Ordnance Insignia of the British Army

The Corps Badge

Appendix ‘B’ to Précis No. DEP 4/17 - ‘The Corps Badge’ published by the RAOC School (Revised May 1956)

Summary of Badges, 1830 - 1953
(Reproduced from the original with amendments in green Italics and comments in brackets)

1830   Board of Ordnance storekeepers and clerks
    Cocked hat.
    Buttons - Bearing the Ordnance Arms.
1857   Military Store Department
    Officers - Cocked hat in full dress, forage cap, no badge
    Buttons - Gilt with a raised crown and the words ‘Military Store Staff.’
    M.S. Clerks - ‘M.S. in gold embroidery on forage cap.
1865   Military Store Staff Corps
    Letters ‘M.S.S.C.’ in centre of shako ‘plate’
1870   Control Department
    The Mil Store Dept. merged with other departments (Officers) to form the Control Department. Wearing this title around the Royal Crest on both buttons and waist belt plate.
1876   Ordnance Store Department
    ‘Ordnance’ and ‘Ordnance Store Department’ replaced ‘Control Department’ on buttons and belt plate respectively. The Royal Crest remained as before.
1877   Ordnance Branch of the Army Service Corps
    OB added to ASC on the shako plate
1881   Ordnance Store Corps
    OSC on shako plate. Crown on Collar. OSC on shoulder straps
    (Since 1878 the Home Service Helmet Plate had replaced the shako plate)
1896   Army Ordnance Department and Corps
    Hat Badge Officers - Arms of the old Board of Ordnance Shield with ‘Ordnance’ in the scroll.)
    (Collar Badge - in facing pairs - The same without the scroll, Later changing to The same as the Hat Badge, in 1902)
    Hat Badge OR’s - As above but with ‘Army Ordnance Corps’ in the scroll. (Larger than Ordnance Department Badge till 1907)
    Collar Badge. The same without the scroll (in facing pairs, Was origanally same design as Cap Badge till about 1907)
    Buttons - Officers The shield surmounted by the St Edwards Crown surrounded by the Garter
    Buttons - OR’s The General Service Button - Royal Arms.
    Full Dress The shield in silver on all badges and buckles.
    (Two designs of Helmet Plate exist for both the AOD & AOC - Monogrammed & ‘Ordnance Shield’)
    (In 1902 the St Edwards Crown was replaced by the Imperial Crown on all badges & buttons.)
1918   When the Corps had the title ‘Royal’ conferred upon it for service in World War I, it became necessary to re-design the Corps Badge, the new design being approved by His Majesty King George V. The Coat of Arms was placed within the Garter and Surmounted by the Tudor (Imperial) Crown with the motto, ‘SUA TELA TONANTI’ taken from the late Board of Ordnance, in the scroll. The hat and collar badges adopted the new design but used ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps’ in the scroll instead of the motto
    Buttons - The shield surmounted by the Tudor (Imperial) Crown surrounded by ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps’
  The Badge - The same design as in 1918 pattern but ‘SUA TELA TONANTI’ instead of ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps’
    Buttons - The same as the 1918 pattern. But without ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps” (Did not change till 1949)
1949   The new badge. Royal Approval 5th August, 1949
    Owing to the War Office Dress Committee’s decision in 1949 that a unit would only be allowed one hat badge for all types of head-dress and the fact that the 1948 1947 pattern badge was considered to large to wear on the beret and not ornate enough for wear with No1 Dress, it was accordingly proposed to adopt a smaller re-designed badge to meet all requirements for officers and other ranks
    The following extract taken from ‘The Explanatory Memorandum to the Royal Submission’ reads,
    it is desired to take the opportunity for giving greater prominence to the shield of the Arms of the Board of Ordnance. From the commencement the shield has been the main feature of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps badge, commencement the shield feature of the Royal has been the main Army Ordnance Corps hat badge, today than other components, e.g. the scroll and motto
    This re-designed badge with its large shield in silver and bolder crown resting on the top of the shield rather than on top of the garter, is in no way heraldically different from the 1918 and 1948 1947 patterns but is more in keeping with modern treatment of heraldic art.
    Buttons - The same as the 1948 1918 pattern but without ‘Royal Army Ordnance Corps’
1953   Consequent on her Accession, the Queen commanded that the St. Edwards Crown would supersede the Tudor (Imperial) Crown previously borne on badges and buttons.
    The RAOC Crest was accordingly modified to incorporate the St. Edwards Crown, and prints of the new design were circulated under Corps Instruction No.542 of 30th October, 1953 (Replaced by C.I. 615 of 1962 and later editions) This Corps Instruction also introduced a Corps Cipher for use by RAOC officers messes and the RAOC officers club as an optional alternative to the badges or crest on mess stationery, invitation cards, menus and Christmas cards.
    New badges and buttons have now replaced the old patterns bearing the Tudor (Imperial) Crown.
    The War Office Ministry of Defence policy now is that all metal badges and buttons will be anodised, i.e. non-tranishable, and such badges and buttons are in course of issue to RAOC

The RAOC Cipher

Note on Crowns:
The St. Edwards Crown was first known as ‘Queen Victoria’s Crown’ (QVC).
The Imperial Crown became known as the ‘Kings Crown’ (KC)
From 1953 onwards the St. Edwards Crown has become to be known as the ‘Queens Crown’ (QC)

M Comerford - December 2003 - HTML Revision 1