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34th Mounted Rifle's reinforcement badge

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:37 pm
by pukman

I was reading the updates page with interest about the 34th MR reinforcements badge at the Arrowtown museum.The badge itself is actually a 23rd or 24th MR reinforcement collar badge with a 34th disc superimposed which makes it very unusual in itself,The standard ''double horses head'' badge is struck with a 23 , or with a 24 disc superimposed for the 24th.The 34th disc is slightly larger than the 24th disc.I would think this badge would have been made up at an individual troopers request by a camp jeweller,and is possibily one of a kind.The brooch back pin also suggest it could have been used as a sweetheart badge,as the originals had hexagonal lugs.

It could be possible it identify the trooper it belonged to ,if it came from the Arrowtown region,given that there were 120-140 (actually 129)troopers in the 34th reinforcements,Arrowtown being a reasonably small place,and that we have a list of troopers.So if someone cross references it,we should be able to narrow down the possibilities.

i was fortunate to visit the Arrowtown museum a few years ago when they had an excellent ANZAC day exhibition.The museum is well worth a visit in itself especially for the local gold mining history which brought a flood of immigrints to this country.

Re: 34th Mounted Rifle's reinforcement badge

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:34 am
by Steve_Butler
Thanks Iain for your indepth comments - I know you jump back when others refer to you as an expert, but your hobby has certainly given you a great insight into the tricky world of badge collecting - and indeed you have a special insight into the NZMR itself.

In the interest of the above comments by Iain I now reproduce the item posted yesterday on our updates page of Oct 7th:

Hi Steve, (7th October)
I am the education officer from the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown. We are in the process of completing the accession of a number of badges in our collection, and I was wondering if you would be able to identify the attached badge for me - which regiment, and what the '34' stands for.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,
Angela Verry
Education Officer
Lakes District Museum, Arrowtown New Zealand

Thanks for your contact Angela.
We are pleased to help, and pleased to see these old warhorses again seeing the light of day.
Yes this is a very fine example of a hat badge of the 34th New Zealand Mounted Rifles Reinforcements.
Intakes of Reinforcement troops for the NZMR were being trained from before the "Main Body" departed New Zealand in October 1914. The first of the support troops were designated the 2nd Reinforcements. They sailed from Wellington on the 14th December 1914.
NZMR intakes were now sent from all parts of New Zealand for final training at Featherston Camp just North of Wellington. At this point the intakes were called by a Reinforcement number even though they came from any of the 12 Regimental areas within the country. After training together the troops were shipped to the war zones, and on arrival the individual men were allocated (usually) to their "Home" Regiment to bring the Brigade back up to force.
On the 13th November 1917, the 34th Reinforcements NZMR departed Wellington on the S.S. Tofua (HMNZT 98) bound for Suez, Egypt. As this sailing was much later in the war the Reinforcement intakes had become smaller with the lack of eligible men to fight - and for this reason the Tofua also had onboard the 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd Reinforcements NZMR.
Fortunately we have a copy of the Ships Magazine that was produced and printed by the men as they sailed to the war. Titled "Horse Marines" this souvenir publication records events of the voyage, but more importantly lists the names of everyman onboard. As you can see the numbers in the 34th Reinforcements is well down on the original influx of the first fifteen or twenty Reinforcements, hence the badge you have was not issued to many men, and therefore also has a rarity value that perhaps would fetch a nice price at auction - but I suggest this lovely example has found an appropriate home.
It would be nice to know if you have any documents relating to the history of the badge - lets hope you can see the troopers name on the list.
Our Association came by the ships magazine by way of Trooper Rowland Smith relatives, and we have reprinted Rowland's diary of events from Featherston to his arrival in Egypt. I'm sure there is plenty of material here to support your badges presentation at the Museum. We would be very interested in posting any exhibition or display dates on our website.

Thanks again - very interesting observations.

Re: 34th Mounted Rifle's reinforcement badge

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:49 am
by Steve_Butler
Actually Iain, the more I look at that badge (top of page) the more I like to think that it is from an original 24th Reinforcement badge.
The "4" shown on the disk is a narrower "condensed sans-serif" font - on the other hand the "3" is not condensed and has quite a lot more thickness in its form. It has to be another font style.
I suggest then that the "2" of the original badge has been ground off and a "3" from another badge has been sweated on - what do you think?

But before I get ahead of myself - what was the shape of the original 34th badge?

I see we dont have one one our Reinforcements badge page - however I post the 23rd's badge here for reference:

AND wooops! - I now see I have made another mistake - this badge has a crown over the laurel leaves - Oh dear! - that means this badge here with the crown is a "HAT" badge and the photograph that was sent in is of "COLLAR" badge (and therefore would be slightly smaller).
Is that true Iain? (on re-reading your post I now observe "collar" in there - I missed it first time round, my apologies)

Re: 34th Mounted Rifle's reinforcement badge

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:56 pm
by Steve_Butler
areply from Angela:
Thanks for all your information Steve - the latest email below preempted me having to ask about the fixings on the backside of the badge! I have also attached a photo of the reverse of the badge - it was originally a '23rd' badge.

Also, seeing as you are such a font of knowledge, this morning I discovered another badge, this one belonged to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, as far as I can tell. Any other information you have would be much appreciated!

Kind regards,



(The reverse shows quite clearly on a larger image I received that the item is stamped Sterling Silver and the original stamping die used had the number "23" -I'll leave this up to Iain to answer :wink: )

Re: 34th Mounted Rifle's reinforcement badge

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:02 pm
by pukman
Hello Steve and any other interested persons.
Having seen the back of the badge,and that is infact a sterling silver 23rd Mounted rifle sweetheart badge(collar size) converted into a 34th sweetheart badge through adding a 34th disc.I would say this is a one of a kind(or very close ).Making it unique.

Sweetheart badges are a a range of good quality badges made by jewellers,which were purchased by the soldiers departing to the war overseas,and given by them to their sweethearts,wives,sisters and mothers.They were treasured by them as keepsakes,and proudly worn to signify the connection with a loved one serving king and country.They were normally made in silver,occasionally in solid gold,sometimes in a combination of both,and worn by means of a brooch pin at the back.Sometimes a soldier would have his brass reinforcement badge converted with a brooch pin on the back,to give as a gift.

Having waded through the 34th Mounted sailing list from the ships magazine,i have come up with one name.

Alfred Wilcox, 58152

34th Mounted reinforcements
Schee-lite Miner ,
Glenorchy Lakes.
Next of Kin,

So perhaps this is our man,who had this badge commissined to send to his sweetheart in Arrowtown

Pictured are my silver ,or silver and 9ct sweethearts
which include the ''23rd MR reinforcement'' sterling silver sweetheart badge which is in fact a rareity in itself without adding the conversion of the badge .I have also seen a 9ct Gold version of this badge as well as a ''24th'' version.

The Brass badges of the 23 and 24th Mr reinforcements measure 48mm for the crowned cap badge amd 32mm for the uncrowned collars.A specific badge for the 34th MR reinforcements would have been a Peagasus style badge (High and Low tail) with a 34 sweated onto it.

The other badge from the museum is of course the 1st Mounted rifles (Canterbury Yeomanary Calvary).The one pictured is the slightly rarer version with solid top on Y,Oldham's 5/4
dunsdale 010.jpg