Infantry Divisions, Identification Schemes 1917, by Mike Hibberd

Infantry Divisions, Identification Schemes 1917, by Mike Hibberd

Photographs by Gary Gibbs from the IWM collection

Published by the Military Historical Society in 2016, 64 pages. A5 size booklet (N7096)

Includes 8 pages (in addition to the inside covers) of colour illustrations showing the division signs and emblems.

From the introduction: Examining the options for selecting a date to illustrate the use of battalion identification signs throughout the army inevitably causes some problems as the movement of units from division to division or even a variation of a battalion's seniority within a brigade could mean a change to the identification signs worn. I think that it would unmanageable to list all of these changes and try to express them in terms of a table to illustrate the use of signs within the infantry divisions. I have therefore chosen one period as a point at which to examine what was in use and to show how divisions used these marks. There is far more information available than can be readily expressed in the tables that follow but this is recorded in notes that I have amassed over a long period covering the regiments battalion by battalion in the army's order of precedence with sources and illustrations...

There is some flexibility and in the tables for each division some references may appear regarding changes, schemes that were dropped or later ones adopted. To illustrate the use of signs in schemes by the divisions I have selected the summer of 1917 as the point of reference when the composition of divisions was generally settled and before the reductions in the composition of brigades were made early in 1918 with numerous battalions amalgamated or disbanded. I emphasise that the tables refer that 1917 period only and that numerous units changed divisions or were transferred from home and overseas garrisons and therefore some had worn different identifying marks previously or used different marks later in the War.

This date also coincides with the Imperial War Museum's acquisition of the bulk of its battalion sign collection together with the accompanying correspondence from units after its appeal for examples of the badges in 1917. It is from these and the 1919-1920 IWM Uniform Questionnaires sent to battalions that the greater part of my information has been gathered. There were some divisions, mostly regulars, which did not use a scheme to identify all their battalions. Where units confirmed that no badge was adopted or if no details have been found entries are marked accordingly. Home Service divisions are included to complete the divisional listings although none of these adopted schemes of signs. Unfortunately "no details found" appears with monotonous regularity in the tables but this compilation can be regarded as a work in progress as the search for information continues in the hope that details can be added as they come to hand, even if they produce an entry "None worn"...

Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers have one or two very minor scuffs but are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.