Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
British Army Cap Badges of the First World War
By Peter Doyle and Chris Foster
Shire Collections (
ISBN 9780747807971
RRP GBP £14.99

One of the most tangible objects of an individual’s service in the British Army during World War 1 is their cap badge. These badges denote the regiment or specialist arm in which the wearer served. They are highly collectable and this book aims to catalogue those used by the British Army in the Great War. The cap badge not only identifies the wearers’ military unit but they may also commemorate major / significant events.

Often collectors, military historians and family history researchers need to identify a unit in which an individual served and this excellent book significantly aids such research as an invaluable tool. Over 300 badges are illustrated in colour and there are superb descriptions detailing the history of the units and the design of their specialist badge. Some of the badges have emblems of prior service such as the Sphinx for battles in Egypt, battles honours intricately embedded in the badges design and various “Royal” features (such as crowns and monograms) or the bugle of the light infantry.

In the British Army the cap badge is the most easily identifiable form of unit insignia. These badges instil pride in the regiment / corps and the units’ battles honours / symbols are proudly worn on the headdress. Servicemen proudly wore these badges, even in the trenches, as they help to identify their fellow comrades.

Many genealogists and historians focus on the Great War and this book is an indispensible guide to the cap badges worn during this conflict. Most of them will find this book highly useful in the recognition / identification of soldiers’ units. This reference work can aid any research into individuals and their parent formations.

Along with medals, cap badges form the most abundant physical remnants of the conflict. As genealogists seek to unravel the activities of family members on the battlefield identifying the units of their forebears is essential to any research project and this excellent reference book enables researchers to discover the subject’s unit.

The book uses plenty of high quality colour images of the main types of cap badges worn during World War 1. It also has plenty of examples of contemporary images of soldiers wearing the badges and superb narratives on the badges’ histories. The narratives give explanations of the badges wider importance and their symbolism. It is a unique reference work detailing the vast majority of badges and congratulations are due to the authors.

March 2012