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diwe

ID Help Requested: Tunic Chief Officer British Police

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diwe   

Dear fellow collectors:

I need some help with an ID. I have a tunic in my possession that according to its ribbons (Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order of the British Empire, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Queens Police Medal, 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, 1977 Jubilee Medal, Police Long Service and Good Conduct 1951-) must have belonged to Sir Colin Woods (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Woods).

A fellow collector pointed out that the red backing of the crowns on the shoulder board is inconsistent with the regalia worn by chief officers of the Met (they have a blue backing). As the Queen Police Medal was awarded in 1980 and is on the tunic only leaves the option that this tunic was worn in Woods' function as the first Commissioner as the Australian Federal Police (1979-82) or possible as HM Chief Inspector of the Constabulatory for England and Wales. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

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My understanding was that UK (England & Wales) Police rank Crowns had a red cushion, and that only Scottish ones had blue (although that the latter was fairly recent). Certainly virtualy all the UK specials enamelled lapel badges I've seen (generally the only coloured police badges on the go over the years till recently) had red enamel cushions to the crown.

St Edward's Crown (that associated with the reign of the current Queen), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Edward%27s_Crown and

the Imperial Crown (referred to as King's Crown in insigna matters, or Tudor Crown) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_Crown

both have red cushions.

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My understanding was that UK (England & Wales) Police rank Crowns had a red cushion, and that only Scottish ones had blue (although that the latter was fairly recent). Certainly virtualy all the UK specials enamelled lapel badges I've seen (generally the only coloured police badges on the go over the years till recently) had red enamel cushions to the crown.

St Edward's Crown (that associated with the reign of the current Queen), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Edward%27s_Crown and

the Imperial Crown (referred to as King's Crown in insigna matters, or Tudor Crown) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_Crown

both have red cushions.

"Commissioner" ranks in the Metropolitan Police have blue cushioning to the rank Crown and have done for a great many years. The colouring upon the Crowns of other items of insignia used by police in England & Wales is normally (but not always) red. The tunic suggests use by an English/Welsh Chief Constable. NOT an HMI. If worn by an HMI then there would be a monogrammed "HMI" positioned between the Crown and the wreath . I'm unsure of the relevance of the Queen's Police Medal being mentioned or the year 1980.

Dave.

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diwe   
"Commissioner" ranks in the Metropolitan Police have blue cushioning to the rank Crown and have done for a great many years. The colouring upon the Crowns of other items of insignia used by police in England & Wales is normally (but not always) red. The tunic suggests use by an English/Welsh Chief Constable. NOT an HMI. If worn by an HMI then there would be a monogrammed "HMI" positioned between the Crown and the wreath . I'm unsure of the relevance of the Queen's Police Medal being mentioned or the year 1980.

Dave.

Dave,

thanks for the input. I was only mentioning the QPM and 1980 as this might indicate that the tunic was worn after that date as the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police. The combination of ribbons is very unusual and only fits Woods.

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The heirarchy for Ranks is 1. Commissioner Met. Police -

2. HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary

3. Deputy Commissioner

4. Chief Constables

This one would appear to be for a Chief Constable.

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Dave,

thanks for the input. I was only mentioning the QPM and 1980 as this might indicate that the tunic was worn after that date as the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police. The combination of ribbons is very unusual and only fits Woods.

I think it unlikely that this uniform would have been worn in Australia as I feel certain that the colour of the cloth differs and also I think the rank insignia. Another matter springs to mind and that concerns shoulder patches. Someone will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong but I think that all the Aussie forces wear shoulder patches (all ranks). I hope this is helpful.

Dave.

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diwe   
I think it unlikely that this uniform would have been worn in Australia as I feel certain that the colour of the cloth differs and also I think the rank insignia. Another matter springs to mind and that concerns shoulder patches. Someone will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong but I think that all the Aussie forces wear shoulder patches (all ranks). I hope this is helpful.

Dave.

Dave:

Not quite. Below please find a picture. The insignia for the commissioner was a crown and tipstaves as photos of Woods show and the uniform (with the exception of a sleeve badge) identical to the one of the British Police (please see pics below). Again, he was the first person who held this newly created position.

1194988-3x2-940x627.jpgColinWoods.jpg

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Dave:

Not quite. Below please find a picture. The insignia for the commissioner was a crown and tipstaves as photos of Woods show and the uniform (with the exception of a sleeve badge) identical to the one of the British Police (please see pics below). Again, he was the first person who held this newly created position.

1194988-3x2-940x627.jpgColinWoods.jpg

The photos of Sir Colin which you have attached are helpful and I think I may be able to take this forward a little further for you.

I think that the tunic you have is probably one which once belonged to Sir Colin. However, I don't think it was used by him whilst he was in the Met. Police. I think that he had this tunic made when he was appointed Commandant of the Police Staff College, Bramshill. The Commandant was at that time also an HMIC. He would have worn the uniform of an English Chief Constable with the addition of the "HMI" monogram between the Crown and wreath. You may find traces of these having been removed. Now, why do I say that the jacket may be from this period? Well, the town of Aldershot where the tailor is from is not far from Hartley Witney where the College is situated. Anyway, that's my theory. He probably took the jacket one of perhaps several) with him to Australia and wore it there for a time. I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes, Dave.

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May I make a couple of observations about this uniform jacket apparently worn in Australia. Senior officers of Commander (Met) and A.C.(Provinces) rank and above in England traditionally have a jacket made with a belt and patch pockets. This jacket shown has none. It appears to have a flap pocket built in to the tunic. It may have been a one off that Wood had made for himself. I know that the present Met Commissioner dislikes belts and has chosen to wear a jacket issued to constables to ch.supts. It has no belt and has only breast pockets. It looks alright except that the rank insignia does not appear comfortable without resting on an epaulette. That said he has it appears, commissioned a new No1. dress uniform ( mounted) with all the threaded silver work. Looks very good and I know he likes riding a horse - pity that few of his recent forerunners didn't. I saw recently displayed on the forum ( can't find it now) a newly coloured photo of the Met Commissioner Sir Charles Warren ( Jack the Ripper fame) wearing his full dress tunic. It looked great. Sadly modern man eschews all such trappings even on ceremonial occasions and outside the Met and the City ( that real bastion of tradition) police ceremonial dress consists of white gloves. How sad.

Bengullion

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Tom King   

Can we have a fuller picture view of the style. As Bengullion suggests Met ACPO ranks have always traditionally had patch pockets and belts. I think it is Woods Jacket which he no doubt had made prior to going to Australia, and may well have worn when he got there. Whether he wore it in the Met or HMIC and changed the crowns can be perhaps investigated by the full style. He may have had it made at appointment specifically for Australia before leaving the UK.

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Arne   

Hello,

I know this thread is a few years old, but hope it is still valid. This is the tunic of Chief Constable Sir Peter Matthews, CVO OBE QPM DL. He was Chief constable of Surrey and served in Europe and Burma during WWII with the RAF.

His obituary is on the web.

Hope this was helpful.

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