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Remembered Today:

62ND Div. Battle Patches

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Does anyone have any information on what Battle Patches were actually worn by the 8TH West Yorkshire Regiment in 1918.

I know that they should have worn a blue circle, ie. the Senior Battalion in the 185TH Brigade, 62ND Division. However, in the few photos from this period that I have seen, they do not appear to wear any, although, other Battalions from the 62ND Division do have visible patches.

Perhaps it was because of the amalgamation of 1/8 TH W.Y. & 2/8TH W.Y. in Feb. 1918.

Anybody have any information or theories?

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The situation as far as battle patches worn by 185th Brigade would have been very confused in 1918 due to units being moved about so much.

As you probably know, the scheme up to January 1918 was as follows:

All battalions of 185th Brigade wore circular cloth patches -

2/5 W. Yorks - Dark Blue

2/6 W. Yorks - Red

2/7 W. Yorks - Yellow

2/8 W. Yorks - Dark Green

2/8 W. Yorks were absorbed by the 1/8th Bn on 30th Jan 1918, so became the 8th Battalion and retained the Dark Green circle at this time, while the 2/6th Bn left to amalgamate with the 1/6th Bn in 49th Division.

The 1/5th Devons replaced the 2/7th Bn in June, while 2/20th Londons joined th brigade in August, replacing the 2/5th Bn.

Therefore, by August 1918, the patches worn by 185th Brigade would have been as follows:

1/5th Devons - Dark Blue (senior bn of Brigade as the Devons were ranked as the 11th Foot from the old pre 1881 regimental numbers)

8th W. Yorks - Red (14th Foot)

2/20th Londons - Yellow

I have noticed however that there is a well-known photo of men of the 1/5th Devons taken sometime in August/September when they too are not wearing any insignia. Perhaps because of the upheavals in the Brigade's organisation the matter of battle patches took time to be resolved.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks for your reply Andrew.

I'm sure you are correct in your analysis. I had assumed that because the 8TH W.Y. had now lost their territorial prefixes 1/ & 2/ that they were senior to any Battalion with a territorial prefix.

However ,if say, the 8TH W.Y. had been replaced by the 1ST W.Y. ( a Regular Battalion) I do not think that they would have been happy at being second in seniority to a Territorial battalion.

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Yes, orders of precedence and seniority matters a lot in the British Army!

Ernest Shephard of the 1/Dorsets wrote about this in his diary (published as 'A Sergeant Majors War - Hill 60 to the Somme') with relation to his battalion's battle patches worn as part of the 32nd Division scheme. The early version of this scheme consisted of patches cut out of red cloth to signify the brigade and red cloth bars sewn underneath to denote the seniority of the battalion. In 32nd Division at least, Regular battalions seemed to be regarded as senior to the two New Army units in the brigade, as the 1st Dorsets (the old 39th Foot) wore a single bar under the diamond patch of 14th Brigade, even though the 19th Lancs Fusiliers (whose regular battalions had decended from the 20th Foot) would have been senior if the order of precedence had been followed.

However, this changed when the 5/6th Royal Scots were posted to 14th Brigade in July 1916. As a result of the Royal Scots being the old 1st Foot, the Dorsets were ordered to add an extra bar to their insignia as they were now the second senior battalion. This annoyed Shephard as he wrote that while this would be perfectly acceptable if the Royal Scots battalion were regulars, the 5/6th Bn were "only" Territorials so were not entitled to be regarded as senior to regulars! :lol:

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In july 1918 would the 8Th W.Y. have officially been considered to be senior or junior to the 2/5TH W.Y.? ie. What was the heirarchy with regard to the number of the Battalion versus their Territorial prefix?

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The 2/5th would be senior to the 8th in the context of the Brigade structure because although the 2/5th were the Second-Line battalion, they were nonetheless "senior" as they were a battalion of the 5th Battalion which is senior to the 8th. However, if say the 1/5th and 2/5th served together in the same brigade, the 1/5th would be senior over the 2/5th.

I hope I have explained this clearly!!!

Andrew (with a brain-ache!)

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