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Anyone interested in Medical insignia collecting??

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Having spoken to Paul, Coast Guard, it transpires that we share an interest in Medical insignia so I thought that other members may also shore our interest??  Some medical insignia to view!  Hope you find them of interest  Regards and Best Wishes  Michael R

To start the first set of rank insignia is that of Royal Navy Nursing Officers.  Although part of the RN proper, they have their own Service title. Queen Alexandra's Royal Navy Nursing Service commonly referred to as QARNNS. Their ranks and RN equivalents are:

1. Nursing Officer. Sub Lieutenant RN

2. Senior Nursing Officer. Lieutenant RN

3. Superintending Nursing Officer. Lieutenant Commander RN

4. Chief Nursing Officer. Commander RN

5. Principal Nursing Officer. Captain RN

6. Matron in Chief. Commodore RN

Rank is worn on the Nursing Tippet, as sliders on epaulettes and as shoulder boards.

Board 1. Nursing Officer. The badge either embroidered in silks or gold wire comprises the Monarch's crown in this case the Queens or King Edward Crown surmounting the monogram of HM Queen Alexandra superimposed on a ship's anchor itself surmounting a gold outlined white disc onto which is centered a Geneva (red) Cross.  The other badges are RN blazer badges.

Board 2. Senior Nursing Officer. As above with the addition of a small red bar at the foot of the badge.  Bottom left is a sealed pattern and the third badge in bears the Kings or Imperial Crown in use until 1953.  The upper row are QARNNS Nurses cap badges L to R Junior Rates, Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer, PO and OR.

Board 3. The QARNNS badge on this board are all variations of those on board 2.

Board 4. Superintending Nursing Officer.  The badge is identical to those on board 1 but with a red round top boarder.  All bear the Queen's Crown.  The two cap badges are worn by QARNNS Warrant Officers are are as per the the CPO badge but with a larger wreath.


Your comment are welcome.

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Peter, Thank you for your message but I must take exception to the word "posh" Interesting perhaps.  I intend posting more medical insignia so please keep watching.  Unless I am greatly mistaken, The RAMC has more recipients of the VC than any other corps or regiment in the British Army.  Very brave people!!!!

With thanks, regards and best wishes  Michael

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Hi Again, Some more QARNNS rank and other insignia. Hope they are of interest.

Regards MR

they are:

Board 5 Chief Nursing Officer. The badge is identical in all detail to that worn by a Superintending Nursing Officer save for the outer boarder which is now executed in gold rather than red. The central line of badges are variations of the Enlisted hat badge and the Officer's hat badge. The Enlisted hat badge is of a  design unique to the QARNNS.  The Officer's badge is identical to the standard RN Officer cap badge but executed in red silks rather than gold wire and has the monogram of HM Queen Alexandra replacing the fouled anchor.

Board 6 Principal Nursing Officer.  The rank insignia is identical to that of the Chief Nursing Officer with only the addition of a small horizontal gold bar at the base of the badge.  Top line second item from the left is both unusual and rare in that it also featured the Royal Cypher in gold.  The Royal Cypher may only be worn by the Matron in Chief of the QARNNS when appointed as Honorary Nursing Sister to HM Queen Elizabeth II. I would speculate that the original wearer may have been acting as Matron in Chief or possibly held an appointment as an ADC.  To further compound the issue, the Royal Cypher worn by RN Officers per see is finished in silver not gold??  If anyone can add an opinion to this mystery, I would be very pleased to hear from them.

Board 7 Matron in Chief. The rank insignia worn by the Matron in Chief is identical to that worn by a Chief Nursing officer but with a double outer gold boarder.  The silver EIIR Royal Cypher denoted the appointment of  Honorary Nursing Sister to HM the Queen.  The third pair in the upper row would be worn, probably by a newly appointed Matron in Chief, who has not yet been appointed to Honorary Nursing Sister to HM the Queen.  The lower row are variation Officer's badges.

Board 8 Are identical to those detailed above but executed in silver rather than gold and include the word "Reserve".  These are worn by reserve personnel.

Board 9 In 1982, in preparation for the introduction of male officers, the Nursing Officers' ranking system was changed. The titles "Sister" and "Matron were dropped and replaced with standard naval ranks but with the addition of the Royal Cypher of HM Queen Alexandra surmounting the rank insignia. 

In addition to the two rank structures detailed above, the earlier structure in use was:

1. Nursing Sister

2 Senior Nursing Sister

3 Superintending Nursing Sister

4 Matron

5. Principal Matron

6. Matron in Chief


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Edited by Michael R
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Hi,  Moving swiftly on, the next selection belong to the RAF Medical and Dental Services and the PMRAFNS.

Board 1 Three armlets as worn by RAF Medical personnel.  The insignia embroidered in light blue on a white field comprises the Caduceus Of Mercury flanked by outstretched wings and ensigned by The Queen's Crown.  The center armlet is identical to the others but the reverse is stamped with a property stamp saying that it belongs to RAF Hospital Ely which was located in Cambridgeshire prior to its closure.

Board 2 Top row comprised PMRAF (Princess Mary's RAF Nursing Service) Ward uniform badges. Left vertical row are shoulder bars worn by trainee nursed in their first and second years of training. Center are reflective jacket titles for RAF Doctors and nurses.  Upper right is a mudguard (Shoulder badge) for a hospital train, probably an Army badge and lower right is a Flight Nurses desert pattern arm badge in copper silk on a sand field.

Board 3 Medical Service Geneva (Red) Cross brassards and the PMRAFNS badge as worn with civilian cloths.

Board 4 A variety of Red Cros armlets. Blood Group notifications for wear on either the combat jacket shirt or helmet. Medical Emergency Response Teams(MERT) badges

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Thank you for sharing your medical collection.  Are you missing anything?  :-)  I do not have any British (or territorial) medical items.  My medical collection is directed to German WW2 and later and the US Coast Guard.  But, I am an admirer!!  Nicely done!

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Hi, Sticking with the RAF Medical Services and PMRAFNS, the following boards are a bit of a variety.  All four boards have a representative and ubiquitous Red Cross Armlet at the base.

Board 5 Features flying suit patches all of which bear the Caduceus Of Mercury flanked by outstretched wings and the Queen's Crown.  These patches are encountered in a variety of colours including OG subdued and sand etc. most also have a name and squadron details etc.

Board 6 Left side are two Number ! Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron RAF patches. Right side are a number of sleeve wings for non-commissioned Flight Medical Attendants.  Center are junior Airmen and Airwomen shoulder rank slides. to the left with metal insignia and to the right with gold thread embroidered insignia. The ranks are Leading Aircraftman - LAC. Senior Aircraftman - SAC and Junior Technician - JT (Now obsolete as a rank and badge).

Board 7 Left side are a variety of PMRAFNS shoulder mudguards. Right side are more mudguards over a PMRAFNS Nursing Sister's name tag as worn on the Ward Dress Uniform. Beneath that is a Nurse Training School badge.  Center are sliders for the ranks of Corporal - JNCO, Sergeant - SNCO and Chief Technician.

Board 8 Left RAF Medical collar insignia and a tie pin. Right more collar insignia.  Center are sliders for the ranks of Flight Sergeant and Warrant Officer.


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Hi Paul, Thank you once again for your kind comments.  I see no reason why you should not add some of your non-British Medical collection to this thread.  If people like Medical associated militaria then what difference does it make where they find it.  It is still Medical.  Please feel free to join in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards  Michael

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Well done, indeed!  BTW, my comment on 'posh'  was in reference to my humble status, not a dig at your collection or the RAMC and its successor and sister units.  Yes, two of the three double VCs are to M.O.s and the WWI casualty rates among Mo.O.s make it clear that they did not, as per organizational charts, wait in the Aid Posts for the wounded to come to them.  SBs, like the character I portray also took heavy casualties, shells and MG fire being no respecters of coloured arm bands or insignia! 

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Hi Peter,  Thank you for your message and re Posh, I know full well that you were not having a dig, so apologies if I have given you the wrong impression!!  Shall we start again???.  Of all the regiments and corps' in the the British army, my two most respected are the RAMC and the RE. I feel that among collectors that there is a reluctance to credit them with the bravery that they deserve. To venture into no-mans-land with only a cloth armlet or tabbard in white with a red cross in order to try and perform miracles and rescues and no means of protection takes real heroism. Likewise with the RE, to build bridges etc under enemy fire and in advance of the fighting troops also takes cool courage. I was recently looking at a photo of a line of dead British troops and there was a young man with a large white tabbard an a big red cross.  Chaplains are another outfit who deserve recognition!!  Anyway, congratulations in portraying some of the bravest troops in any army, navy or air force!!

With thanks, regards and best wishes  Michael.

PS, thank you for your kind comments.

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Continuing the RAF Medical and PMRAFNS theme, the following boards are:

Board 9 Rows 1 and 2 are blood group patches designed to be attached, using Velcro to helmets, shirts and jackets etc when operating in combat areas.  These can be found in various shapes and colours and with additional information on them.  These are basic patches in light brown on a dark brown field.  In an emergency  injury situation, these patches are designed to speed up the identification of both blood groups and allergy situations etc.  The sliders are for wear by members of the "Tactical Medical Wing" of the RAF and are found in a variety of patterns, in this case North West Europe DPM and OG and are ranked to the wearer, in this case Junior Technician, rank now obsolete.  The upper sand coloured patch is from the Gulf War and was worn by RAF Medical personnel of 32 Field Hospital. Subdued "DARTS" (Deployable Aeromedical Evacuation Response Teams Squadron) PMRAFNS patch. Anodized aluminum RAF Dental Branch collar badge worn by all ranks.  This is a Sealed Pattern used by manufacturers in order to check and maintain production standards.  Two pairs of eagle collar badges worn on the nursing cape. A variety of Dental Branch collar badges from different periods.

Board 10 Left and right edges from top to bottom. Flight Surgeon Arm badge. Ditto in miniature for wear on the Mess Dress.  Flight Nurse all ranks arm badge.  Ditto in miniature for wear with the Mess Dress uniform. Commissioned Officer rank sliders with the Caduceus badge in (left) metal and (right) gold embroidery.  The ranks are Flight Lieutenant, Flt Lt (Capt). Squadron Leader, Sqn Ldr (Maj).    Wing Commander Wg Cdr (Ltc). Group Captain Gp Capt (Col).

Board 11 Rows 1 and 2 are blood group patches in black on OG.  TMW (Tactical Medical Wing) Officer's shoulder sliders all manufactured in North West Europe DPM.

Board 12 Top row.  White Tropical Uniform tri corn hat cap badge for wear by officers of the PMRAFNS now obsolete. Bronze, gilt and brass RAF Medical Services collar badges all ensigned by the King's Crown and now obsolete. Variation white cap badge. Left side column, PMRAFNS Mess Dress Rank insignia for the ranks of Flying Officer, Flg Off (1st Lt). Flight Officer Flt Off. Squadron Officer Sqn Off.  Right side column Ditto for the ranks of Wing Officer Wg Off. Group Officer Grp Off. Air Commandant Air Cmdt.  Center, Medical Officer's rank sliders for Air Commodore/Commandant, Air Cdre (BG). Air Vice Marshal AVM (MG). Air Marshal AM (LG).

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Michael, I couldn't agree more about the RAMC - in my case CAMC - and RE.  I do a serious, full immersion WWI reenactment twice a year as a member of a CAMC unit ands,as I point out to anyone who'll let me, going over the top with no rifles was at least as hard as doing it with firepower at one's beck and call!

The casualty rates among both those corps speak for themselves, and what any combat vet will tell you confirms it.  No idea the source but as a teen I read an unofficial motto for a comat engineeer unit - 'First we dig 'em, then we die in 'em.' - which has always stuck with me!

Fabulous collection.  Cheers!


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hi Paul, Thank you for your message and comments. Nice to know that these threads are at least being looked at!!  Have you seen the thread "US Navy and Naval Caps and Hats" yet?  I have have started with the US Coast Guard and have added a few questions which you may be able to answer for me.  I will be moving onto the US Navy next.

Re mounts, I am assuming that you mean boards and I have 1551 at the moment covering US, GB RAF, GB Army, World Naval, East German, West German and Police  insignia.  I am about to start on my TR badges but need to buy some more card board LOL..  Did you get my last E Mail??


Regards and best wishes  Michael

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The following selection of insignia, although not strictly of a medical nature, are worn by personnel usually closely associated with the medical functions and they are Chaplains.

Board 13 Top Row  left is a pre 1953/WWII cap badge for a Special Duties Chaplain's Assistant and right is the same badge but post 1953 and current.  Center left is the cap badge of a Chaplain holding any commissioned rank pre 1953/WWII and right post 1953 but now obsolete. Center is a chaplaincy blazer badge pre 1953.

Col 1 A second variation pre 1953/WWII Chaplain's cap badge over a wooden shield removed from the base of a standing crucifix and bearing a cap badge crown surmounting a Chaplain's badge surmounting a Royal air Force cap/arm eagle.

Col 2/4 Chaplains gorget insignia, basically the same as the cap badge device. Stole badge for a Personal Chaplain to HM Queen Elizabeth II. Miniature of the above badge both with minor  variations in Col 4. Variation pair of Chaplain's gorget insignia. Chaplaincy Department lapel badge.  Variation shoulder crosses worn by Chaplains assistants.

Col 3 Post 1953 Crown surmounting the Chaplain's badge in bullion wire for wear on the officiating scarf.  Chaplains beret badge, possibly a fictitious item.

Col 5 RAF Sunday School lapel badge.

Board 14 Pairs of, Ampleport Defense Chaplaincy College mudguards, Air Commodore Chaplain's OG rank sliders and ditto on NW Europe DPM camouflage.

Board 15 Upper row, pair of shoulder patches for "Special Duties" Chaplain's Assistants. Flying suit patch for a Chaplain and a pair of epaulettes for a Chaplain's Assistant with gilt crosses. Rows 2/3, pairs of Home Dress shoulder sliders with embroidered insignia and applied rank lace for Squadron Leader, Wing Commander and Group Captain. Collar crosses for wear on desert and OG uniforms. Air Vice Marshal epaulettes for an Honourary  Chaplain to the Queen.  Superimposed over the lowest edge of the rank lace is the Royal Cypher comprising the monogram "E II R" surmounted by the Queen's Crown. RAF Chaplain's subdued shoulder sliders for a Group Captain.

Board 16 WWII officiating RAF Chaplain's stole with Chaplains insignia surmounted by the King's Crown, all executed in golden yellow and coloured silks.

Board 17 Ditto for a Chaplain to an RAF Association.  In this case the Chaplain represents two associations, The Burma Star Association (for troops fighting in Burma during WWII and awarded the Burma Star Medal) and the RAF Air Sea Rescue Club.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Board 18 RN Chaplain's headdress and shoulder insignia. Col 1 comprises visor cap badges worn by all grades of chaplain. The badge depicts the Monarch's crown (Queens's Crown Post 1953) surmounting the traditional insignia of the RN, a silver fouled anchor partially encompasses by a black silk laurel open top wreath outlined in gold wire. Col 2 top, the cap badge as described but with a King's Crown and of WWII vintage. Two variation Chaplain's beret badges which are identical to those already described but slightly smaller and a variation cap badge.  Three Chaplains epaulettes or shoulder boards all devoid of rank insignia. The first board is for wear by an Honorary Chaplain to HM Queen Elizabeth II and bears her personal Royal Cypher in silver surmounted by the RN Chaplaincy Services Branch insignia. The insignia comprises a "Christian" cross over which is superimposed a gold fouled anchor all in metal.  A pair of WWII Chaplain's boards bearing the old Branch of service device in the form of a square gold metal cross.

Board 19 Col's 1 and 2. Visor cap badge for a Chaplain of the Sea Cadet Corps along side the same badge in miniature for wear on the beret. The badge comprises the Christian Cross and anchor partially encompassed by a round open top laurel wreath and surmounted by the Mercantile Marine (usually referred to as the MN, Merchant Navy) Crown. Navy Training Corps Chaplain's shoulder sliders. Royal Navy Chaplains desert subdued sliders. Col's 3 and 4  One of the most attractive sets of epaulettes in my collection, a pair of Royal Canadian Navy Chaplain's epaulettes.  Although very similar to those worn by RN Chaplains, there are a number of variations to note. Unlike the RN, the cross is surmounted by the Monarch's Crown and the cross itself varies in style being in purple materiel outlined in gold wire and with a metal anchor device superimposed over its center. RN Chaplain's OG and black subdues shoulder sliders. Col 5 A pair of RN Chaplain's stole badges in silver and gold metallic threads. Note, unlike both the British Army and Royal Air Force, Naval Chaplains do not wear any rank insignia.


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Edited by Michael R
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 1 green pen take out:  what time used this boards? can show clear picture with two size ?

  2 red pen take out: what time used? easy found at uk? is it uk or canada  shoulder boards?

  donot know about uk, need help

 red pen take out one easy found at uk? how much? can help me buy a set of?




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Jerry, I really like that WWI arm band!  I've not seen the button style fastening before and may use it on the next one I make up for my re-enactment kit.  Could be earlier, too, I suppose.  The 'Army Medical Service' is the disignation for the RAMC, dental services, and veterinary services of the Br Army, so it's not much help dating, but it certainly looks early.  By at least mid-WWI they bands were issued with a safety pin, no buttons or buckles.

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Jerry, I really like that WWI arm band!  I've not seen the button style fastening before and may use it on the next one I make up for my re-enactment kit.  Could be earlier, too, I suppose.  The 'Army Medical Service' is the disignation for the RAMC, dental services, and veterinary services of the Br Army, so it's not much help dating, but it certainly looks early.  By at least mid-WWI they bands were issued with a safety pin, no buttons or buckles.



most of the WWI examples I have seen have a white plastic looking buttons, this is the only one I have seen with the metal buttons and also it came out of a skip with other later Victorian/Edwardian items which perhaps makes it a bit earlier than the others I have seen.

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Makes sense, Jerry.  I'd have pegged it as WWI or earlier just on the buttons.  As I say, by 1918 they had none, just a safety pin, as so many were being turned out.  The ones I wear are pinned together and to the back of my sleeve, so they don't 'wander' down my arm to the elbow.  A sensible method, which or course makes it unusuakl in the military! ;)

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