Ordnance Insignia of the British Army

Patterns of Metal Shoulder Titles

Metal Shoulder Titles were another result of the army reorganisation of 1881, when they were first introduced for officers tropical uniforms. But after Khaki Drill (K.D.) uniforms were issued in India in 1885, titles were worn by other-ranks as well. With the introduction of the 1902 Pattern Service Dress (S.D.) Embroidered Shoulder Titles were also being worn, until 1907 when Clothing Regulations first stated that Metal (Normally Brass) Titles were to be used. The regulations stated “ Metal shoulder titles will be worn on both shoulder straps of garments for which they are authorised. The lower edge of the title will be inch above the seam joining the shoulder strap to sleeve” They went on to say “ Titles, etc., will be worn on the shoulder straps of tunics, S.D., and K.D. jackets and Greatcoats.” When Battle Dress (B.D.) was introduced in March 1938 , Cloth ‘Slip-on’ Titles along with ‘Arms-of-Service’ flashes were being used, and by 1943 coloured cloth shoulder titles being worn by practically every regiment and corps on the sleeve of the B.D. blouse below the epaulette. Metal Shoulder Titles however continued to be used after the war in overseas theatres, and by some units in shirt sleeve order.

The following are the recognised styles of Ordnance Metal Collar Badges:

   

Top Left   WL 440   Ordnance Stores Corps (OSD) 1881 - 1896
         
Top Right   WL 440A   Army Ordnance Department (AOD) Single strap 1896 - 1918
    (WL 440B)   (A Double strap version is also known to exist)
         
Centre Left   WL 441   Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) Single strap 1896 - 1918
         
Centre Right   WL 442   Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) Double strap 1906 - 1918
         
Bottom Left   WL 443   Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Large) All Ranks 1918 - 1947
         
Bottom Centre   WL 444   Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Medium) Other Ranks 1947 - 1954
         
Bottom Right   WL 445   Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Small) Officers 1947 - 1993 *
         
  * WL 445   Was worn by All ranks from circa 1950 onwards.
        (Later versions were in Anodised Aluminium with Lugs or Pin Backed)

Variations

The following variations of Metal Shoulder Titles are noted:

Above-   Large Gilt Ordnance Store Corps example, with thin top & bottom straps

Left -   Manufactured in Copper
     
Centre -   Double strap version with voided A
     
Right -   Fanned Out Title done by some AOC soldiers.

 

Left -   AOC Title with R from RA or RE soldered on due to shortage of RAOC Tiles in 1919
     
Centre -   Blackened RAOC Title for Officer or Warrant Officers in overseas stations.
     
Right -   RAOC example of 'Fanned Out' Title, Top bar was removed first.

Left -   Thinner Brass version of RAOC Medium Officers Title
     
Centre -   Cast RAOC Title with Full Stops as in Indian Army I.A.O.C. examples.
     
Right -   Later Anodised Aluminium version with Lugs or Pin backs.

M Comerford - July 2004 - HTML Revision 1