Sunday 2 March 2014

Sorting Saturday - Grandad's Box of Badges

I've been aware of this box of Second World War badges and my grandad's medals for ever I think - but it was only this weekend, in anticipation of a trip to the Hemswell Cliff antiques centre that I actually got them all out of their box and spread them out.
WW2 War medal, 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal and India General Service medal.
Grandad Hall's medals

World War Two isn't really my subject - I'm deeply embroiled in World War One through the Barnsley War Memorials Project at the moment - but to be honest WW1 soldiers are a bit thin on the ground in my own family tree, unlike the OH's!

The medals above are the War Medal, the 1939-1945 Star and the Defence Medal, all from the Second World War and the India General Service Medal with a clasp for the North West Frontier 1930-31.  As someone said recently on my Open Uni Facebook page - Wikipedia is our friend! It seems they are laid out on the large pin in the wrong order - but I'm sure my dad didn't have Wikipedia to hand when he wore them at a fancy dress party in the 1970s.

I recently sent for my Grandad Hall's Army Service Records  with my aunt's permission (as my grandad's closest next of kin).  A large packet of A3 papers came back and I do apologise to my cousins for not sending copies, but scanning A3 on an A4 scanner is a bit troublesome.  I will do it - I promise!

A red cloth shoulder flash with letter C.M.P. and two brown plastic badges and a brass badge all with GVIR in the centre of a wreath, crown above, Military Police in a scroll below
Military Police insignia and badges
The service records showed that Grandad Hall was in the Corps of Military Police towards the end of the war - I had an inkling of this from his Regular Army Certificate of Service which I blogged about last year.  The extra detail was that he was on Prisoner escort duty and in the Vulnerable Points section.  This was a section for men of lesser physical ability - well, Grandad would have been in his forties by then.  It involved guarding things, bridges, vital infrastructure and I suppose, prisoner of war camps.

These are the Military Police badges out of Grandad's tin.  The two on the left are made of a brown plastic material - apparently these were issued later in WW2 when metal was becoming scarce.

The tin also contains a large collection of British Army cap badges (although not a Yorks and Lancaster one, which I would have liked to go with my WW1 Barnsley soldiers) and a dozen German badges and medals.

I've can only assume that Grandad did swaps or traded for all these badges, amongst the other soldiers he worked with and with the prisoners he guarded.
Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge

I remember disliking these German badges when I was a child and I still feel a bit creepy handling them.  The various badge collectors' sites and sales sites on the web all note that German Third Reich badges and other military paraphernalia should only be used for educational and research purposes according to German law.  I can understand why.

The badge above, the Luftwaffe Paratrooper badge, might be worth a bit of money to a collector, but it does feel very wrong to profit from the pickings of a war.  I think I'll satisfy myself with storing the German badges in better conditions (I've sent for a set of clear plastic envelopes from a specialist store on ebay) and put them away again for another few years.

The British cap badges are another thing entirely - any soldier or son of a soldier might have collected these.  As I noted above I quite fancy a Yorks and Lancs one myself as so many of the OH's ancestors (and ancestors' relatives) were in the Barnsley Pals.  I would have to get a KOYLI and various others too ... unfortunately my Grandad's collection only contains one Yorkshire badge - the West Yorkshire regiment, although there is a Durham Light Infantry one too which is the regiment one of my paternal great-grandads was in until he had a finger shot off (apparently!).  
I could do swaps myself - a Royal Army Ordnance Corps badge for a Northumberland Fusiliers badge anyone?

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