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Brian

Any idea what the badge is on the specials photo, as the nearest I can get to it is Birmingham but it does not look 100% the same. The only other large cap badges I know off are Blackpool and Nottingham the Nottingham one only being worn on a bowler hat.( it is sometimes mistaken for an arm band.)

Alan

Hello Alan,

Sorry for the long delay in responding, for some reason I missed your post back in May.

I can not make out the hat badge in that photo and I've been trying to match up the general shape with other on the internet without any luck. Maybe some day I'll run on to the correct match, until then it is a mystery.

Regards

Brian

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Hi Brian, the fid def obverse was issued from 1949 to 1952 and is quite rare.

Hi Ian,

Thanks for pointing that out. A number of years ago when I was putting together the bulk of the Specials collection I had missed this and then forgot about looking for one. Well, I now have one in the collection. Ouch, they are not cheap!

This one was issued to William T. May who served with the Devon Police Service. It came with a small group which I will post at a later date when time and energy permits.

Thanks again for jogging my memory.

Regards

Brian

Edited by Brian Wolfe

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Hello Everyone,

Here is one of the latest additions to my collection of Special Constabulary brassards. This one is from Cambridge, I work out of Cambridge Ontario Canada but this one, of course, is from the U.K.

The brassard is stamped out of non-ferrous metal, perhaps brass and measures 50.5 mm wide and 71 mm in height, The brassard was held on to leather straps (missing) by two brass "handle-shaped" loops on the rear of the badge. The rim has been bent and at first glance makes the brassard look like it has facets around the rim. In fact when I first saw it on the internet I thought it did have facets, though this has turned out to be an illusion. I really like this brassard with the officer's number and an impressive coat of arms of the city.

I hope you like it as well.

Regards

Brian

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Here is the reverse of the brassard showing the loops and the bent rim.

I have another brassard that I will post later showing the leather staps which are missing with this example.

Regards

Brian

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Brian, this is a really nice example and it would be worth getting a silversmith or, jeweller to straighten the edges. With your expertise you could do it yourself. Leigh will be interested Cambridge was his area . Your Specials collection is growing very nicely - amazing what is still out there.

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Brian, this is a really nice example and it would be worth getting a silversmith or, jeweller to straighten the edges. With your expertise you could do it yourself. Leigh will be interested Cambridge was his area . Your Specials collection is growing very nicely - amazing what is still out there.

Hi Mervyn,

I do have different hardwood shapes in the shop for just this type of repair.

I'll post the results, unless I mess it up then I'll just let it be forgotten. :lol:

Regards

Brian

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Continuing with my post of my collection of Special Constabulary memorabilia here is an item that came in a few weeks ago. It is a cloth arm band from the WW II era and marked 1943. The arm band in the photo measures 9 cm wide and 22 cm in length. It is stitched and was held in place by safety pins or at least from what I am told. If it were not stitched into a circle it would measure 9X44 cm.

I have not seen many of these offered and the seller on eBay listed it as "VERY RARE!". Anyone else find this brings a smile to your face? :lol:

Regardless of the description on eBay I do like this arm band as it is clearly marked as to date and government "ownership".

Regards

Brian

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Here is the reverse side of the arm band showing the British Army broad arrow mark and the date of 1943. This begs the question as to why this seems to be an official War Department issue rather than being from a municipality as is the case of all of the other Specials memorabilia in my collection. Would this be issued to a civilian Special Constable who was guarding a government installation? Comments are, as always, welcomed.

Regards

Brian

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unit8   

South African Police

Special Constabel / Assistant Constabel

NOTE for collectors

The South African Police (SAP) and the South West African Police (SWAPOL) Special Constabels were just semi-trained (6 weeks training only) man power group to fufil a man power shortage. Their title was later changed to Assistant- Constabel. They are nothing like the British Special Constabels.

They were called Kits Konstabels (instant Constabels) in the South African press and a few more impolite names as well by sections of the population.

The SAP

Sp Cst started off with a blue overall with shoulder flashes with Special Constabel also comes with the Afrikaans spelt version

Asst Cst wore SAP field dress and flashes saying Assistant-Constabel

SWAPOL South West African Police

These chaps served as guards to bases and Chiefs, Headman during the Border War. The police counter-insurgency unit Koevoet's (Crowbar) non white members were all Special Constabels. Their backgrounds though were either they had joined as Sp Cst or were captured and turned SWAPO PLAN insurgents.

SWAPO South West African Peoples Organisation

PLAN Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia SWAPOs armed wing.

SAPolice Equals

The SAPolice equal to a British Special Constabel is the Reserve Police, who were civillians with no police service and served on a voluntary basis for a minimum of 8 hours amonth.

Just to confuse matters there was also the Police Reserve. The Police Reserve were ex SAP members who could be called up to serve in an emergency. All ex SAP members under retirement age had to keep SAPolice HQ informed of their address until retirement age.

Reserve police used the same uniform and badges as the regular members, they had some badges to show Reserve statis only until the 1960's. They had to put an R in front of their rank but this also fell away in the 1980's. They could only be picked out if you knew which number sequence was used for their Force numbers which differed to the regular members.

Edited by unit8

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Hello unit8,

Very good infromation on the South African Specials, thanks for the information. Are you identifying this arm band as South African? I was going by the broad arrow as indicating that it was British.

Regards

Brian

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unit8   

No that arm band has nothing to do with the SAPolice Special Const as they were only first employed in the early to mid 1980's and until 1994 when the SAP became the SAPS. They had to write a test and go for basic training to join the regular force.

The SAPS is the new South Afircan Police Service, which was created by amalgamating all the Homeland Police Forces and SAP into one. They still wear the basic SAP uniform with a few changes and the SAP Colors were laid up as the SAPS is not a para-military force. The SAP had Battle Honours for WWI, WWII, Rhodesia and South West Africa. The SAP Brigades fought as regular Infantry under military command, most though in WWII were captured with the fall of Tobruk in North Africa.

the SAP flashes were worn from the epaulette and with one pin to attach it to the sleeve and were blue with yellow writing. I have a Assistant-Constabel pair. But can not get photo's to load so if someone could help out much appriciated.

Have tried to follow the help page here but with no success

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Nice to see the information on the Sth. African Specials - helps to build-up an overall picture.

Brian - yours is British and as you say , with the broad arrow has to be a Services employment. Gatekeeper or, factory guard - they brought all the old retirees out for service. When is the 'special piece' you mention arriving ?

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Hi Mervyn,

The "special piece" should be here any day now.

I am pacing the floor awaiting its arrival.

Time moves slowly when you are waiting.

Regards

Brian

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Here's the latest Special COnstabulary brassard to find a home in my collection.

The badge itself measures 50mm wide (not including the loops) and 75mm in height. It is stamped from a non-ferrous metal with no makers marks evident. Under the King's Crown there seems to be a good deal of space before the words SPECIAL CONSTABLE as if the manufacturer could modify the die to include the name of a municipality. In this case, if the space was there for a purpose, the brassard is generic. The length of the strap is 12cm on the buckle side of the badge and 39cm on the other side. The colour of the strap is more accurately shown in the second photo (the closeup of the badge).

Regards

Brian

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Lastly the reverse of the badge showing the loops which are either soldered or spot welded in place. I'm not sure when spot welding started to be used, I have operated one years ago but that was in the 1960's long after this was made.

Regards

Brian

Edited by Brian Wolfe

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Hello Everyone,

Here is a certificate to Special Constable Ernest Walter Sturt of the County of Kent COnstabulary for service during the First World War. I don't have his medal and keep watching for it to surface but I'm afraid that is an exercise in futility.

I hope you like it.

Regards

Brian

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That is a REALLY nice certificate!

Maybe as a local item it was in addition to the Medal rather than something which came with one?

That's a good point Rick as I have only seen this one offered for sale. If there were one certificate for each medal I would think there would be a quite a few available.

Regards

Brian

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Here are three brassards form my collection. These were issued to the Special Constables and are made of aluminum. I understand these are quite generic and were used by many different municipalities. There is a round version that I believe has the city crest (I forget the city's name at the moment) and it seems that every time I see one for sale I am low on collecting funds. Such is the plight of a collector. <img src="http://gmic.co.uk/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />

Regards

Brian

Here is yet another brassard like the ones above. I've added this to the collection only because of the four digit number. I noticed that I have omitted any information regrading these in the post abouve so I'll do that now.

These aluminum brassards were made by HIATT & Co. B'HAM (Birmingham), this is stamped in the middle of the border along the front bottom of the brassard. The full width along a horizontal plane between the loops is 102mm and 58mm in height at the loops. The badge proper, that is to say where the information is displayed, measures 83mm, again along a horizontal plane, and 52mm in height. The thickness is 3mm. Now if I can find a single digit number I will be in Special Constabulary memorabilia heaven. :cool:

Regards

Brian

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Brian

An interesting collection but you are a little out with your background. Special Constables were first mentioned in an Act of Parliament in 1673. They were used on and off as needed for 'Riot & Tumolt' situations until just before WW1 un-uniformed but often in very large number, 200,000 were sworn in on Kennington Common for the 1848 Chartist Marchers. Just before WW1 the SC was put on a more formal footing (City of London formed a standing force in 1909) and uniformed in 1916, probably your first poto is about that time. The SC was stood down after WW1 but promptly reformed (?1920/21) after the regular police went on strike in 1919. From the reforming until 1935 the title was Special Constabulary Reserve, the word Reserve was then droped. At the start of WW2 there was a massive increase in numbers and a shortage of uniforms so back to arm bands for some. The 'royal' Long Service Medal was/ is awarded for 9 years peace time service/ 3 years war time service and the bar for each further 10 years service. The minature in one of your pictures is probably one from Spinks or a competitor as minatures have never, as far as I am aware, been officially issued.

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Brian

An interesting collection but you are a little out with your background. Special Constables were first mentioned in an Act of Parliament in 1673. They were used on and off as needed for 'Riot & Tumolt' situations until just before WW1 un-uniformed but often in very large number, 200,000 were sworn in on Kennington Common for the 1848 Chartist Marchers. Just before WW1 the SC was put on a more formal footing (City of London formed a standing force in 1909) and uniformed in 1916, probably your first poto is about that time. The SC was stood down after WW1 but promptly reformed (?1920/21) after the regular police went on strike in 1919. From the reforming until 1935 the title was Special Constabulary Reserve, the word Reserve was then droped. At the start of WW2 there was a massive increase in numbers and a shortage of uniforms so back to arm bands for some. The 'royal' Long Service Medal was/ is awarded for 9 years peace time service/ 3 years war time service and the bar for each further 10 years service. The minature in one of your pictures is probably one from Spinks or a competitor as minatures have never, as far as I am aware, been officially issued.

Thanks again for the additional information, this is perhaps the greatest strength of the GMIC. As far as my collection it starts with the Great War period, of course. Am I to take it that the first full time service started due to the war and before that it was ad hoc?

Regards

Brian

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Thanks again for the additional information, this is perhaps the greatest strength of the GMIC. As far as my collection it starts with the Great War period, of course. Am I to take it that the first full time service started due to the war and before that it was ad hoc?

Regards

Brian

Brian

The 'royal' medals start with WW1 service but the question of standing forces is far more complicated. Certaintly after the SC Act of 1832 and possibly before there were some people who permanetly held SC appointment but probably not in large numbers and almost mainly if not totally without uniform. The issue is also complicated by others with police powers such as Parish Constables, Bow Street Runners and the Thames Police. Many towns operated a Watch & Ward system where residents were supposed to take turns in policing either during the day or at night and many of these people would have been SCs. Commercial operations also made use of the appointment for instance the regular police rank of Chief Constable is said to have first been used by one of the south Wales ports, Swansea I think, who when they first appointed paid police put them under the command of the senior SC and called him Chief Constable.

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Vickers comments ( welcome to GMIC) are corect in facts - however, care must be taken not to confuse our modern ideas of 'Specials' and have them super-imposed on the past. Policing - such as it was - was multi-layered and Specials were really from the 18th and 19th. C's when public disorder and riots were almost a way of life. Watch and Ward and indeed, the rank of Constable were not as Specials, but as part of the householders feudal and civic duties. Often they paid someone to do this for them - i.e. Petty Constables - but they were never Specials.

The 1663 Act of Common Council was the formation of the 'Bellmen' a paid nightwatch of 1000 men who patrolled from small sentry boxes - mainly retired military, they were fairly useless. Charles 2nd. - who was restored to the throne in 1660 had seen a similar force used effectively in Holland.

The majority of Specials were raised by the different Parishes and if there was no local High Constable to take charge, then this was carried out by the Parish beadle. They had no patrol duties - but, were rather a body of men to deter rioters. They existed only for the period of the emergency and were sworn in by the local magistrate.

Vickers , are you ex-Police or, Special - it's nice to see a new 'face' with an interest in policing ?

With the subject of Specials returning, I am showing a very good example of a Special Constabulary truncheon for the Isle of Man - the letters 'SC' are prominently at the base and at the top the three legged symbol of Manx. This would date from approx. the 1850's and is , of course, Queen Victoria.

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Vickers comments ( welcome to GMIC) are corect in facts - however, care must be taken not to confuse our modern ideas of 'Specials' and have them super-imposed on the past. Policing - such as it was - was multi-layered and Specials were really from the 18th and 19th. C's when public disorder and riots were almost a way of life. Watch and Ward and indeed, the rank of Constable were not as Specials, but as part of the householders feudal and civic duties. Often they paid someone to do this for them - i.e. Petty Constables - but they were never Specials.

The 1663 Act of Common Council was the formation of the 'Bellmen' a paid nightwatch of 1000 men who patrolled from small sentry boxes - mainly retired military, they were fairly useless. Charles 2nd. - who was restored to the throne in 1660 had seen a similar force used effectively in Holland.

The majority of Specials were raised by the different Parishes and if there was no local High Constable to take charge, then this was carried out by the Parish beadle. They had no patrol duties - but, were rather a body of men to deter rioters. They existed only for the period of the emergency and were sworn in by the local magistrate.

Vickers , are you ex-Police or, Special - it's nice to see a new 'face' with an interest in policing ?

With the subject of Specials returning, I am showing a very good example of a Special Constabulary truncheon for the Isle of Man - the letters 'SC' are prominently at the base and at the top the three legged symbol of Manx. This would date from approx. the 1850's and is , of course, Queen Victoria.

Mervyn

Yes I was a Special for a rather long time. You are right that the problem with all this is the muliple layers of people prior to the mid 19c with policing responsibilities / powers and with the number of different ways the appointment of SCs was dealt with in each locality. Generally most SCs were called up for a short period of time and that most people taking part in Watch & Ward were not SCs not least because they appointed deputies to carry out their duties but in some places, City of London for instance, they were often appointed as SCs and particularly so where they had any kind of supervisory responsibilities. I would suggest that 'volunteer' or unpaid policing can be traced back to at least Saxon times with the appointment of certain individuals to oversee the good behaviour of a number of families reporting through to the courts in each Hundred and that is perhaps closer to what we now think of as the SC because of the 1832 Act but the British being an enterprising people used the appointment for for all sorts of things in the 18 & 19th centuries. It was the urbanisation of the population that broke the old system down through sheer wait of numbers in towns, London in particular, although if the City of London had continued with the use of the Trained Bands to enforce the law, alldgely a better system than using the City Marshalls, we might have gone in a very different direction. In the 20th Century of course some small Police Forces used SCs as a cheap means of policing, many seaside places used them to supplement the winter compliment of regulars rather than pay out for more full timers and as I have said before there was also commercial exploitation of the office. Finally of course the Observer Corps were an extention of the concept, all being appointed as SCs.

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