British Army, this Isle of Wight R.V. shoulder title which was worn in the late 1880's, puts embroidered titles much further back, than 1902.

Gareth

post-890-1198838810.jpg

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Graham Stewart

Gareth,

I think Seph more concerned about the cloth titles on SD rather than the full dress embroided shoulder strap titles, which had been in use since 1856, when Regt of Foot numbers were used then changed to embroided Regimental titles in 1881. Those on regular scarlet tunics didn't disappear until 1913, with the introduction of a new pattern shoulder strap, although I have noted that Territorials were wearing a 1909 pattern scarlet tunic with metal titles.

post-7376-1198841932.jpg

Original shoulder titles on SD were basically white on red for infantry, while Corps and KRRC & RB wore there own pattern. They were usually worn in two parts, the upper one being the unit title and below was usually worn the battalion numeral(see attached). These are the titles which weren't abolished until 1907 and some Volunteer/Territorial units hung onto theirs, replacing 'V's with 'T's. It's c.1907 that we start and see metal titles introduced onto new SD shoulder straps.

post-7376-1198841402.jpg

These are the cloth shoulder titles introduced during the Great War(late 1916 I believe), which were originally worn on shoulder straps and then moved on the top of the sleeve below the seam and above other Brigade/Divisional patches.

Graham.

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Joe Sweeney

Seph,

To add to what Graham has posted the slip-on worsted shoulder titles were introduced in early 1916 (actual pattern sealing started in late 1915) to replace the brass titles (as far as I can tell all units had pattern seealed examples but not sure all had manufactured examples). These never really were popular at least from them actually replacing the brass titles, howver photos of these things in use in France are fairly common.

As introduced they slipped on the shoulder tab. However at least by Feb 1917 the BEF issued a GRO 2137 (13.2.17) which stated that all worsted shoulder titles will in future be worn on the sleeve just below the point of the shoulder. This GRO may have been preceded by an ACI--but I'm not sure.

Joe Sweeney

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john gregory

Hi, here is an exellent photo showing a soldier of the 2nd Manchesters showing a brass Manchester shoulder title with a white on khaki cloth Manchester slip-on sown on just above his red diamond and 3 company bars. Johnpost-20062-1198854258.jpg

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pbrydon

I think Bootnecks is referring to the coloured cloth titles sometimes worn at the same time as metal titles, examples of which are illustrated in British Territorial Units 1914-18 by Westlake/Chappell.

For example, plate G2 shows a member of The Rangers (1/12 County of London Bn ) wearing both a blackened brass title and an embroidered red/rifle green title "Rangers "

There is a similar photo on page 44 of a member of the Civil Service Rifles wearing a red-orange on Khaki title " Civil Service Rifles ". ( also page 36 for an example for the London Rifle Brigade )

P.B.

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john gregory
Hello Chums,

Here is another area of British WW.1 uniform emblazonement that I have never really been that much interested in, until a few months ago.

From memory, there were distinct differences between a soldiers uniform and regimental markings for both of the World Wars. One of those differences being in the regimental title identification; yellow brass titles for WW.1, worn upon the shoulder epillete, and embroidered titles worn on the upper arm just below the shoulder seam.

Since forming my WW.1 British reenectment / living history group here in California, I have noticed many British WW.1 groups here in the USA sporting the WW.2 style shoulder titles.

My question is, "When did the British Army start wearing embroidered regimental shoulder titles?" :excl:<_<

Seph

Hi, another exellent photo of a Notts and Derby (circa 1902) volunteer showing his Notts and Derby 2 V white on red cloth title. Johnpost-20062-1198855637.jpg

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findabetterole

Thanks chaps, I knew the forum would come through! :D

It was actually these two period contempary photographs that I came across which spurned my interest... (top line)

Both photographs are dated mid War, and as you can see, all of the soldiers present are wearing (what I used to consider as... ) the WW.2 style of 'sew-on' shoulder titles. I thought nothing more of it until attending a WW.1 reenactment as a guest of another unit. Thats when I started to notice the abundance of this style of regimental identification. Its been mentionerd that that the WW.1 style was 'white lettering upon Khaki', with Graham Stewart and John gregory illustrating that fact. Thank you 'T8Hants' for including that superb example of Victorian Uniform Artwork.

Taking into account the above details, and in particular the details of the Grenadier Guardsmens regimental identification in the first two photographs, here is an example from WW.1 reenactment units encountered here in the USA recently...

As you can see, the detailed colours do not conform to those mentioned in this thread. Is this purely a case of the reenactors miss-assumption?

Seph :mellow:

post-18081-1198864453.jpg

post-18081-1198864488.jpg

post-18081-1198865180.jpg

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Graham Stewart

Seph,

The Guards as always bucked the trend and continued to wear the old pattern cloth title after 1907 at the top of the sleeve, but whether or not they were rounded at each end I couldn't honestly say. Nor am I 100% certain of the colours, although Grenadiers were still white on red, the Irish were I believe white on green. The Scots and Welsh wore titles at this time too, but couldn't say for certain if the Scots wore white on blue or if this was a later adoption. Apparently the Coldstreams were the odd ones out and didn't wear any titles apart from Battalion indicators. Machine Gun Guards again wore white on red, but it was two tier and the title ends were straight.

Graham.

Wonder if any of the lads have a photo of a Scots or Welsh Guardsman, who as it so happens were actually Privates at this time, in their collections?

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pbrydon

The Liverpool Rifles wore an enbroidered cloth title in red on rifle green.In an article in The formation Sign the magazine of the Military Heraldry Society of Jan-March 2007 there is an article in which it says " In March 1924,the C.O. of the 6th Kings wrote to the H.Q. of the 55th West Lancs Division to ask permission to retain in wear the cloth shoulder title " Liverpool Rifles", the unit made it clear that the battalion had worn the title throughout the (first world ) war and since then and that they were purchased from regimental funds.

The War Office approved the request in June 1924 with the proviso that the titles must be provided under regimental arrangements and that the unit continued to wear the authorised metal title on the SD shoulder strap as well.

Also attached is an example of the cloth title worn by the Liverpool Scottish

Other than possibly the Guards,I wonder if the use of these coloured titles was resticted to the territorials ?

Someone is bound to know.

P.B.

post-63-1198869417.jpg

post-63-1198871296.jpg

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Graham Stewart

post-7376-1198874623.jpg

A 20th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers(1st Tyneside Scottish) title using the same colours as the LS. The arrangement of colours for the Tyneside Scottish were;-

1st T.S. = Scarlet.

2nd T.S. = Yellow.

3rd T.S. = Black.

4th T.S. = Light Blue.

post-7376-1198875027.jpg

The metal shoulder titles as we would see them for a Territorial battalion.

Graham.

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Graham Stewart

post-7376-1198875410.jpg

As you probably well know I bang on occassionally about the 1916-1918 Volunteer Force, which followed the VTC. Well this an extremely rare example of a cloth Cadet title worn by Northumberland Volunteer Cadets c.1918.

Graham.

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Joe Sweeney

I have a SD jacket and SD cap to Pte. Henry Baines of the 5th Bn (res) Coldstream Guards. No embroidered titles there as would be expected of that regiment and since it was stationed at Windsor very much according to the book.

If we are talking about the Guards the Grenadier and Scots Guards had titles of white embroiderd on red (the 2nd Scots Guards also had a thistle embroiderd below Scots Guards). The Irish White on green--not sure about the Welsh Guards. Not sure if worn through the whole war but I believe that maybe not. That is I recall that the titles were not prevelant in early war photo's, but very common after the Somme.

I have the effects of Pte James Rice of the Irish Guards who was invalided out in June 1916 and he seemed to have saved a good portion of his insignia, ID dics etc. I have his GM titles but not any embroidered ones.

Oddly on 16 June 1916 all the Guards Regiments had the slip on white embroidered on drab melton wool pattern approved. I can't recall a single photo of these ever being worn? Anyone seen a photo?

Joe Sweeney

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findabetterole

Very informative so far chaps.. keep it coming!

Seph :D

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pbrydon

Attached is a scan of part of a Liverpool Scottish embroidered shoulder strap. I have to confess that I am not certain of the exact date it was worn so it might not be WW1.

P.B.

post-63-1198917476.jpg

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Joe Sweeney

Seph,

Here is a little more info:

Per Army Order 10/1902 (App. A) a whole series of embroidered titles with battalion numbers were introduced for Service Dress.

Cavalry—Blue letters on yellow ground

Royal Artillery-Red letters on blue ground

Royal Engineers---Blue letters on red ground

Infantry----White letters on red ground

Army Service Corps---Blue letters on white ground

Royal Army Medical Corps---Cherry letters on white ground

Army Ordnance Corps---Red letters on white ground

Army Pay Corps----Yellow letters on white ground

The titles were embroidered on a curved strip. A companion battalion number, for Infantry, in white on red wool was also issued as a separate piece. These were to be sewn on the sleeve 1 inch below the shoulders of the jackets, with the title near the shoulder and the number just below.

These titles were declared obsolete on 20 November 1907. In fact the DEOS had to issue orders to actually take these things out of service on 16 July 1908 and replace with GM titles or bring GM titles up to date.

Gilded Metal (GM) Titles began to be issued in 1904/05 when the new SD jacket with fixed Shoulder straps was introduced in 1904. Both the jacket with cords (w/embroidered titles) and the jacket with fixed Shgoulder strap (GM titles) were worn side-by side from 1904 until July 1908 when the corded jackets and embroidered titles were ordered withdrawn. It is also fairly common to find photos of jackets with fixed shoulder straps and the earlier embroidered titles in photos circa 1905 through 07/8.

This order and subsequant orders do not take into account for the specialty titles that the T.F. force units were known to have and used through-out the Great War.

Nor I don't think it accounts for the Guards embroidered titles. Not sure if the Guards continued to wear or unofficially reintroduced the embrodiered titles for themselves during the war.

Joe Sweeney

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Joe Sweeney

I had asked if anyone had seen a photo of anyone in the Guards wearing slip=on titles.

I was going through variuos books looking at photos for not particular reason when these caught my eye.

It is a very common photo of the Irish Guards going through Gas Helmet inspection. These photos are from S. Bull's book on the World War One British Army.

It is described as being taken in Sept 1916.

If you look at the shoulder it appears that these may be the slip-ons approved in June 1916 sewn to the shoulder. This post dates them being available and pre-dates the general BEF order to sew them to the shoulder.

The Irish Guards Slip-on had the initials IG with a Star above (White Embroidered on drab Melton)

Does anyone have access to a better quality photo to confirm that is what these are?

If these are the slip=ons they were short lived and replaced in 1917 with the arched title in White on Green.

Joe Sweeney

post-57-1199095477.jpg

post-57-1199095521.jpg

post-57-1199095537.jpg

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Muerrisch

Referring back to #13, I am intrigued that no-one has drawn attention to the GG NCO. Three chevrons, grenade, crossed swords above ....... so, what rank is he, and does he hold an appointment, and what is it?

I think I know.

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Graham Stewart

Grumpy,

Probably one of your trick questions this - so I'll hedge my bets and say Colour Sgt. Possibly not a wise answer as I believe the grenade should be above the crossed swords. So would the positioning of the crossed swords make him "trade" i.e. Sgt PTI?

Standing by for an education.

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Muerrisch

Graham I agree: I believe he is a sergeant PTI: the grenade is a 'regimental' badge of course. A CSgt should have a crown above all the other bits and pieces. We really need a GG expert, but the absence of the crown convinces me. If we are right, a nice rare hit!

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