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The Badges of Kitchener’s Army (Hardback)

WWI Military

By David Bilton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 351
ISBN: 9781473833661
Published: 2nd October 2018



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Badges of Kitchener's Army is based on thirty years research in museums, archives and collections. It is an exhaustive study of the development of the battalion, brigade and divisional signs of the thirty divisions raised by Kitchener's appeal for men.

While the divisional signs are well known, there has been little authoritative work on the signs worn by the infantry battalions. The book will illustrate the unique cap and shoulder titles used, as well as cloth signs worn to provide easy recognition in the trenches. Each service battalion, of each regiment has a listing, which provides a brief history of the unit and detailed information on the badges worn.

It is prodigiously illustrated and contains much information, like why a shape or colour was chosen, when it was adopted, what size it was, whether it was worn on a helmet, what colour the helmet was and even what colours were used on horse transport; the majority of this rich and detailed information has never been published before. What helps make the information accurate and authoritative is that much of it comes from an archive created at the time and from personal correspondence with hundreds of veterans in the 1980s, many of whom still had their badges and often had razor-sharp recollections about wearing them. The book will also provide some comments from these veterans.

A further unique aspect of the book is that it will look at the uniforms and badges worn before the battalions left the country, providing much new information that will enable people to identify any photographs they have lying around.

In all of this, the work done by Bilton is great.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

This attractive book with excellent colour and black and white illustrations is based on over thirty years research. The authors interest was stimulated when he was shown the important IWM collection which saw its beginnings in 1917 when units were invited to provide details of the badges they were wearing. Over the years the author was able to interview many veterans, now long since gone, who could recall will great clarity the badges they wore. The book is clearly laid out and firstly takes the reader through the formation badges worn by the 9th to the 41st Divisions, then on through their constituent brigades and then Service battalion by Service battalion of 69 different infantry regiments in order of seniority, from The Royal Scots to The Rifle Brigade. There is no doubt this elegant book, packed with information will fast become an essential reference work on this subject and perfectly complements the latest MHS Special Number. Most highly recommended to all First World War badge enthusiasts.

Military Historical Society

There is no doubt that this is a vital reference book on the Great War, whether it be the military or family historian.

Jon Sandison, Freelance

Documentary masterpiece Without a Doubt.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Editor's Choice

It's a hugely informative and visually impressive work, and a fantastic resource for general enthusiasts and those who collect old photos.

The Armourer, February 2019

In terms of the scope / objective of the book the author’s work cannot be sufficiently
praised. It is a superb book given the array of insignia considered and must have taken
hundreds of man-hours to prepare / collate. The book certainly meets the objective of
Kitchener Battalions and it is a shame that those of the other types of Battalion have not
yet received the same coverage. Let’s hope that the author tackles this potential future
work in the same excellent manner that he has done with the Kitchener’s. You simply
can’t get a better book on Kitchener Battalion insignia.

Military Archive Research, Dr Stuart C Blank

This is a book that has been many years in the researching and it will be an extremely important reference resource for anyone with an interest in the Great War and in particular those pedantic individuals like me who want to analyse every last pixel of a military photo.

Read the full review here

Army Ancestry Research, Paul Nixon

This book will be of interest to many people from the person with a passing interest to the most knowledgeable collector. I defy anyone who picks it up intending to look at one regiment to put it down with out looking at a few more.
We highly recommend this invaluable research tool.

Read the full review here

Clash of Steel

This is one of those books which I can not only enjoy, but simple sit back in admiration for. This is one to keep among any reference collection for detail on British Army Uniforms, particularly in this case for WW1.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland
 David Bilton

About David Bilton

David Bilton is a retired teacher who spends his time looking after his family, working as a University lecturer and researching the Great War. He is the prolific author of numerous books about the British Army, the Home Front and the German Army. His first book, The Hull Pals, became the BBC 2 series The Trench. Since he started writing he has contributed to many television and radio programmes. His interest in the Great War was ignited by his grandfather's refusal to talk about his experiences in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

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