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Foot Guards and Fleet Marines

As special, discrete corps, the Sovereign's Foot Guards and shipboard Marines furnished for the Royal Navy were among the first British troops to use distinctive, identifying badges on their uniforms and accoutrements, rather than the simple numerals used by the bulk of the Line Infantry. When numerals were replaced by so-called 'unit designations' in 1881, both Guards and Marines maintained the status quo.

The Foot Guards. When tunics replaced coatees in 1855 the Foot Guards immediately adopted their long standing, distinctive badges as shoulder strap insignia instead of the numbers used by the line. These badges had previously been seen on cartouche boxes, knapsacks, shakos, coat tail ornaments and officers bullion epaulettes, so they were immediately recognisable as icons of the elite Guards. However, these badges were generally used only on full dress tunic shoulder straps and, unlike the infantry of the line, were not favoured on undress uniforms used on campaign. When scarlet cloth shoulder titles were first adopted in 1902 they were square ended, but over the course of WW1 gradually gained a rounded end as a unique feature.

The Royal Marines Light Infantry. As with the Foot Guards, when tunics were adopted by the Royal Marines in place of coatees their shoulder straps were adorned with the 'Globe and Laurel' badge awarded to them by King George IV in 1827. This badge too had gained much fame and was equally well known from its usage on previous accoutrements and other forms of insignia used by the corps. However, unlike the Guards, it was not just reserved for full dress tunics, but also used on undress scarlet garments, albeit always without any collar badge. On the blue serge working dress jacket a woven red bugle was worn on the collar. In 1908 it was replaced by a brass globe and laurel and, when the Royal Naval Division was reorganised in late 1914 – early 1915, the same badge was adopted on the newly issued khaki service dress.


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COMING IN LATE APRIL, WE WILL BRING THE SHOULDER TITLES OF THE CAVALRY, ARTLLERY, ENGINEERS, CHANNEL ISLANDS MILITIA  AND THE DEPARTMENTAL CORPS ALONG WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE SHOULDER STRAPS WORN BETWEEN 1896 AND 1914.