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Officer's pips WW1 or WW2?


dutchbarge
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I'm hoping that some of the members can help me with this question. Regarding OSD shoulder strap metal rank badges, what was proper for WW1? I've a bewildering array of pips. I've shiny brass (gilded?), naturally oxidized brass, chemically darkened brass (running in colors from brown to black), painted brass and lastly shiny brass pips with red enameled center/green enameled leaves. Crowns come in two styles, those that are plain brass and those that are brass with red felt backing. Both styles run a similar gamet as pips, bright brass, naturally oxidized brass, chemically darkened brass and painted brass.

I'm aware that metal pips/crowns were worn on both OSD tunics and OSD overcoats. Which pips go with which?

Are there any differences between WW1 and WW2 pips/crowns?

Thanks, Bill

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dutchbarge said:
I'm hoping that some of the members can help me with this question. Regarding OSD shoulder strap metal rank badges, what was proper for WW1? I've a bewildering array of pips. I've shiny brass (gilded?), naturally oxidized brass, chemically darkened brass (running in colors from brown to black), painted brass and lastly shiny brass pips with red enameled center/green enameled leaves. Crowns come in two styles, those that are plain brass and those that are brass with red felt backing. Both styles run a similar gamet as pips, bright brass, naturally oxidized brass, chemically darkened brass and painted brass.

I'm aware that metal pips/crowns were worn on both OSD tunics and OSD overcoats. Which pips go with which?

Are there any differences between WW1 and WW2 pips/crowns?

Thanks, Bill

Bill, each regiment and corps set its own pattern with approval by the Army Dress committee, although the variations do not reflect the large number of units. Foot and Horse Guards 'pips' (a word they would never use) were/are based on various Knightly Orders (e.g. Garter Star (1st, 2nd, 5th Foot Guards,) St Andrew Star (3rd Foot Guards) and St Patricks Star (4th Foot Guards) Household Cavalry (enamelled Garter Stars)) and were unique to Household Troops. Both Line cavalry and Line infantry wore the Bath Star 'pips' of varying sizes, and just a few wore an unusually large 'pip' called the 'Eversleigh Star' (I am unsure of the significance of that pattern). Equally, regiments chose either gilt or bronzed finishes (often referred to as OSDB - Officers' Service Dress Bronze) depending on whether they had gilt or bronze buttons and collar devices. Some Rifle Regiments had blackened pips to match their buttons, which were often made of black bone enscribed or embossed with a bugle device. Enameled, or wire embroidered pips were generally worn on dressier uniforms only.

There is no easy answer I'm afraid and you would need to refer to each regiment's dress regulations to get a definitive answer. You should also remember that the official regulation for all (ignored by the Guards - who to this day tend to do their own thing), was to wear cuff embellishments to indicate rank and this stayed the case until 1920, although many regiments increasingly copied the Guards policy of wearing rank on shoulder straps where it was more discreet and made the wearer less of a target to enemy snipers. In some units pips worn on Greatcoats were larger than those worn on SD but this was by no means a universal practice. In matters of dress one should always remember that as a French officer once said: (I paraphrase): there is no such thing as 'the British Army', it is more a loose confederation of individual regiments (and to which I might add - each with their own traditions and dress idiosyncracies). Very few regiments/corps changed the pattern of pip that they wore between WW1 and WW2 but they were by then universally worn on shoulder straps only. Perhaps a good policy for you (if you are a re-enactor) is to choose the dress of a regiment that wore the Eversleigh Star, such as the South Wales Borderers.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thanks FROGSMILE. Great information. No, my re-enactor days are long over. I'm working on restoring an osd tunic to Major (temp. lt. col.) C.J, Troyte-Bullock, 7/SLI. Dated mid 1917, it was made as a shoulder rank tunic. I've seen 1915 photos of him in a cuff rank tunic so obviously the 7/SLI converted to 'wind up' tunics (at least in Europe) during the war. The tunic was missing its stars and crowns and I've been trying to restore the correct ones to the tunic. THe buttons are bright brass and the collar dogs are OSD bronze. Don't suppose you could direct me to a 1917 vintage SLI uniform regulation book?

Failing to determine the absolute correct set for mid 1917 7/SLI I'd settle for an approximate set. That's why I asked if the stars with red enamel and crowns with red felt backing have any specific meaning. Or if they were worn during WW1 or were a post war design. Cheers, Bill

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Thanks FROGSMILE. Great information. No, my re-enactor days are long over. I'm working on restoring an osd tunic to Major (temp. lt. col.) C.J, Troyte-Bullock, 7/SLI. Dated mid 1917, it was made as a shoulder rank tunic. I've seen 1915 photos of him in a cuff rank tunic so obviously the 7/SLI converted to 'wind up' tunics (at least in Europe) during the war. The tunic was missing its stars and crowns and I've been trying to restore the correct ones to the tunic. THe buttons are bright brass and the collar dogs are OSD bronze. Don't suppose you could direct me to a 1917 vintage SLI uniform regulation book?

Failing to determine the absolute correct set for mid 1917 7/SLI I'd settle for an approximate set. That's why I asked if the stars with red enamel and crowns with red felt backing have any specific meaning. Or if they were worn during WW1 or were a post war design. Cheers, Bill

Bill,

You might find the following of use in researching Major (temp. lt. col.) C.J, Troyte-Bullock, 7/SLI. In particular the National Archives (NA) where any surviving records for officers of the Great War are held:

The majority of Archive material including photographs relating to the Somerset Light Infantry is held by the Somerset Archive and Record Service on long term loan. In addition to this material, the following is held at "the Rifles" Taunton Office for research purposes:

a. An extensive library which contains:

The Regimental Histories.

Other titles relating to The Somerset Light Infantry.

Military history books of a more general nature.

Army Lists (not complete).

Regimental Journals.

b. lst World War Battalion War Diaries.

c. lst World War Battalion Muster Rolls [lst Battalion (complete), 6th and 7th Battalions (incomplete)].

The Rifles Office is happy to carry out research on any aspect of the histories of the County Regiments of Somerset, or for individuals to visit the Office to carry out research themselves (if the latter, by appointment please). The Office only has a limited ability to carry out research on individual officers or soldiers as it does not hold the personal records of those who served in the County Regiments. These are the property of the State. Those wishing to research personal records are advised in the first place to contact either the National Archives or Army Personnel Centre Historical Disclosures Section (see below).

Research by the Rifles Office is carried out on a voluntary basis and a research fee is not charged. However, a donation towards the Somerset military Museum, which is a Registered Charity (No. 1064932) is always most welcome (cheque/PO payable to Somerset Military Museum Trust). In the case of payment from overseas, this should be by bankers cheque in Pounds Sterling to be drawn on a UK bank or by Sterling notes. If you wish us to carry out research on your behalf, it would be appreciated if a first class stamp to help towards postage could be enclosed with your request. Please give as much information as possible including, if you know them, the indivdual's full name, date of birth, Regimental Number and Battalion designation.

The address of the Rifles Taunton Office is 14, Mount Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3QE; Tel: 01823 333434; email: info@sommilmuseum.org.uk.

Click here to view research examples.

Other Sources of Information

Somerset Archive and Record Service (See above for archive material held) Somerset Record Office Obridge Road Taunton, TA2 7PU Search Room Appointments only tel: 01823 337600

Other Enquiries: 01823 278805

Fax: 01823 325402

E-mail: archives@somerset.gov.uk

Web Site: http://www.somerset.gov.uk/archives

National Archives (NA)

Ruskin Avenue

Kew

Richmond

Surrey TW9 4DU

Tel: 0208-876-3444

Web Site: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

The NA holds the personal service records of soldiers and officers who served until 1920. Only a small percentage of the WW1 service records survive, the majority having been destroyed during WW2.

The NA also holds the following:

Pay Lists.

Muster Rolls.

Records of pensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Medal Rolls for campaigns between 1793 and 1904.

Medal Index Cards (WO 372) and Medal Rolls (WO 329) for WW1, which lists the medals awarded to individuals and may confirm name, Army number, rank or Regiment, and the medal roll books in Regimental or unit order (1914 Star, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and Silver War Badge.

War Diaries for WW1 and WW2.

Army Personel Centre

HQ Secretariat

Historical Disclosures

Mail Point 400

Kentigern House

65 Brown Street

Glasgow G2 8EX

Tel: 0141 2243303/2023

The APC Historical Disclosures Section holds personal service records of soldiers and officers between 1921 and 1997. For ex-Army personnel, or their widows/widowers, It can supply statements of service or confirmation of particular aspects of service from the records it holds. This service is free. It can also provide the same service for members of the family or other members of the public, subject to the consent of the next of kin and the payment of a fee.

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Bill

The great majority of metal pips and crowns worn by line infantry on SD during the war would have been the standard pattern and bronzed, ie. browned. A small size of pip is seen as well as the normal size. The best bet for your man is a pair of bronzed crowns with no cloth backing.

Regards,

W.

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Time and time again I continue to be awed by the generosity of Forum members when I ask for their help. Thanks again to FROGSMILE for this comprehensive information. I'm sure it will be a gold mine of information on Col. Troyte-Bullock, DSO. It would have taken me all night to have set down all you had to offer. I'm most appreciative. I've also been greatly helped by Brendon Moorhouse who besides having written 'Forged in Fire', a great tome about the 7th/SLI, has thru this Forum offered tips and information about Troyte-Bullock. And Wainfleet, I'm going to do just as you suggest. Thanks all! Cheers, Bill

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  • 6 years later...

The Eversleigh Stars were adopted by the Middlesex Regiment in the nineteen twenties. The story that I heard was that when 1st Battalion was brigaded with the Guards at Aldershot in 1923 - 1926 they wore the stars so as to fit in with Guards Officers when on parade together.

The Eversleigh Stars were retained by the Queens Regiment when it was formed from the merger of the Queens Royal Surreys, Royal West Kents, Royal Sussex and Middlesex to form the Queens in 1966. They were retained a second time in 1992 when the Queens merged with the Royal Hampshires.

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The Eversleigh Stars were adopted by the Middlesex Regiment in the nineteen twenties. The story that I heard was that when 1st Battalion was brigaded with the Guards at Aldershot in 1923 - 1926 they wore the stars so as to fit in with Guards Officers when on parade together.

The Eversleigh Stars were retained by the Queens Regiment when it was formed from the merger of the Queens Royal Surreys, Royal West Kents, Royal Sussex and Middlesex to form the Queens in 1966. They were retained a second time in 1992 when the Queens merged with the Royal Hampshires.

They are worn by two successor regiments currently. The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Royal Welsh (as the SWB had worn them unoffcially since the 1890s).

The Eversleigh star (very squared looking) looks nothing like the Garter Star used by the Coldstream Guards, so I think that the anecdote you related is spurious.

There is more on this here: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=101625

post-599-0-06484000-1428926449_thumb.jpg

post-599-0-39049800-1428926459_thumb.jpg

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They are worn by two successor regiments currently. The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Royal Welsh (as the SWB had worn them unoffcially since the 1890s).

The Eversleigh star (very squared looking) looks nothing like the Bath Star used by the Coldstream Guards, so I think that the anecdote you related is spurious.

Bill and Frogsmile,

Here is the bullion version of a Captain's shoulder insignia on a KGV Grenadier Guard's Captain's parade tunic in my Collection.

Regards,

LF

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post-63666-0-05522800-1428949033_thumb.j

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Bill and Frogsmile,

Here is the bullion version of a Captain's shoulder insignia on a KGV Grenadier Guard's Captain's parade tunic in my Collection.

Regards,

LF

Those too are Garter stars, also used by the Welsh Guards. The Scots Guards use Order of the Thistle and the Irish Guards Order of St Patrick.
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What exactly are Eversleigh stars, where did the name come from?

Mick

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They are worn by two successor regiments currently. The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Royal Welsh (as the SWB had worn them unoffcially since the 1890s).

The Eversleigh star (very squared looking) looks nothing like the Garter Star used by the Coldstream Guards, so I think that the anecdote you related is spurious.

I didn't make it clear in my post that it was more to do with size than shape. As you probably know, Eversleigh Stars are much larger than, for example, those that I wore in the Royal Signals.

I got the story, independently, from several members of the Middlesex Regiment many years ago. I checked my copy of the Regimental History of the Middlesex between the wars and, sure enough, the 1st Battalion was indeed brigaded with the Guards at Aldershot in the 1920s.

BTW, I wonder when enamelling was introduced. I have a pair (ex-Middlesex) that were given to me donkeys ago and four that I bought at Moss Bros. (the last ones that they had in stock) in Covent Garden in the 1970s. Nether set are enamelled.

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I didn't make it clear in my post that it was more to do with size than shape. As you probably know, Eversleigh Stars are much larger than, for example, those that I wore in the Royal Signals.

I got the story, independently, from several members of the Middlesex Regiment many years ago. I checked my copy of the Regimental History of the Middlesex between the wars and, sure enough, the 1st Battalion was indeed brigaded with the Guards at Aldershot in the 1920s.

BTW, I wonder when enamelling was introduced. I have a pair (ex-Middlesex) that were given to me donkeys ago and four that I bought at Moss Bros. (the last ones that they had in stock) in Covent Garden in the 1970s. Nether set are enamelled.

I understand what you mean about the differing size but still doubt the anecdote. The 'Diehards' were an incredibly proud regiment with good reason and I think they would find it vulgar to change their rank stars on the basis of your's are bigger than mine and that's not fair. Imagine how they would have been ridiculed.

I think that the enamelled pips are connected with the Blue Patrol uniform and probably came into use around 1913, when two types (i.e. Patterns that were optional) for individual officers were introduced. If not then, another pattern (basically a reintroduction of Blue Patrols) was decreed in 1940.

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I understand what you mean about the differing size but still doubt the anecdote. The 'Diehards' were an incredibly proud regiment with good reason and I think they would find it vulgar to change their rank stars on the basis of your are bigger than mine and that's not fraud. Imagine how they would have been ridiculed.

Well the Middlesex was my family and County Regiment and that was the story from them.

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Even though the original question is 7 years old now, the following might be of interest:

http://postimg.org/image/cy04511i1/full/

DCLI_Rank_pips.jpg

I photographed these at the DCLI Museum several years ago. Though dated to 1933 I believe this to be in error (perhaps when they were last updated or similar) as they seem to be part of a series of items including some relating to the cuff-ranked SD that was already well out of date by this time. I like the doubt expressed as to which might be correct for a greatcoat...

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Well the Middlesex was my family and County Regiment and that was the story from them.

No offence is meant. You must believe what you want to believe. Why don't you contact the Middx Regt part of the PWRR regimental museum and see what they say about your theory?

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Even though the original question is 7 years old now, the following might be of interest:

http://postimg.org/image/cy04511i1/full/

DCLI_Rank_pips.jpg

I photographed these at the DCLI Museum several years ago. Though dated to 1933 I believe this to be in error (perhaps when they were last updated or similar) as they seem to be part of a series of items including some relating to the cuff-ranked SD that was already well out of date by this time. I like the doubt expressed as to which might be correct for a greatcoat...

Yes, they are very interesting Andrew.

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I would suggest that the only way to be certain with any regiment or corps is to find the Regimental Standing Orders or Dress Instructions governing the period in question. Those documents would identify if any unique choices had been made by the regiment regarding size or finish of stars and crowns for each uniform, especially if they deviated from Army regulations. Even photographs can be tricky without having a few for corroboration, you never know when you're holding a photo of that one officer who liked to blaze his own path in terms of dress and accoutrements when away from the Colonel and the Adjutant.

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I would suggest that the only way to be certain with any regiment or corps is to find the Regimental Standing Orders or Dress Instructions governing the period in question. Those documents would identify if any unique choices had been made by the regiment regarding size or finish of stars and crowns for each uniform, especially if they deviated from Army regulations. Even photographs can be tricky without having a few for corroboration, you never know when you're holding a photo of that one officer who liked to blaze his own path in terms of dress and accoutrements when away from the Colonel and the Adjutant.

Yes, as per the second post in this thread.

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Many 'pips'include three bishops mitres. The pip should be worn so that the mitres are the right way up.

Old Tom

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That should be easy, with the design of the wreath, but should they face towards the officers head or backwards with the base of the wreath and the bottoms of the mitres facing towards the front of the body?

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That should be easy, with the design of the wreath, but should they face towards the officers head or backwards with the base of the wreath and the bottoms of the mitres facing towards the front of the body?

Bases of wreaths all aligned and facing bottom of shoulder strap (and title if there is one) longtitidinally. As is also the case for Guards with the garter star. The buckle of the garter towards bottom of shoulder strap.

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I've just checked and my RA Lt has all four pips upside down.

Heres one for you - , In the early 80's I was posted to Aldershot, to the Cambridge Military Hospital. That is where the Army Blood Transfusion HQ was based. Tradition was that the RAMC Lt/Col commanding of that unit wore the pip and crown the wrong way round, going way when the MO's more or less civilians in uniform and one turned up on a parade so dressed. I have absolutely no evidence of any facts, why or when and have never been able to confirm it.

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I thought the story of the pip over crown RAMC Lt Col was because he was promoted in the field and to save time sewed a pip on to his Major's rank slides rather than remove the crown, sew it on in a different position and then sew the pip on.

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Could well be.

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