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 PatI 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 McCRORIEWho 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
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.
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.The 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.