Air Force Silver Fern Badge

The Evening Post newspaper in an article, dated 24 April 1942, about 75 (NZ) Squadron noted that “In every aircraft the crews wear the silver fern badge. Many of the men regard it as a mascot and would not dream of flying without it. The English members of the crew, especially, the sergeants, also proudly wear the badge.”

There are a few photographs of Aircrew wearing this un-official badge a few of which I will show below. It is interesting to note that the photographs below are not of members of 75 Sqn so it appears this was wider worn than just with that particular squadron.

Here is my example of the badge.


You will note that on the back of the badge it is marked J.R. GAUNT, London. The firm of J.R. Gaunt & Son was established in 1884 when John Richard Gaunt and his eldest son, Charles Frederick, left their employment with the long established London military button makers Firmin & Sons to set up on their own. The firm, originally based at the intersection of Clifford Street and Furnace Lane in the Birmingham district of Lozells, prospered and began to supply badges and buttons to uniformed organisations all over the World.  After the First World War they purchased a number of other insignia manufacturers, including in 1924 Jennens & Co Ltd. With the acquisition of the Jennens business Gaunts moved their London base to Warwick Street. In 1991 Gaunt became a part of the Firmin Group.





9th Brigade Battle Dress

9th-brigade-lt-sideIn late January 1945 an increased need for infantry forced 2NZ Division to form another Brigade. 9NZ Brigade was formed when troops from the Divisional Cavalry, 27th Machine Gun Battalion and 22nd (Motorized) Battalion had been converted to a purely infantry role and brought together to create the new battalion.


This particular Battle Dress blouse was worn by 71123 Lieutenant Allen Stanley ROGERS. The two ribbons are for the 1939-45 Star and Italy Star.

On the right forearm he has five Service Chevrons, each chevron equals 1 year of completed service.


And on his left sleeve he has two Wound Stripes (find out more about Wound Stripes).


Lieutenant ROGERS was first wounded by a grenade fragment on the 29 October 1943 while he was a part of the  36th Battalion, serving in the Pacific with the 3rd NZ Division. He was wounded again, this time in Italy, on the 15 April 1945 when he was with the 22nd Battalion and was hit by the blast of a mortar round while bringing back five German POW’s to Battalion Head Quarters. Two New Zealanders were wounded and two Germans killed by the blast.


Wound Stripes


photo from photo

WW One Wound Stripes

In August 1916 Army orders approved a distinction to be worn by all officers and soldiers who had been declared wounded in casualty lists in any campaign since 4 August 1914. These were strips of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches in length, sewn perpendicularly on the lower left sleeve of the jacket, to mark each occasion wounded. Soldiers found that the Russia braid tarnished and was hard to clean. In view of the difficulties a number of companies produced brass versions, which where easy to remove and polish. For each additional wound another strip was placed on either  original at 1/2 inch intervals. Officers and soldiers reported “Wounded-gas, Wounded-Shock, shell” were entitled to the distinction but accidental or self-inflicted wounds or injuries did not qualify.

As there were a few companies that produced the Brass version of the Wound Stripe there are quite a few varieties. Here are my ones…

This particular example is made by Lambourne’s of Birmingham (the “L” has been obscured by the solder). Lambourne’s had a long history of selling accessories and jewelry for men. Started by Barrett Lambourne in 1886 the company remained under the families ownership until 1981. The company is still in business today though the name was changed in 2004 to Mag Mouch.

My second Stripe is marked rater interestingly on both the backing plate and stripe itself. It says… ‘Service’ Wounded Stripe, SS Ltd – B No 4 Prov Patwound-stripe-2-bck-clseI am not sure who the company SS ltd are but perhaps they are another Birmingham company.

This particular wound stripe was issued to Alexander Thomas Ernest McCRORIEwound-stripe-2-id-disksWho received his wound on the 12 October 1917 while he was a member of 5th Company, NZ Machine Gun Corps. He was sent back to the United Kingdom to recuperate in hospital on the 15 October 1917 and remained there until he embarked to return to NZ on the 28 July 1919. Just prior to the end of WW1 he transferred from the Machine Gun Corps to the NZ Engineers on 4 November 1918.

WW Two Wound Stripes


From aucklandmuseum-cenotaph (G COTTON-STAPLETON)

The wearing of Wound Stripes was approved for all ranks of the 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force with the publishing of 2NZEF Order 120/1944. The Wound Stripes were to be narrow gold braid 1.5 inches in length. One stripe will be worn in respect of each occasion on which the serviceman was wounded. The Stripe was to be worn vertically on the left sleeve, the lower end 4 inches above the bottom of the cuff. Interestingly a single red rayon braid stripe worn in the same place indicated a WW1 wound.

Only actual wounds qualified, accidental injuries, neurosis or physical exhaustion cases, even when recorded as battle casualties, did not qualify for the stripe.

The wound stripe was worn on the Service Dress and Battle Dress uniforms but not on the tropical Khaki Drill.

Here is my example of the wound stripe on a Service Dress Uniform.2nd-nzef-jacket-trousers-wound-stripe

I do not know who the serviceman was but you can see the full Service Dress by going here (2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force Figures).

Here is an example of two wound stripes worn on the sleeve of the Battle Dress of a  Lieutenant from the 9th Brigade. He was first wounded by grenade fragments in the Pacific while with the 36th Battalion, his second wound was in Italy with the 22nd Battalion when he was wounded by a mortar blast while he and some other men were bringing 5 German prisoners back to the battalion HQ.9th-brigade-lt-wound-stripesThe wound stripe was not approved for wounds received after WW2 and is still not approved for wear in the NZ Defence Force. In the 1990’s Canada did approve the wearing for post WW2 wounds but that changed in 2008 with the introduction of the Sacrifice Medal.

Reference – M THOMAS & C LORD “NZ Army Distinguishing Patches 1911-1991 ” part one.