Collar badge “trench art” adaptations (forum archive)

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File alt font awesome.svg Posted by plbramham » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:12 pm

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The little collar badges seem to come up in all sorts of variations of home crafted souvenirs and memorabilia. I guess their smaller size make them better suited for the purpose than the full size ones (plus with each soldier having a pair there were twice as many!) The Victorian type (11 battle honours) type do appear, but more commonly used are the later type with 13 honours on the arms of the Maltese cross.

You do see them on picture frames, wooden and metal boxes etc., but by far the most common use is when they have the rear lugs replaced by a pin fastening attached to the back to make a broach. I have two such conversions which belonged to the same soldier, CSM Thorpe who served with the regiment in The Boer War and WW1. One of the badges is the Victorian type and the other the post 1902 type with 13 battle honours. (See my previous posting: Collar badges converted into broaches). These two have been given a gold wash, but usually sweetheart/lapel badges remain white metal. I have also seen some with coloured enamel applied.

The very attractive silver and enamel officer’s badges would have made lovely broaches, but I have never seen one – I’m sure they will exist though.

I am also posting a similar ladies item below which has been converted into a pendant. I found this in Ireland and wonder if it could date back to the 2nd Btn’s time in County Mayo around 1920? (I have seen many converted to broaches but only ever this one to be worn around the neck - I suppose if it gets turned round on a chain the back of it - especially with the lugs snipped off, is not very attractive). You sometimes see them applied to cigarette cases or other items such as examples below, a vesta case and a hip flask.

A very nice example is the mess dress belt for an officer’s wife with the clasp made from two collar badges (they are not a pair as they both are facing right rather each than facing inwards as they would on a collar). I believe the belt dates from the Edwardian or 1920s period, and I think the filigree style decoration may suggest Maltese or Indian manufacture?