History of the British Army Infantry Collar Badge
By Colin Churchill
Naval and Military Press (www.naval-military-press.com)
RRP £19.95 (Paperback)
Also in hardback at RRP £38.00
There is no other way to describe this book other than it is a superbly and meticulously researched volume on the development of the British Army Collar Badge. It undoubtedly will become one of the best volumes on this topic and it serves as a vital reference work.
In order to understand the history of the British Army Collar Badge it is necessary to have some background knowledge of the uniforms on which these badges were worn. There were differences in the uniforms of officers and other ranks and each of these had numerous uniforms such as Full Dress, Undress, Service Dress and Mess Dress. Different formations such as the Militia, Volunteer and Territorial uniforms generally but not necessarily always followed the patterns worn by the Regulars.
In the 1600s soldiers wore uniforms issued by their Colonels and often had badges denoting the Colonel’s personnel emblems. This practice ceased in 1751 when regimental “devices” were introduced and uniforms were standardised. Hence the regimental badge was introduced. By the 1830s soldiers were starting to wear collar badges as we know them today and in 1871 collar badges were worn by all infantry regiments.
The book gives an excellent introduction to the history of the collar badges and the warrants regarding their usage. There is a discussion of the metals and materials used in the construction of these vital emblems and the terminology of them is eloquently described. There are short sections on collecting and preserving them too. Also re-strikes, reproductions, copies and spurious badges are given treatment.
The bulk of the book consists of a description of the collar badges used by specific regiments and the chronology of their badges. Take for instance the entry for “The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders” (p. 275). It starts with the Pre-1881 79th Regiment of Foot’s emblems and then it progresses to the Post 1881 badges. Notes are given on the badges of the associated Militia, Volunteer and Territorial formations and there are numerous illustrations which embellish the text.
There are over 2000 badges illustrated in this outstanding work. The quality of the author’s research is exceptional and this book is going to be the standard reference text on this topic. It does what it states on the cover – it traces the chronology of the badges worn on the collars of British Infantry Regiments. In summary, I can only state that this text is exceptionally well researched and presented. A “Well done” is due to the author!