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Guest BlueRaa

Please help! British WWI Sleeve rank

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Guest BlueRaa

Hi there

I am new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone could help me? I am looking for information on WWI British Army sleeve rank insignia. The field officers wore a uniform with sleeve insignia. As well as the usual modern shoulder insignia, there were also stripes to denote rank. If anyone has any information and / or diagrams of these sleeve ranks I would be very grateful.

I have been browsing through all the topics and this site is a god send. I love it!

Thanks,

Andy

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Yorts

With regard to officer's sleeve ranks:

One 'pips' in the panel and one band round the cuff - 2nd Lieutenant

Two 'pips' in the panel and one band round the cuff - Lieutenant

Three 'pips' in the panel and two bands round the cuff - Captain

One crown in the panel and three bands round the cuff - Major

One Crown and one 'pip' in the panel and three bands round the cuff - Lieutenant-Colonel

One Crown and two 'pips' in the panel and four bands around the cuff - Colonel

The system of loops of khaki braid around the cuff with stars and crowns was introduced in 1902 with the advent of service dress. It replaced the short lived (less than a year) 'asparagus bed' system of rank markings which consisted of thick and thin loops and bars without the crown and star insignia. The number of bands was devised to correspond with naval insignia. In Scottish regiments, the rings were around the top of the gauntlet-style cuff and the badges on the cuff itself. General officers wore their rank on the shoulder. The system of cuff badges was abolished in 1920.

Do note that WOII also wore their insignia, without a panel or bands on their sleeves, in the form of a crown. WOI also had their insignia in a similar fashion but the badge itslef was the Royal Coat of Arms. Their were also other sleeve insignia for specialists (APC & RA I believe) but that's a different story...

hope this helps,

Alex.

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armourersergeant

not sure if this is any help but here goes sorry about the resolution i am useless at it..

post-23-1076487199.jpg

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armourersergeant

oops forgot discription

Arm.

post-23-1076488316.jpg

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Guest BlueRaa

Well to Yorts and armourersergeant I can only say thank you very much. You have both been immensely helpful the description Yorts and the diagrams armourersergeant were exactly what I was looking for. Thankyou very very much. :D

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Guest Joe Fowler

Hello,

I'm new to the forum, and after searching was unable to find the answer to my query. Namely, can anyone tell me what the sleeve ranks for British soldiers denoted. I am researching my great-grandfather, he served in the army from 1903 - post 1918, and I have a photo of him from 1915. He has 4(?) chevrons on his sleeve, all with the point upwards. I will be scanning the photo in tomorrow sometime.

Can anyone tell me what rank he was? I think he was in the Royal Artillery. My family seem to think he was in the cavalry, but I think it was the Royal Field Artillery. Thanks in advance

Joe

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Joe Sweeney

Joe,

Looking forward to the photo.

In the meantime here are a few Ranks/appointments that show four chevrons. If he has the four chevrons on the lower left sleeve then they are good conduct badges.

Joe Sweeney

Page28.jpg

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Guest Joe Fowler

Joe,

Hi there. Thanks for the reply. Got delayed with the scan, but have now done it. Hope it shows up as a decent size.

Any help on the cap badge / rank apprecaited!

48153557-M.jpg

Edit - sorry, should say my great-grandfather is the chap with the dog, on the left.

Edited by Joe Fowler

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squirrel

Looks like Royal Artillery cap badges - difficult to tell if they are chevrons or creases in the jacket sleeve though.

If they are chevrons inverted on the left sleeve then it will be for good conduct; 2 years per chevron IIRC.

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Guest Joe Fowler
Looks like Royal Artillery cap badges - difficult to tell if they are chevrons or creases in the jacket sleeve though.

If they are chevrons inverted on the left sleeve then it will be for good conduct; 2 years per chevron IIRC.

Thanks - I will clean up the photo a little and post an enlargment of the sleeve area. It is difficult to tell on the picture above I agree.

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Rob B

Another idea is it could be a marksmans badge crossed rifles.

Rob

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squirrel

Also looks as if he is wearing a medal ribbon - was he awarded a medal for gallantry? If not then it could be a 1914 or 14-15 star which would date the picture after late 1917 I think but perhaps someone else can be more definate.

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Muerrisch
Joe,

Looking forward to the photo.

In the meantime here are a few Ranks/appointments that show four chevrons. If he has the four chevrons on the lower left sleeve then they are good conduct badges.

Joe Sweeney

Page28.jpg

Joe: how could you!

This illustration is awful, riddled with errors, a dreadful mismash of truths, half truths and misinformation. I have the booklet: to call it a source defies the trade descriptions act.

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Joe Sweeney

Actually I don't think I called it a source. Maybe implied.

It went up due to ease of posting :D

It was better than posting a the info out of the clothing regulations which are far more accurate and extensive and not illustrated.

Joe Sweeney

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Guest Joe Fowler
Also looks as if he is wearing a medal ribbon - was he awarded a medal for gallantry? If not then it could be a 1914 or 14-15 star which would date the picture after late 1917 I think but perhaps someone else can be more definate.

Squirrel,

Yes, he does wear a medal ribbon. The photo is 'dated' as 1915 (written on the back). He was at Mons, so I believe he was awarded the 1914 star.

The potted history that I am aware of (from family stories) is that he joined the army in 1903, was a career soldier until after the first world war. The story is that he was in the calvary. His horse pulled a gun. At Mons he saw the "Angel of Mons".

From the cap badge, I believe he was in the Royal Artillery, and I guess the story of the cavalry would mean he was in the Royal Horse Artillery?

Thanks to all for the feedback - a great forum.

EDIT - Just realised that the 1914 star was not issued until 1917. So perhaps the date on the photo is incorrect?

Edited by Joe Fowler

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Simon R

Most of the field artillery was horse drawn - doesn't make him RHA by any means. What it may make him is a Driver though. Did we work out what rank he was?

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Guest Joe Fowler

Some close-ups:

Cap Badge:

48189609-M.jpg

Right Sleeve:

48189611-M.jpg

Left Sleeve:

48189612-M.jpg

Hope this helps!

:)

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gporta

Joe,

Right sleeve's are overseas chevrons, and unless I'm wrong (then hope someone corrects me), this means the picture was taken in 1918, and the different colour of one of the chevrons indicate that he had been serving overseas since 1914.

(BTW, looks like if he has something else in the uper side of the sleeves)

Gloria

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Guest Joe Fowler
(BTW, looks like if he has something else in the uper side of the sleeves)

Gloria

Hi Gloria,

Thanks - more useful information!

I think the marks on the upper sleeves are creases in the uniform.

Joe

Edited for terrible spelling..

Edited by Joe Fowler

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Muerrisch

I had better do a critique of the illustration, then. It first appeared in 'Rank at a Glance', George Philip and Son, c. 1915. The badges are deliberately illustrated on drab [khaki] so are clearly intended for service dress.

My copy was someone's Christmas present in 1915, and this fits other attempts at dating via some of the badges. I keep my remarks to the infantry.

Despite page being headed Warrant Officers NCOs and men, WO I is not mentioned or illustrated. It became Royal Arms in 1915.

The WO II is correct, and, in 1915, was worn by all WO II including RQMS until a wreath was added for him later.

Badge 207 is therefore totally wrong, as it was NEVER the RQMS distinction. Until 1915 the badge over 4 chevrons was an eight-pointed star.

Badge 208 was worn on its own until 1915 by Staff Sgts First Class, usually only the Orderly Room Chief Clerk [various other titles for this]. From 1915 it was never worn on its own.

209 was only briefly the CSM badge in 1914, and had ceased being the distinction in 1915.

210 and 211 were not in use on drab from c. 1902, the badge for both being simple three chevrons, crown above.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

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Guest Joe Fowler

All,

OK - thanks for all the responses thus far. If I can summarise:

We now know:

Regiment = Royal Artillery

Date of photo = 1918 (as the right sleeve has 4 stripes for overseas service, one for each year, with the bottom one being a different colour, indicating he was abroad in 1914). Also he is wearing medal ribbons (assuming this is the 1914 star, which was given in 1917).

This is a great help to me.

Can anyone hazard a guess to his rank?

By the way, his name is Albert Edward Smith (the name is very common, hence my request for further details), and he was born in 1879 or 1880 (making him 37 or 38 in the photo) and he joined the army in 1902 or 1903. I am unsure when he left the army. He died in 1941, following a shrapnel injury sustained on Westminster bridge during the blitz. (He was working for the railways in the second world war, looking after the railway horses). The story is he was worried about them and went to see if they were ok during the bombing raid. As stated above, he was injured on Westminster bridge, and told his rescuers that he saw someone signalling with a torch to the bombers. They thought he was delirious. The bombs hit St Thomas' hospital, but great-granddad believed they were aiming for Parliament.

I have searched the medal index on the national archive, but I think I need to know his rank, because there are hundreds of Albert Smith's on there!

Anyway, thanks again, and I hope you find this interesting.

Joe

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Simon R

There are 'only' 36 Albert E Smiths for the Royal Field Artillery in the MICs.

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Guest Joe Fowler
There are 'only' 36 Albert E Smiths for the Royal Field Artillery in the MICs.

I agree, the Royal Field Artillery keywords has brought the numbers down, but will still cost me £126!!

Someone mentioned the possible rank of "Driver", I think I will search for that.

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Guest Joe Fowler
I agree, the Royal Field Artillery keywords has brought the numbers down, but will still cost me £126!!

Someone mentioned the possible rank of "Driver", I think I will search for that.

OK, 15 records for Albert E Smith, Royal Field Artillery with rank of "Driver". I downloaded a couple of images, and believe I may have struck lucky. What does everyone think?

48428631-M.jpg

The dates seem right. There is also a reference to a date in 11/1920 if I am reading the card correctly? Your expert knowledge is appreciated!

:D

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squirrel

Looks like it could be your man, clasp for the 1914 star issued in November 1920 - but..............................

How can you be sure it is your man without checking the other MIC's and seeing if there is a surviving service record with further details?

A visit to PRO should be on the cards or if you post in the I'm going to the NA section some kind soul may offer to do it for you.

Good hunting!

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