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The Royal Welch Fusiliers.


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Three Royal Welsh Fusiliers, wearing the divisional sign of the 38th (Welsh) Division ("New Army") on the left shoulder, the triangle worn on the right shoulder being a "battle patch", the shape in this instance indicating the senior brigade of the division.

The battalion would be indicated by the colour of the patch, or an emblem worn on it.

The division was formed in 1915 & went to France in December of that year, it's infantry element formed entirely of Welsh units.

The original units of the division included the 13th, 14th, 15th & 16th Battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

The cap badges worn are the of the "proper" bi-metal or the all brass WWI economy version.

One man has the grenade above the RWF of his shoulder title, another has'nt.

All three wear the red on white "SB" armband, in one case cut down & applied as a badge.

There were, by 1914, 16 Stretcher Bearers to a battalion - the greater part of the Band. That's 4 Stretcher Bearers to a 200 strong company, & it would take at least 2, not uncommonly 4 men to carry one stretcher case.

A century of warfare against "less civilised" enemies that the Germans had inspired a tradition of never leaving wounded to the mercy of the enemy.

These men may not be Bandsmen as none are wearing the "Trade Badge", one man wears a Wound Stripe.

There is no indication of the photographer - a cloth or paper backdrop against a brick wall, so preumably taken by a local, perhaps "visiting" photograher behind the lines in France / Belgium.

Edited by leigh kitchen
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Nice, a Colour Sergeant of the pre-1908 Volunteer Force - "1/V/Grenade/RWF" embridered on the shoulderstraps.

The Volunteer / TF Proficiency Star worn above the Colour Sereants rank insignia of Kings Crown over crossed Union Flags.

Worn in silver wire by sergeants in the Volunteers, to be obtained within one year of making sergeant, & unusual in that it was to be worn above all other badges on the upper right arm - above even Crown insignia such as part of the Colour Sergeants badge, although it was apparently often incorrectly worn below such insignia..

About 1908 the purpose of the badge was changed, being worn by Officer Training Corps in gold wire & in red, falling out of use in 1914.

Later worn by Army Cadet Forces & Combined Cadet Forces, having been reincarnated in 1944 as a Cadet Corps badge in red, in blue & in khaki versions, with or without numerals, in full star or "half star" shapes, & in 1956 in gold wire on white & on khaki cirular patches for Cadets passing or attending a War Office Selection Board.

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The anodised beret badge

The RWF is one of the six Minden Regiments who are, I believe entitled, to wear a rose to commemmorate the victory at Minden in 1759. However the RWF do not wear a rose on Minden Day, 1st August, as the RWF badge has a rose at the bottom centre hence the Minden Rose is worn every day of the year or at least was until the RWF merged with the RRW and became the Royal Welsh Regiment.

Owain Raw-Rees

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Some more Royal Welsh Fusiliers / Royal Welch Fusiliers cap badges.

Grenade in gilding metal, rest of design in white metal, spelling ?WELSH? (Kipling & King 622)

The spelling "WELSH" was altered to "WELCH" in the Royal Welch Fusiliers & The Welch Regiment in 1920 (Army Order 56/1920)

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I've moved this & the next photo down the thread for continuity - the anodised badge, spelling ?WELCH?, grenade & coronet gold coloured, remainder silver coloured, sealed 27/4/62. The coronet & the rest of the mounted design are in one piece:

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The anodised badge but unit painted matt black, for wear in Northern Ireland.

Whether the gold & silver coloured badge or the blackened badge was worn, with or without the regiments white feather hackle would depend on circumstances (such as any temporary truces or cease fires in force) & the Commanding Officer.

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"All three wear the red on white "SB" armband, in one case cut down & applied as a badge.

There were, by 1914, 16 Stretcher Bearers to a battalion - the greater part of the Band. That's 4 Stretcher Bearers to a 200 strong company, & it would take at least 2, not uncommonly 4 men to carry one stretcher case."

Stretcher Bearer

Edited by leigh kitchen
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2342 Pte J Lavin 5/RWF

James Lavin enlisted into the 5th (Flintshire) Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers T.F. on the 6th October 1914. He left with the Battalion for Gallipoli on the 8th August 1915. Unfortunately his service papers look to have been lost. Living in Goldings, Hertford at the outbreak of war he was to win the DCM at the age of thirty. The citation states

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry on 9th November, 1915, at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli Peninsular. Returning from patrol before dawn by a disused sap he heard footsteps and remained behind. Seeing a Turk entering the sap he sprang on him and overpowered him. The Turk was carrying two bombs and had a loaded rifle with bayonet fixed

lavinfc3.jpg

However further details of this story can be picked up in Volume II of Deeds that Thrilled the Empire :

?At the beginning of November 1915, the 1/5th RWF were occupying a section of our front line trenches at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. One trench which lay in a valley, was separated from those of the Turks by about one hundred yards, and from it a disused sap ran out to within sixty yards of the enemy. At the end of the sap was an open field, half way across which stood a large tree. It was the duty of our patrols to proceed as far as this tree, and the Turkish snipers, aware of this, had had the distances from the sap to the tree set and kept up a steady fire, with the result that scarcely a night passed without some of our men getting hit.

Sometimes, one or more Turks would conceal themselves behind the tree and fire of the patrol as it emerged from the sap, and since our men, when they left our trench, never knew whether there were snipers behind the tree or not, patrol duty in such circumstances was not exactly a popular one. The enemy, moreover, had contracted the disagreeable habit of creeping up the sap and throwing bombs into our trench until, what with the snipers and the bombs, life of it?s occupants was becoming a little too eventful to be pleasant.

A daring fusilier, Private James Lavin, who had been wounded in the fierce fighting the previous August and had only recently returned to duty, determined to try and do something to mitigate the nuisance, and one dark night when out on patrol, he allowed his comrades to return without him and hid himself behind the tree. Presently some half a dozen Turks, who had seen the patrol going in, came creeping up behind them, with the intention of throwing bombs into our trench so soon as the coast was clear. One Turk entered the sap, whilst the others lay down about twenty yards from it, ready to cover his retreat.

Perceiving this, Lavin crawled out from behind the tree, and made a detour which brought him between the prostrate Turks and the sap. He could hear the man who entered the sap clicking his rifle, but the night was too dark to make him out. Lavin knew that we had a sentry on guard at the trench end of the sap, and that if he fired up the sap he might hit his own comrade ; besides his orders were not to fire except in the case of most extre,e emergency, but to use the bayonet only. On the other hand, if the sentry heard a man coming along the sap, he would think it was Lavin returning, since the patrol would certainly have told him that one of them had remained behind. However it was necessary to act once, for at any moment the Turk might throw a bomb and kill the sentry, and then rush past him and throw more bombs into the trench itself.

Accordingly, he made his way up the sap as quickly and noiselessly as he could, but had only proceeded a few yards when, as ill luck would have it, he kicked against an empty tin which someone had flung down there. The Turk turned around instantly, and the two men could now see each other quite plainly. Before Lavin could recover from his surprise at his misadventure with the tin, the Turk levelled his rifle and fired point blank at him. Happily, he missed, and the fusilier dropping his own rifle, sprang forward and grappled with him.

lavindeedsjt9.jpg

The struggle, though fierce, was short, and Lavin, having succeeded in wrenching the rifle out of his opponent?s hand, drove him at the point of the bayonet towards the British Trench. Meantime a number of comrades, alarmed by the shot, came running for the sap, but Lavin called out to them not to fire, as it was he with a prisoner. When searched the captured Turk was found to be carrying two bombs so that Lavin?s fortunate intervention, probably saved the lives of several of our men. It appears too, to have served as a salutary lesson to the Turks, for after this incident the Welsh Fusiliers had no more trouble with bomb throwers. Three weeks later they were withdrawn from the Peninsular.?

Lavin was discharged from the Army on the 20th December 1916 under King?s Regulations Paragraph 329 XVI (ie due to sickness) He is additionally entitled to a 1914-15 star trio.

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It is the Dragon, Divisional Flash of the 38th Div. More clearly visible in the photo you posted of the SBs.

Hopefully more people will add other interesting Royal Welch Fusilier items to this thread, as you can probably guess from my forum Id, it is my passion. ;)

I can bring more medals to the party if anyone is interested, or has a specific interest.

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