Colour Sergeants' Badges

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Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby grumpy » 16 Aug 2017 15:56

I have just received a copy of QVR 1844 in wonderful condition, and have been dipping in and out.

One item reminded me of an old bee in the bonnet: was the colour serg/jeants colour badge always the Union Flag [excluding Foot Guards], or was it ever the Regimental Colour [essentially the facing colour plus embellishments]?

QVR 1844 unequivocally prescribe the latter, because there is a detailed description of the full-size colours which is insistent that The Regimental, or Second, Colour is to be of the colour of the facings of the regiment ...... that it places the title in italics thus..

When describing colour sergeants' badges, it says " a badge of the Regimental Colour", again italicised.

Many years ago, when my interest in matters military was general, rather than specific, I saw in a regimental museum a colour badge that appeared to be not a Union Flag ....... where and when I did not note.

Major Dawnay, in his definitive "Badges of WO and NCO Rank" says that GO 6th July 1813 indeed prescribes a regimental colour, but that a Secretary of State's letter dated 27th July 1813 illustrated a Union Flag.

So is there any evidence please [other than my elusive memory] that some line regiments obeyed the letter of the Order and used a regimental colour as the basis of the colour sergeants' badges?
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby Frogsmile » 16 Aug 2017 18:34

It's an interesting subject as I can imagine that the original intent might well have been for 'regimental' colour badges. However, I have seen no material evidence of any badge, but single Sovereign's colours in crimson for Foot Guards and union flag for line infantry. As I believe that badges were expensive and provided via a central supply chain it seems logical that they should have been of standard design, for the two respective elements. There seems to have been some kind of financial compromise, in that the Foot Guard badges did differ regimentally, but the line infantry regiments did not.
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby colsjt65 » 17 Aug 2017 11:40

This from Army Equipment Part V: Infantry, 1865, Petrie. p. 71

"Colour-serjeants,-colour badge on tunic consisting of one bar of double gold lace surmounted by a device representing a union flag, embroidered in silk, and cross-swords in silver. On serge frocks and shell jackets three bars of single gold lace surmounted by a gold crown are worn."

Matches the one from the tunic of Col-Sjt McKenna, VC, 65th Regt, in Auckland War Memorial Museum, NZ.
McKennaColSjt.jpg
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby colsjt65 » 17 Aug 2017 11:58

This one in the New Zealand Army Museum, Waiouru, is very odd. It seems to be a hand-made attempt at converting a sergeant's chevron to colour-sergeant.
ColSjtbadge.jpg
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby Frogsmile » 17 Aug 2017 17:06

The gold lace used for the stripes on the latter badge gives it away as not infantry I think. Perhaps Royal Engineers - see photograph.

The single double bar chevron badge was not popular as it looked diminished alongside an ordinary sergeant even with the gold lace.

RE Colour Sergeants were replaced on a one for one basis with company sergeant majors in the late 1860s.
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby colsjt65 » 22 Aug 2017 11:21

Thanks Frogsmile,
Didn't occur to me that it wasn't infantry. Great photo. I have seen it before, but it didn't click what it was.

I found a really interesting book in the local library last week:
Personal Distinctions, 350 Years of Royal Marines Uniforms and Insignia, John Rawlinson, Royal Marines Historical Society Special Publication 41, 2014.
It's full of photos of badges, shako plates, buttons, shakos, uniforms, et al, of said corps.

I took some photos on my phone of several of the plates, including Col-Sjt. While it seems that in 1815 they adopted the infantry pattern badge, with a fouled anchor above the chevron, by 1830 they had come up with something much better - from 1830
RM1830ColSjtbadge.jpg
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by 1868
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby colsjt65 » 22 Aug 2017 11:34

By the mid 1860s, it appears that the RE Col-Sjt had adopted a four-chevron with crown, as illustrated in Army Equipment part III section 1 - Engineers
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Re: Colour Sergeants' Badges

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Aug 2017 15:28

Thank you for that extremely interesting information, colsjt65.

Forum member the ironduke1, and I, are hoping to do a project in the future on his website covering NCOs' and WOs' badges of rank over the centuries. Basically using Dawnay's book, The Badges of Warrant and Non-Commissioned Rank in the British Army, as a guide, but expanding to show the variations of the different corps, especially the period between the Crimean War and 1881, where I believe there is a lot of confusion. Not least because the badges in full dress and undress could be different for some of those more senior.
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