Village Web Site Forum

Joan M. Tindale
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 15:09
Grandad's silver uniform badge WW1
Having cleaned my Grandad's silver uniform badge WW1 again this year, and reading out all our Cowling lads' names WW1 and 2 (total 70 men) at our Act of Remembrance, I am still wondering about the "U.M." in the middle of this oval shaped hall marked silver badge 97969 H. Binns (Harold) 41st. Batt.M.G.C. - and wonder if U.M. stood for United Methodist (old Bar Chapel Cowling), or has anyone any other ideas pls? Luckily my Grandad did survive, but am told he was never quite the same person again! I always think how the survivors must have felt coming home, when so many of their mates from the same village were killed, or died either during or afterwards from war-related causes.
(Seems like Sutton might know more about this subject than us up the road?)
David Laycock
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 21:34
Hi Joan,
My Dad got wounded twice. He never spoke much about that I can remember.
By the way we stayed up at Cowling Hill farm cottages last September, when we were over. I would recommend it to anyone. Very interesting to look around the old Church's grave yard etc.
Joan M. Tindale
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 22:25
Thanks, taking photos of badge in question and also the others and Andrew M. has kindly offered to investigate.
Message to everyone - please do keep an eye on your family graves and graveyards - both the old Bar Chapel and Cowling Hill had graves badly damaged with flags stolen earlier this year - and there have been others - the culprit (an ex grave digger) has owned up- but because there is no-one left who owns the graves it is all very complicated! Think all chapels, churches and owners of graveyards very sadly need to update their policies.
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Friday, November 16, 2012 12:31
Hi Joan, several responses on Great War Forum regarding your Granddad’s WW1 'silver uniform badge'.

The overwhelming consensus is that this is an 'unofficial' privately made identity bracelet because hallmarked silver ID tags were definitely not officially issued! Such privately commissioned bracelets in WW1 were very common once the scale of casualties became apparent.

Whilst precious metals tended to be afforded more by the officers, many of the middle classes were volunteers as 'other ranks' in the early part of the war and families would sometimes club together to buy such ID bracelets almost as a good luck and family farewell gift.

You are quite correct in that the initials U.M almost certainly stands for United Methodist (his chosen religion in the case of being killed). In most cases the religion (usually ‘C of E’) was included on Dog Tags to make it easier for making arrangements following death, just in case a man's religion required special conditions. Hence the U.M on this identity bracelet.

A further comment was made that the original wrist chain attachment holes have worn/broken through and have been replaced by punching a nail through. It may have been worn (later) around the neck or on equipment straps.

Hopefully the Webmaster can post images of your Granddad’s ID bracelet in this thread, together with an image of an almost identical silver ID bracelet (for comparison) that another M.G.C. soldier had privately made in Grantham.

As an aside, you mention that 70 men from Cowling were killed during WW1 and WW2 (as opposed to a total of 55 from Sutton for both wars). I had always assumed that Sutton had a larger population than Cowling so the statistics are a little surprising.
Joan M. Tindale
Friday, November 16, 2012 21:43
Thanks for above information - much appreciated. Had a look at photos of Grandad in uniform, but no sight of the ID badge anywhere, though easy to spot usual MGC badge on cap. Think the hallmark might be Birmingham 1918 almost after the war? Grandad and Grandma were married 1916 during the war.
My own updated lists of WW1 - 60 men, and WW2 - 10 men- should be on CPGW site - did lots of complicated research a few years ago which was vetted by John who runs the site. We still have 3 memorials in Cowling, but a few now gone (chapels, cricket pavilion etc.)
Paul Wilkinson
Monday, November 19, 2012 09:54
Images received from Andrew Monkhouse...




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