Mystery badge

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Mystery badge

Postby BillDuggan » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:29 pm

Can anyone tell me what this badge is. It is 56mm from tip to opposite tip of the cross I suspect it is a militia battalion badge but which one?

The only wording on the circlet are 'CUMBERLAND REGIMENT'

The centre of the badge is blank. The battle honours on the arms of the cross are all Napoleonic

I wrote to the Museum with no reply. Hope someone can help.
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Re: Mystery badge

Postby plbramham » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:23 am

I think it must be an early 34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot badge. If you look at my photo below of a 1874-81 pattern 34th other ranks glengarry badge , you'll see it shares the same cross (design "borrowed" from the grand cross of the Order of the Bath) and the lions between it's arms ( both the cross and the lions continued into the Border Regt. crest design for caps and insignia) The battle honours as you say are Napoleonic, but specifically for the Peninsula war. I believe the only regiments to have exactly that combination of those honours were the 34th & the 57th (West Middlesex) Regt., so I guess the "Cumberland" on the badge ties that one down. As for militia, I would not have thought a militia unit would have battle honours as they were "at home". Later volunteers/territorials as opposed to milita (such as 4th & 5th Btn Border Regt.) did have South Africa battle honours because they did go overseas to fight in the Boer War.
By it's size I thought it could be a Shako plate rather than a cap badge, which would fit with an early to mid 19th century item . Mind you, I wonder why no crown on top?( that made me thnk at first that it ws a collar badge until I read how big it was!) Perhaps it is a helmet plate centre ( certainly the right size - what are the attachment pins/lugs on the rear?) in which case the crown would be on the surround not on the hpc itself.
So to summarise. I suppose my guess is that it is a 34th Cumberland Regiment of Foot helmet plate centre dating c 1820 -1850 ,i.e post Napoleonic, pre Crimea war judging by battle honours. That should throw the cat among the pigeons, what do others think?
Anyway certainly an early badge and probably quite rare so worth a few bob - Is it brass or gilded?
Where did it come from? - I'm wondering if you consider that it is an original or a restrike?
Regards Paul
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0001 34th glengarry.jpg
34th (Cumberland) Regiment Glengarry badge 1874-81
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Re: Mystery badge

Postby BillDuggan » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:55 pm

I picked up this badge for a few quid in Portobello Road antique market, London; a place notorius for....."re-engineered" items.

Yours looks a pukka item, whereas my badge feels lika a restrike; the brass seems to be hard brass (there is suspiciously no "wear"). There is two east/west "lugs"

I am just curios about the blank centre. I've never seen anything like it before.

Thanks for your comments anyway.
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Re: Mystery badge

Postby plbramham » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:37 am

Hi Bill,
Like you I find the blank one strange – it’s screaming out for a “34” in the middle isn’t it?
As it is Cumberland Regt it would not have the “Border” dragon in the centre as that was the 55th emblem from the Chinese standard they captured in 1841.
I don’t have any badges with a blank centre, but I have seen it carved on memorial s- I guessed as a generic crest if the memorial included men of 4th,5th,and 11th Btns. who had their own badges, though CWGC headstones simply use the “standard” badge – not even the dragon for the Lonsdales.
Note the cross below on the Appleby Boer War memorial for Border Regiment volunteers has a star in the centre.
I have a very similar badge to yours (below) which is the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment, which is why I know that they had the same Peninsula honours as the 34th. (Maybe someone out there is copying early 19th century badges with a 34th theme eh?!!) I bought it as a restrike and paid the accordingly cheap price, thinking it may have 34th connection due to the honours.
As you say copies don’t “feel” right – too shiny, no wear, uniform colour, and the definition of the casting is usually not as crisp as an original. The real giveaway is the back - no dirt, no old metal polish residue, no tarnishing, and the solder around the copper lugs is a shiny silver colour, not oxidised. (Mind you mine also had the added clue of a very new cotter pin!)
I actually don’t mind restrikes as long as they are honestly sold as such, and perhaps it is better than their standard is not perfect so they are not easily passed off as originals. (Unlike museum quality display replicas which are good but usually very clean and mint)
Restrikes give you the opportunity (and it’s your choice so long as it is honestly sold as a copy) to have a space filler in your collection form an early rare item which is hard to find or too expensive.
Your badge has two lugs? A helmet plate centre has three- left, right, and top centre. So perhaps yours is a copy from a shoulder belt badge/ buckle which could explain why there’s no crown.
I have an unusual old copy - a brass 5TH Btn Border cap badge made in India in the 1920s. I knew the 5th never had brass badges and not served in India. Checking with the vendor, it turned out he had bought 80 plus similar badges of all regiments from a bloke who had been a military policeman in India during the 1920s, and had commissioned a local to make sand mould casts in brass of military badges to create a display of uniform appearance.
I like your term “re-engineered”, I must remember that one, far more subtle than “copy” or “fake”!
Regards Paul
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000 badge_edited-2.jpg
My 57th Regt restrike - note similarities to 34th badges
000 badge_edited-2.jpg (425.63 KiB) Viewed 3198 times
000.jpg
Cross on Appleby Boer War memorial to Border Regiment volunteers
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Re: Mystery badge

Postby BillDuggan » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:29 pm

Hi, once again thanks for your interesting comments.

I'm still convinced it's some kind of militia or cadet badge or may'be a civilian ex-servicemens association badge commisioned for a brass band or something.

Of course it may not be a cap badge but a badge worn on a cross-belt or something.

I bought it for the very unusual plain blank centre.
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Re: Mystery badge

Postby plbramham » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:15 pm

I’d forgotten about this old posting - see this link to a later posting in the 34th section identifying the type as being a 34th (Cumberland) Regiment of Foot shoulder cross belt plate, and showing a white metal example of the same item. Paul
viewtopic.php?f=154&t=2376
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