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War Services Badges were issued to show a man was in the Services, or, the variation

of having been wounded. They are invariably numbered.

This unusual one is dated 1915 and carries the badge for the Royal Ordnance Corps.. I

was not aware that Corps. or, Regiments issued their own War Services - do any members

have other examples ?

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The reverse - with a high identity number ? Presumably the 'R' at the top is for

Reserves ? Unusually it was made by the Royal jewellers - Mappin and Webb.

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Hi Mervyn

I've been slowly collecting these badges for a while now and can give you the following brief explanation of them. These were for men in reserved occupations that was vital for the war effort.

"On War Service 1914” – Admiralty issue, unnumbered until beginning of 1916, from then on it was numbered. Approximately 500,000 unnumbered badges issued, of which only about 150,000 were recalled. These were brass and enamel and were issued by the Admiralty. Because other firms had begun to issue their own versions the government decided to step in and regulate the issue of these badges and who and what trades were eligible.

http://gmic.co.uk/in.../5555-1914-ows/

“1915” War Office (Ministry of Munitions) issue. 1st issue – Brass with enamelled finish. 2nd issue – Brass, which became known as the Economy Brass version.

Because of the need for resourses for the War Effort it was decided to redesign the OWS to be more economical, so the redesigned 2nd issue1915 OWS became just a brass badge exactly the same as the 1st issue.

http://gmic.co.uk/in...15-ows-l-69973/

“1916” WO (MoM) issue. Brass (for female workers only).

The 1916 OWS, was Triangular, this was issued only to the women who worked in the munitions factories.

http://gmic.co.uk/in.../5610-1916-ows/

From 1915 onwards, only the 1915 2nd issue brass OWS was issued to men working on war service in the reserve occupations, there were regulations on who were eligible, and when they had to give them up, for example, if they moved from a reserved occupation (not eligible for call-up by the forces) to a non-reserved occupation where they were eligible for call.

The letters stamped on the back are a reference (I think!) to the reserved occupation trade.

These badges were manufactured by Mappin & Webb as well as J.R. Gaunt & sons and a few other makers.

Steve

Edited by Rayjin
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Thanks Steve - very helpful information. Strange how we see what we expect to see - I hadn't thought of

Reserved Occupations. When yyou stop to think, they were probably more in need of some identification then

the Services - little old women with white feathers and handbags lying in wait all over the Country........... Mervyn

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There was a list of the Protected Occupations in The Times, November 1915, and that the list was last updated on 1/2/1918, by then the list had grown to include hundreds of occupations. Some of the occupations were:- "Forceps Spring Maker (Surgical & Dental)", "Vice Forgers Assistant (misc metal trades)", "Bell Maker (Bugle & trumpet making)".

I have read on Tom Tulloch-Marshall's site http://www.btinternet.com/~prosearch/OWS.html that the YCMA was issued 25,000 badges under the classification of 'SF' - "Manufacturer not otherwise classified; Food"

I know that during WWI if a 'Badged' man received his call-up papers, he had to inform his employer immediately, whereupon they would fill out a form with the mans details and badge number, which would then be sent to the Recruitment Officer who would then strike the man from the call-up list.

During WWII there were similar badges but I don't think they were as widespread as during WWI.

Steve

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At the risk of lowering the tone of this august forum, I was reminded of this possibly apocryphal anecdote by Mervyn's reference to little oldladies and white feathers.

G.K. Chesterton - a rotund gentleman - was accosted on the street with the querulous query "Why aren't you out at the Front, sir?". To which he responded "If you'll step round before me, madam, you'll see that I am out at the front." ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Mervyn,

Some of the badges were also accompanied by a certificate and these are very rare and hard to find.

I have also being collecting these badges as a sideline and they are very interesting.

I will post some items from my collection.

Regards,

Will

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2012/post-3034-0-42264900-1340527456.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2012/post-3034-0-57529700-1340527468.jpg

A Vickers factory card endorsed by Lord Kitchener.

Edited by sabrigade
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Munition Volunteer Badge.

The previous post certificate would have accompanied this badge variation.

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Hi sabrigade

I've not seen the Coventry Ordnance Workshop badge before, but I have seen the Munition Volunteer badge, there is also a version of this one with red enamel around the cannon in the centre.

Always keeping my eye out for them

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Admiralty On War Service 1914 badge.

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Will - a very interesting subject and I have personally learnt a lot from yourself and Steve. I think this will be a new field

for many of our collectors.

We haven't heard from you for a while - I hope all is well ? I take it you are still in Sudan ?

With best wishes. Mervyn

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Thanks Mervyn,

The variety of fields in our collecting never continues to amaze me and even commemorative medals/medallions in South Africa for WW1 can become a specialist field.

I am in South Sudan and have been in areas where access to the internet has been very limited which makes posting very difficult at times.

I am now back in Juba and should be able to participate actively on the forum for a few weeks.

I should be in South Africa next month and hope to see you when I visit Durban.

Regards,

Will

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  • 2 weeks later...

From 1915 onwards, only the 1915 2nd issue brass OWS was issued to men working on war service in the reserve occupations, there were regulations on who were eligible, and when they had to give them up...

Just asking to be sure I understand that the BADGE itself had to be given up?

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Hi Bluehawk

Just asking to be sure I understand that the BADGE itself had to be given up?

Yes, the Badge and the Certificate that went with it had to be returned, either to the employer, or to the Ministry of Munitions.

Badges had to be surrendered immediately if the man’s employment within any company changed to a non war-essential category, and the wearing of unathorised (i.e. not officially issued) badges became an offence under the Munitions of War Act. Supplying, selling, buying, pawning or accepting badges in pawn all became offences, and the Police were given power of arrest without warrant if they suspected that an offence may have been committed.

Penalties under the Act were harsh; for non-serious cases (cases of a “minor character”) the Courts could sentence the offender up to 6 months imprisonment with or without hard labour, or up to a £100 fine, or both. Serious offences were to be sent for jury trial or Court Martial and the sentences available became penal servitude for life, or, “if the offence was committed with the intention of assisting the enemy the death penalty may be inflicted. The court may order the forfeiture of the offending badges etc.”

Steve

Edited by Rayjin
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