Introduced 31 May 1940 ,under emergency regulations, this badge was intended to stop incidents like those that had happened in World War One of many men in civilian clothing receiving a white feather. The badge had a short life, as on 22 July 1940 under the National Service Emergency Regulations, volunteer service ended, conscription being introduced for all males between 18 to 46.
The regulations as outlined by the Minister of Defence for the issue of the badge were published in the NZ newspapers on 1 June. They were that a badge may be issued to a man ; 1) who had been honourably discharged from His Majesty’s Naval or Air Force or the Second NZ Expeditionary Force (2nd NZEF);2) volunteered for service in His Majesty’s Naval or Air Forces or the 2nd NZEF and have been accepted or provisionally accepted, but whose service has not commenced or has been temporarily suspended; 3) volunteered for service and had been rejected because they are not up to the medical standard of fitness required.
A further stipulation was that only men within the age categories laid down for each service and who were not suffering some obvious physical or mental defect would receive the badge.
Every badge was issued with a certificate which had a corresponding number to that stamped onto the back of the badge. And the men issued with the badge had to carry the certificate on them at all times as there were several penalties provided for the unlawful wearing of the badge and illegal manufacture or sale or possession of this badge.
It is interesting to note that while in use the badges remained the property of the Crown and had to be returned at the time of the expiry noted on the issued certificates. Or if no expiry date noted then on the death of the holder or when notification of recall is received from the issuing authority.
The fact that they were not issued to men that had been declared unfit for overseas service but fit for home defence did cause a bit of unease at the time as it was felt that these men could still be targeted by others as “ballot dodgers”.
Interestingly in looking through the Papers Past website for info about this Volunteers badge I came across an organistaion that I never heard of that had its own badge, the “Discharged Volunteers Association” or DVA. The badge is described as a “round silver disc the size of a sixpence, bearing the letters D.V.A. over a fern leaf which carries the initials N.Z.” I will be keeping an eye out for one now though.
The back of the badge showing the number 5542, unfortunately I do not have the corresponding certificate giving authority to wear. The MK mark on the back is for the Wellington badge manufacturing company of Mayer & Kean. The company has been going since 1902 and is now known as Mayer & Toye.