Insignia Variations between 1881 and 1902
The creation of the new, so-called 'Territorial' infantry regiments under the Cardwell and Childers Reforms over a relatively short period, had necessarily led to some compromises and hasty decisions. When selecting new insignia for the regiments created by merger between the Militia and Regulars of the hitherto sequentially numbered line, there were inevitably some units who saw themselves as having lost out with some element of their much prized and separate lineage. In the years that followed attitudes gradually settled and, as the new identities developed, some prejudices and strong feelings came to the surface and led to change. Some regiments had embraced the input and influence of the former Militia, so that the symbols that they had brought to the union became very much a part of the unit identity. The roses of Yorkshire and Lancashire are a prevalent example of this. In some cases former Militia badges were dropped, a good example being the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who perhaps resting on the dignity of their time-honoured lineage as the former 6th Regiment of the Line, decided that they preferred their ancient Antelope insignia over the chained bear of the Neville Family and so changed their collar badge. In other cases, such as that of the York and Lancaster Regiment, successors of one of the two previously numbered regiments felt that their previous collar badge had been insufficiently respected, and so to the Bengal Tiger collar badge of the old 65th was added the combined red and white rose of the old 84th York and Lancaster. In this way the two battalions, 1st and 2nd, each felt that their history was equally valued and represented within their conjoined insignia. Other examples of change were much more subtle and items as small as buttons might be changed to a minute degree. Good examples being the senior regiment of England, the Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment, who wishing their longevity to be emphasized added the date 1661 to an otherwise almost identical button, or the Seaforth Highlanders, who thinking the stag on their button looked more like a cow, replaced the image with a more slender variety. Some other changes were brought about simply by change of regimental title either, to add the approbation of ‘Royal’ as a prefix, or to reflect a change in wording so that the Territorial association appeared in sequence before the name of a Royal personage whose title graced the regiment’s identity. Finally in 1901, the old Queen Victoria died and Edward VII came to the throne. This led to the adoption of a new and so-called Tudor crown to signify his reign, so that over the succeeding year all insignia was changed to reflect this.
Please Note: As many of you know, the study of British badges and insignia can be complicated. We strive to ensure accuracy every day. Any time we find an error we do correct it on the site, so if you have seen a mistake in the past, check the page again as we have probably corrected it.