Australian and New Zealand Badges

RAAF cap badge

(Australian)

The voided letters 'RAAF' within a wreath of wattle and surmounted by an Imperial crown.

Information supplied by www.awm.gov.au

Sweetheart brooch

(Australian)

Sweetheart brooch with a gold painted RAAF eagle and crown set into a perspex disk. The back of the disk has been painted blue. The brooches were made by pressing a hot badge into the perspex.

The history of this brooch is unknown. However, it is an example of 'sweetheart' jewellery from the Second World War. RAAF servicemen would gift their sweethearts with a brooch. 

Information supplied by www.awm.gov.au

The Rising Sun Badge

(Australian)

Proudly worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Force in both World Wars, the 'Rising Sun' badge has become an integral part of the digger tradition. The distinctive shape of the badge, worn on the upturned side of a slouch hat, is commonly identified with the spirit of Anzac.

There are seven patterns of the Rising Sun. The Rising Sun has evolved over time and today Australian Army soldiers wear the seventh pattern Rising Sun.

The First Pattern - February 1902

During this time, a badge was urgently sought for the Australian contingents raised after Federation for service in South Africa during the South African (Second Boer) War. The most widely accepted version of the origin of this badge is the one that attributes the selection of its design to a British Officer, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Forces.

Hutton had earlier received as a gift from Brigadier General Joseph Gordon, a military acquaintance of long standing, a ‘Trophy-of-Arms’ composed of mounted cut and thrust swords and triangular Martini-Henry bayonets that were arranged in a semi-circle around the Crown. To General Hutton, the shield was symbolic of the cooperation between the naval and military forces of the Empire.

The Second Pattern - April 1902

The second pattern badge added a scroll with the words ‘Commonwealth Horse’ and changing ‘Australia’ to ‘Australian’. This badge was a modified version for the Commonwealth Horse. 

The Third Pattern - May 1904

The third pattern Rising Sun badge carried a scroll inscribed with the words ‘Australian Commonwealth Military Forces’ and was worn throughout both World Wars. There were, however, a number of variations of the badge; a special version was struck for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and there were badges of the Commonwealth Horse and the Australian Instructional Corps, each with its respective title on the scrolls. This pattern badge formed the template for all subsequent General Service badges.

The Fourth Pattern - 1949

Corps and regimental badges were reintroduced into the Army and the inscription on the scroll was changed to ‘Australian Military Forces’. 

The Fifth Pattern - 1954

The fifth pattern badge substituted the Imperial State Crown with the St Edwards Crown. It was approved in 1954 and issued in 1966.

The Sixth Pattern - 1969

The badge went through another alteration, with the introduction of the Federation Star above a heraldic wreath and the inscription was once again changed to read ‘Australia’. However, this design was never fully issued.

The Seventh Pattern - 1991

The current design was produced with ‘The Australian Army’ on the scroll and the removal of the Federation Star and heraldic wreath.

The Rising Sun Badge was originally called the General Service Badge, but it is now officially labelled the Australian Army Badge. It will, however, always be referred to as the Rising Sun Badge.

Australia Badge

(Australian)

All ranks wore an “Australia” title at the base of their shoulder straps. Each serving soldier also wore a copper badge below this which indicated the unit to which they belonged.

While the “Australia” titles continued to be worn throughout the war, these other badges were eventually replaced by a system of colour patches. Each division, brigade and unit had their own unique colour patch and Australia’s official war historian, C. E. W. Bean, said that “the men became intensely attached to these colours.”

Information from www.awm.gov.au

Military Forces Button

(Australian)

Domed oxidised metal buttons showing a raised emblem of Australia surmounted by the King's Crown. Encircling Australia is 'AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES'. The back of the button has two holes opposing each other and a shank centrally located. Surrounding this is a stamped maker’s name ‘STOKES & SONS MELBOURNE’.

Worn on the Australian Uniform during the First and Second World War.

Information from www.awm.gov.au

Returned from Active Service Badge

Returned from Active Service Badge

The purpose of the Returned from Active Service Badge (RASB) is to recognise Australian Defence Force members who have returned from active or warlike service during military campaigns in operational areas.

The RASB is not issued posthumously.

Some badges were issued with production numbers on the reverse. These are not recorded by the Directorate of Honours and Awards and current stocks do not have numbers.

Information from www.defence.gov.au

Medically Unfit Exemption Badge – Volunteered Badge

Medically Unfit Exemption Badge – Volunteered Badge

Rectangular white metal badge surmounted by a King's Crown. The centre of the badge has a raised letter 'V' above the word 'VOLUNTEERED'. Two lug fastenings are soldered to the reverse, which is marked in raised letters 'ISSUED BY THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT' with the year of manufacture. A serial number is impressed below the lugs and at the bottom is the manufacturer's name, 'K.G.LUKE MELB'.

The Exemption Badge was issued, during the Second World War, to men within the approved age limits volunteering for overseas service in the Australian forces during the Second World War, but who were rejected as being medically unfit. Applicants who were suffering from an evident disease or deformity were not eligible, and volunteers were required to have offered to serve in any of the defence forces before becoming eligible. The badge was then issued by the Army.

Information from www.awm.gov.au

Female Relative Badge

Female Relative Badge

The badge is a round white metal badge that is edged with laurel leaves and surmounted by a crown. In the centre is a map of Australia and the words, ‘TO THE WOMEN OF AUSTRALIA’. Underneath is a bar bearing brass stars to represent each child on active service abroad.

The Female Relatives’ Badge was established in 1940 for issue to the nearest female relative of a serving member of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Military Forces or Royal Australian Air Force. This badge was not issued to the relatives of members of the Merchant Navy.

This badge is no longer issued.

Information from www.defence.gov.au

RAAF Officers Crown and Eagle Cap Badge

RAAF Officers Crown and Eagle Cap Badge

Gilded metal King's crown and RAAF eagle badge with metal backing plate as worn on an officer's forage cap.

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Cap Badge

(New Zealand)

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) (Maori: Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa, previously Te Hokowhitu o Kahurangi) is the air force component of the New Zealand Defence Force. It was formed from New Zealand elements of the British Royal Air Force, becoming an independent force in 1923, although many RNZAF aircrew continued to serve in the Royal Air Force until the end of the 1940s. The RNZAF fought in World War II, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Gulf War plus various United Nations peacekeeping missions. From a 1945 peak of over 1,000 combat aircraft the RNZAF had shrunk to a strength of around 62 aircraft in 2010, focusing on maritime patrol and transport duties in support of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army. The Air Force is led by an air vice-marshal who holds the appointment of Chief of Air Force. The RNZAF motto is the same as that of the Royal Air Force, Per ardua ad astra, meaning "Through adversity to the stars."

Information from www.britishmilitarybadges.co.uk

Mothers’ and Widows’ Badge

This badge belonged to Mary Elizabeth Hutchins who suffered the loss of four of her seven sons who went to war.

The Mothers’ and Widows’ Badge was issued to the mother and/or widow of a member of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Imperial Force (including the Australian Army Nursing Service), Royal Australian Air Force or Merchant Navy killed in action, or died of wounds or from other causes whilst on service or as a result of such service.

Additional stars were added in the case of the death of more than one child.

This badge is no longer issued.

Design

The badge is round and silver-coloured. The obverse shows a raised image of a grieving woman and part of a laurel wreath with the words ‘FOR AUSTRALIA’ in raised letters.

The reverse has a hinged securing pin and raised lettering which reads ‘Issued by the ‘Commonwealth Government’. Suspended by two securing rings from the bottom of the badge is a flat rectangular bar where stars were added to represent children killed.

Information from www.defence.gov.au

German Badges

Luftwaffer Officer Cap Badge

(German)

Luftwaffe, (German: “air weapon”) component of the German armed forces tasked with the air defense of Germany and fulfillment of the country’s airpower commitments abroad.

The Luftwaffe was formally created in 1935, but military aviation had existed in the shadows in Germany since the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles had banned Germany from possessing warplanes, so much of the groundwork for the Luftwaffe was laid by civilian aircraft production and Freikorps paramilitary groups. By the beginning of World War II, the Luftwaffe was arguably the best air force in the world, and its robust role within the combined-arms strategy utilized by German military planners allowed for the use of blitzkrieg tactics against overmatched Allied armies. The structure of the Luftwaffe very much reflected the whims of its commander, Hermann Göring, and over three million men served in air force, air defense, and paratrooper units from 1939 to 1945. That incarnation of the German air force was disbanded by victorious Allied powers in 1946.

The service was reconstituted in 1956 as an integral part of the NATO defense network in central Europe. Outfitted primarily with American aircraft, West German pilots also received flight training in the United States. While that demonstrated the strength of the relationship between the two countries, it was also rooted in practicality, as locations such as Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico boasted more airspace and better consistent flying weather than could be found in Germany. As a result of the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the fading of Cold War threats, the modern German air force—composed of both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft—is focused primarily on its role within the defense structures of NATO and the European Union. With more than 40,000 troops and some 300 combat-capable aircraft, the Luftwaffe demonstrated that German airpower remained a potent force through its participation in NATO missions in Kosovo (1998–99) and Afghanistan (2001–14).

The maturation of Germany’s domestic aerospace industry eased the Luftwaffe’s reliance on American technology, and the Eurofighter Typhoon, a multirole attack aircraft built by the EADS consortium, served as the Luftwaffe’s principal combat aircraft in the 21st century. Budget cuts led to a deterioration of force preparedness in the early 21st century, however, and in 2014 it was estimated that fewer than half of Germany’s fighter, close air support, and airlift assets were combat ready.

Information from www.britannica.com

WW2 Army (Heer) Officers Hat

Image from 'Military Collectables: An International Directory of Twentieth-Century Militaria - Chief consultant Joe Lyndhurst'.

Wehrmacht Eagle Hat Badge

Wehrmacht Eagle Hat Badge Silver

Cockade Wreath Hat Badge

Cockade Wreath Hat Badge

WW2 Army (Heer) Officers Hat

Wehrmacht Eagle Hat Badge and Cockade Wreath Hat Badge
(German)

The German Army (German: Heer) was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the regular German Armed Forces, from 1935 until it was demobilised and later dissolved in August 1946. Though often erroneously restricted to the ground forces, the Wehrmacht also included the Kriegsmarine (Navy) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). During World War II, a total of about 13 million soldiers served in the German Army. Most army personnel were conscripted.

Only 17 months after Adolf Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937, two more corps were formed. In 1938, four additional corps were formed with the inclusion of the five divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss in March. During the period of its expansion by Adolf Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during World War I, combining ground (Heer) and air (Luftwaffe) assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the ‘war of annihilation’, the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of World War II, prompting the use of the word Blitzkrieg (literally lightning war, meaning lightning-fast war) for the techniques used.

The Nazi German Army entered the war with a majority of its infantry formations relying on horse-drawn transport. The infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war; artillery also remained primarily horse-drawn. The motorised formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, and were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland (September 1939), Norway and Denmark (April 1940), Belgium, France and Netherlands (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941) and Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941). However their motorised and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength. The army's lack of trucks (and petroleum to run them) was a severe handicap to infantry movement especially during and after the Normandy invasion when Allied air power devastated the French rail network north of the Loire. Panzer movements also depended upon rail: driving a tank over 150 kilometers wore out its tracks.

Information from www.britishmilitarybadges.co.uk

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