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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Brian Wolfe

British Police Helmet Plates and Cap Badges

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Hello Everyone,

I do hope others will add to this post and build it into a great reference for collectors and researchers, so please feel free to add your helmet plates and cap badges to this new theme.

It seems only fitting to kick this new theme off by starting with the first organized, modern, police force in the world, London's Metropolitan Police.

Founded in 1829 the force, stationed at the now iconic Scotland Yard, was founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1829 following a Parliamentary Commission Recommendation for policing changes in the previous year. It is interesting that the nicknames, "Peelers" and Bobbies" (named after the founder Sir Robert Peel) given to the new police force by a less than receptive public of the day has remained to the present time. Though the public's perceptions of the force and its officers has improved greatly in the eyes of the general public today [personal opinion].

My collection of British Police Helmet Plates and Cap Badges only goes back to King George VI, (I do hope others will help fill in the gaps), however, I have started this theme off with an example of a helmet plate from the King George VI era. I was lucky with the purchase of this specimen in picking up a period cape chain with brooches along with the plate.

Mervyn Mitton, in his book, "The Policemen's Lot", pg. 115, has the following to say about the cape chain. "The older capes were usually fastened by two lions' heads with a chain passing between and attaching to a hook behind one head. These were usually well cast and although some were painted black they are attractive enough to collect."

The Gentleman's Military Interest Club is quickly becoming a primary source of research and reference for the student and collector of British Police history and memorabilia. This is in no part possible without the continued participation of fellow members. Thank you to all who have contributed to the GMIC's British Police section and to those who will continue to help build what is becoming a world class forum. It is greatly appreciated.

My continued thanks goes out to Mervyn who kindly allows me to pirate ideas, research material and quotes from his book, and forgives my trespass when I forget to ask permission first.

Regards

Brian

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Here is the reverse of the chain and brooch. You can see the loops that went through the cape's material to fasten the lion's head to each side of the cape.

I am very happy with this piece and hope it was part of the set, though it probably wasn't.

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The counter piece to the one above is the plate for day duty. This is mounted on the custodian helmet and I will probably add the helmet to the British Police Headgear section if no one has beaten me to the punch with one of their own. ;)

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To wrap up this session I have included two Special Constabulary hat badges. I think we should include the Special's hat badges here as they deserve to be included and it will help this section to become a more complete reference source for helment plates and cap badges as time passes.

Regards

Brian

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Brian - congratulations on researching - and starting what could be an important - as well as interesting post.

With all British Police Forces it has to be remembered that until the Top Hats were phased out, there was no need for a cap badge or, helmet plate. This was from the 1860's onwards - as other Forces took time to adopt new styles.

I have one query - the helmet with the integrated EIIR - this has a chrome stud in the band. This is not correct - they were always the brownish type.

Perhaps the stud had to be replaced - or, it could be from another Force - I think Surrey has a silver band ?

The blackened one for night duty had a fairly short life - if I remember correctly. However, there is a very collectable series for George 6th with the number inset. I think I have one I can show,

I hope members will support this new post - they must have plent of helmet plates they can show. I do wonder if you shouldn't start a separate post for cap badges - there are so many of all of these that it could get confusing.

Brian - when your current Staffordshire post has had it's two week's I would like this one to have it's turn. Mervyn

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This is what makes the GMIC invaluable to collectors.

I was not aware that the studs were darkened on the Metropolitan Police helmets. I just ran downstairs (in a panic) to check this out and I think I am alright with this helmet being genuine. When I looked at the helmet I noticed right off that the rear stud was dark yet the side and front studs were shinny. A closer look revealed that, due to wear, the dark finish had been worn off. There are still very small traces of this finish on the three studs.

This helmet came from a seller in America and I've purchased from him before with confidence. However, there seems to be many sellers who are throwing any helmet and plate together with no regard as to whether they belong to each other or not. There is one dealer in the UK, who I will not identify here to protect the GMIC from legal action, who is notorious for this. If any members are interested in this fellow's eBay name I will forward it to them but only through my email address. He mixes up the helmets and plates so often that I will not bid on anything he offers, no matter how genuine he may have made it look.

I wonder what "Dorset" is like this time of the year? :whistle:

I will post the helmet in question in the British Headgear section with close up views for discussion later.

Thanks for your observastion and additional information on the helmets of the Metropolitan Police.

Regards

Brian

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Hampshire Constabulary

The Hampshire Constabulary is situated in Southern England and serves Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the cities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester. Today's Hampshire Constabulary was formed in 1967 but its roots go back to 1832. Due to the Defence Regulations of 1943 the, then, Hampshire County Constabulary absorbed the Isle of Wight and Winchester to form the Hampshire Joint Police Force, in 1948 the name was changed to Hampshire Constabulary. Another name change occurred in 1952 and the Force became the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary.

With the addition of Southampton and Portsmouth under the Police Act of 1964 the Force became the current Hampshire Constabulary in 1967. This has remianed the same until present time, with the exception of Christchurch which became the policing responsibility of Dorset.

As may be seen in the photos below the custodian helmet plate differs greatly from the usual Brunswick Star used by many British police forces on their helmets.

Research material for this write up came from "Hampshire Constabulary, Wikipedia".

Regards

Brian

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Even though we have a section for Special Constabulary items I am posting this Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary cap badge here as well because this section is for helmet plates and cap badges and also because the other section contains everything pertaining to Specials.

There's not much else to say about this other than it has the Queen's crown and is for the Special Constabulary.

Regards

Brian

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Continuing on with the Mertropolitan Police, here is a cap badge that would belong to an officer (i.e. a rank above constable). It is mounted on the cap and I'll post it on the British Police Headgear section once I finish the display mount I am presently working on.

Again, like the Special Constable's hat badge shown in the previous post, this badge has the Queen's crown.

Regards

Brian

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Brian - this is the missing Hampshire one for your set. This pattern has an enamelled plate and is for Sergeants' only.

I posted this way back in 2009 - however, I think it deserves to be shown alongside it's companions. Close-up of the plate to follow.

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Brian - with the nice Met. cap badge you show - this is for Inspectors and above. Sergeants and Constables wear the same pattern without the star.

Sometimes, the older officers' pattern are in silver.

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Hello Nick,

It looks like the hat badge has something different than EIIR, or is that just my imagination.

Also the badge looks "solid" rather than pierced.

So, what is the answer?

Regards

Brian

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Spot on Brian.

Sir High Orde was previously the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and is now the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

ACPO is a rather strange organisation. Its membership is limited to the most senior ranks of the police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and it acts rather like a Police General Staff. But, the odd thing is, it is constituted as a private limited company and is therefor exempt from the Freedom of Information Act with which governs public bodies.

Anyway, Sir Hugh has gone to the expense of having an ACPO cap badge made. His colleagues all wear their force's insignia so in that respect he is unique.

Edited by NickLangley

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Hi Nick,

Thanks for posting this article, I'm sure it answers a lot of questions in the minds of the interested members who were thinking what I was thinking.

Regards

Brian

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There are a number of senior officers of Chief Constable Rank who are not in fact running a County Force. One of them is the Commandant of the

Bramshill Police College. As the Daily Mail points out they wear the insignia and uniform of the Force they were attached to. This man is obviously

unstable and has totally 'shot himself in the foot'. I suppose he will now spend the rest of his life claiming it was all a conspiracy - whereas, he should

in fact be charged with impersonating a police officer - a serious offence.

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Gloucestershire Constabulary

The Gloucestershire Constabulary is the force responsible for policing the non-metropolitan county of Gloucestershire in the U.K.

The force was founded in 1839 making it the second rural police force formed in Britian. The first being the Wiltshire Constabulary. The force in its present state, headquartered at Quedgeley, dates from 1 April 1974 and consists of six local policing areas.

These areas are,

Cheltenham

Cotswolds

Forest

Gloucester

Stroud

Tewkesbury.

If any of the members have a helmet plate from the Gloucestershire Constabulary with the King's Crown please add it to the post as the one below is a newer issue with the Queen's Crown.

Regards

Brian

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Luton Borough Police, 1876 - 1947

The Luton Borough Police force was founded in 1876 and survived until 1947 when it was incorporated with the Bedfordshire Constabulary under the Police Act of 1946. The plate shown would have been the last pattern, as there would not have been one with the Queen's Crown.

This is an interesting history in that there is little information available but more than that the force was revived, albeit for a very short time, as the Luton County Borough Police in 1964. Alas, it was only to last until 1966 when it would once again be absorbed by Bedfordshire.

There is a book, which sadly I do not have, titled "The Men who wore straw Helmets: Policing Luton, 1840 - 1947" written by T.J. Madigan that contains a detailed history of the force.

I would suspect that the Luton County Borough Police Force, 1964 - 1966, would have had helmets sporting the Queen's Crown, which is probably quite scarce, given the short time of the Force's existance. If anyone has one I hope they will post it.

Regards

Brian

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Leeds City Police

In 1836 the City of Lees, in northern England, formed its first police department. In 1974 under the Local Government Act of 1972 it was amalgamated with the Bradford City Police along with part of the West Yorkshire Constabulary to form the West Yourkshire Police.

The helmet plate featured here is made of nickel rather with later ones being lighter and chromed. This, I have been informed, places the date of the plate to before 1950.

Regards

Brian

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