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Dave Wilkinson

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Posts posted by Dave Wilkinson

  1. Iain,

    Firstly, to correct the information given by a previous contributor, the War Dept. Constabulary existed in that name from 1925 to 1964. In 1964 it was re-named the Army Dept. Constabulary. That said, there was no change of insignia, WDC badges continuing to be worn. In 1971, the force was amalgamated together with the other civilian service police forces to form the Ministry of Defence Police.

    With regard to the records of the WDC,, your first port of call should be the National Archives at Kew. If you have no luck there you could try the MoD Police themselves. They do maintain quite a few historical records at their HQ.



  2. Kevin,

    Although the force only used one pattern of badge throughout its existence, this badge was used on a number of different patterns of helmet over the years. The final type worn was the ornate version you mention. At one time, instead of wearing a helmet during the summer months they utilised a peaked kepi. A photo depicting this type of headgear is shown the the "Policing the Peninsula" book. In the 1914 group photo you show, it can be seen that they are wearing the large belt plate depicted on the photo of the badges etc which I posted earlier. I hope this is helpful.


  3. Kevin,

    The Plymouth City Police long service medal was awarded by the Watch Committee of Plymouth Corporation. Medals awarded other than by the Sovereign are worn on the wearers right side (left as you are looking at him). Its a shame that the medals were not kept in the family. Presumably, your Great Granddad's Merit Badge is missing also. I assume they have been either "lost" or sold. Unless a relative has them tucked away somewhere.


  4. Kevin,

    Many thanks for the news cutting. Very interesting. The Metropolitan Police who attended the funeral were almost certainly from Devonport Dockyard which at that time would have been a Metropolitan Police responsibility. Yes, you are correct with your information regarding "H" division and the transition of "Borough" to "City". Several years ago there was a very good book published called "Policing the Peninsula" by Simon Dell. It covers the history of Westcountry policing from 1850 - 2000. Some excellent photos of Devonport Police.



  5. Kevin,

    The first photo you showed (with your Great Grandfather on) depicts the men wearing "summer" uniform with epaulettes. They are without belts and the helmet is of a lightweight pattern. The jacket and trousers would also have been of a thinner material. The second photo depicts the men wearing a heavy winter uniform and helmet. As an aside, the merit badge which I have has a silver hallmark for 1914. This is the year the Devonport force amalgamated with the neighbouring Plymouth City Police.


    12 minutes ago, Kevin Ross said:


    Dave - may I ask, why are the 'eye' badges of different colours? The helmet badge and buttons seem to me to be of different hue because of age? - but the 'eye' badges by design. 



    The "bright" badges and buckle are in German silver (white metal). The items to the right are are brass/gilt. The top right collar/epaulette badge is in bright gilt and may have been worn by a senior officer. The different metals are probably from an earlier (brass) period and a later (white metal) period.  Hope this is helpful.


  6. Kevin,

    The badge on his chest is Devonport's version of the Merit badge. Contrary to what you have been told not all merit badges were of a fabric manufacture, nor where they all worn on the arm. Each force that awarded merit badges (not all did) decided upon the design, style of manufacture and where it was to be worn. The badge on the arm is a first aid badge (generic). The badges on the shoulder are not in fact circular but are "eye" shaped. The merit badge and the shoulder badge are depicted in the attached photo. I hope this is helpful.

    Best wishes, Dave.


  7. From the photos, it seems it was never intended to be white. You may be successful in removing the paint from the metal fittings. However, you will not get the paint off the fabric covering, which should be black/dark navy blue. Looking at the two holes where the badge has originally been, it suggests that the original badge was a fairly small one. At a guess, possibly Berkshire Constabulary. The canvas chin strap is not original to the helmet, nor is the red band around it. You could have a go at restoring it and then see what the end result looks like. The white paint may come off if its water based emulsion, but other than that I think its a lost cause. Its a shame because the cork shell appears quite sturdy.