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    The Glosters, the back badge and the Militia

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    I started this thread because I was unsure whether the 2nd Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment (61st Regiment of Foot) were entitled to wear the back badge of the 1st Battalion (the old 28th Regiment of Foot). And for that matter, Militia and/or Volunteer battalions.

    After a bit more reading I have concluded that indeed both battalions wore a modified version of the 28th Regiment's on amalgamation in 1881.

    The 1874 Dress Regulations gives the 28th as the Sphinx and the 61st Sphinx over Egypt for the helmet plate but no mention of a back badge. Another reference book states that on amalgamation the back badge for the regiment became a Sphinx over Egypt. That is a combination of both previous regiments' badges (although with the 61st coming out on top with Egypt below).

    The 1883 Dress Regulations specifies the back badge for the Gloucestershire Regiment with no mention of battalions.

    This brought me to wonder whether Militia and Volunteer battalions were entitled to wear the back badge. I should say at this point that a friend bought a Gloucestershire Regiment Blue Cloth which did not only not have a back badge but had never had one fitted.

    I will continue the Militia part in the next post.

    Here is a photo taken in Portsmouth, 1912, of officers of the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment with its Colonel, Major General Sir Francis Howard, looking very unsoldierly with a fag hanging out of his mouth.

    Photo courtesy of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.

    Edited by Stuart Bates
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    I have 20 Blue Cloth Helmets with 1 line infantry, 1 Royal Engineers and 2 Artillery volunteers examples. These all either have an extra scroll saying Volunteer to the relevant unit and/or have a blank/laurel leaf scroll instead of Ubique in the case of Engineers and Artillery.

    I don’t remember ever having seen a Militia Line Infantry Blue Cloth or its helmet plate. The 1883 Dress Regulations state that for Militia “Uniform and horse furniture as for Line Battalions” so I guess the helmet plates were gilt/brass.

    The 1900 Dress Regulations, for the Royal Artillery, state that the letter “M” on the helmet plate was used in the Militia Artillery but only mention the letter “M” on Shoulder Cords or Shoulder Straps for Line Infantry and Engineers.

    K & K only take the BC helmet plate for Militia up to 1881!

    From this we can conclude that the plates were identical - Line Infantry to Militia. Volunteers still being in silver/white metal with the battalion identified on an extra scroll.

    The question, after all of this, is did Militia and/or Volunteer battalions of the Gloucesters wear the back badge on their Blue Cloth helmets?


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    I've posted this helmet previously, but for this thread I will do so again. My Blue Cloth with the back badge:



    As Stuart knows I did previously own a Gloucestershire helmet, which I returned because it did NOT have a back badge. It was a lovely helmet, but I have one that is now 100% unquestionable!

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    Just found out that Militia and Territorial Battalions were not authorised to wear the famous back badge.

    The scroll beneath the Sphinx on the helmet plate was blank rather than having the word "Egypt". This was usual for non-regular battalions.

    Edited by Stuart Bates
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