Military Sweetheart Badges and Regimental Brooches

4th March 2017 — 19 Comments

I’m so pleased! Micheal Rawlins, is a Canadian detectorist. But you already know that, because he was the winner of the competition I held in December last year. What you perhaps don’t know is that he is a prolific, passionate and successful collector of all things ‘military’, just like Dean Owen, the subject of a recent blogpost.

Micheal has allowed me to share some of his ‘sweetheart badges’ with you, all found in British Columbia. Actually, the term ‘sweetheart’ is commonly used, but misleading. During the First World War, wives, sisters and girl friends commonly wore pin brooches that depicted miniature badges of units in which male loved ones were serving. They were usually commercially manufactured, bought and presented by the servicemen as they left home. Micheal says, ‘These few pins are the sweetheart pins that I have found and like my military badges, they hold a place of high honour and esteem in my displays.’

54th Battalion. The Kootenays

© MR

The Kootenays were an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 54th Battalion was authorised on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 22 November 1915 and disembarked in France on 14 August 1916. It fought as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The Kootenay comprises the southwestern portion of British Columbia and takes its name from the Kootenay River.

43rd Battalion. The Camerons

© MR

The 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The 43rd Battalion was authorised on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 1 June 1915. It disembarked in France on 22 February 1916, where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920. The Battalion was recruited and mobilised at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Lieutenant Robert Shankland was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Passchendaele on 26 October 1917.

The Artillery

© MR

The Canadian Artillery and the Garrison Artillery were the designations of the Non-Permanent Active Militia as of January 1914. The Canadian Artillery and the Garrison Artillery were collectively redesignated the Royal Canadian Artillery on 3 June 1935.

The 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles

© MR

The 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, (known colloquially as the 2nd Battalion, CMR or simply 2 CMR) was authorised on 7 November 1914 as the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF, and embarked for Great Britain on 12 June 1915. It disembarked in France on 22 September 1915 as part of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Brigade. On 1 January 1916 it was converted to infantry, amalgamated with ‘B Squadron’ and the headquarters staff of the 3rd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF and redesignated the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, CEF. It fought as part of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 6 November 1920.

The 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles

© MR

Formed in Vancouver on March 15, 1915, this regiment was broken up to provide reinforcements to other units. Yes, and it is gold as you thought. Micheal said, ‘This was a welcome and totally unexpected find!’

Canadian Military Engineers

© MR

The Canadian Military Engineers (CME) is the military engineer branch of the Canadian Armed Forces. The mission of the Canadian Military Engineers is to contribute to the survival, mobility, and combat effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces. Their roles are to conduct combat operations, support the Canadian Forces in war and peace, support national development, provide assistance to civil authorities, and support international aid programs.

Military engineers’ responsibilities encompass the use of demolitions and land mines, the design, construction and maintenance of defensive works and fortifications, urban operations (hostile room entry), breaching obstacles, establishing/maintaining lines of communication, and bridging. They also provide water, power and other utilities, provide fire, aircraft crash and rescue services, hazardous material operations, and develop maps and other engineering intelligence.

In addition, military engineers are experts in deception and concealment, as well as in the design and development of equipment necessary to carry out these operations. The official role of the combat engineer is to allow friendly troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield and deny that to the enemy.

Durham Light Infantry

© MR

Micheal has just sent me another badge, but an English one this time and from the Durham Light Infantry. This is close to my heart because I was born in Durham. The DLI headquarters was opposite the college I attended. Alas, there was a DLI Museum in Durham City, but it closed down last year!


Thank you Micheal and the CMD forum for allowing me to show these top quality finds.



Detectorist Phil ( alloverover ) of the BMD forum has kindly sent me a couple of his detecting finds, both from the WW I period. The one coin the left is gold and from the Staffordshire Yeomanry. The other is a Royal Army Medical Corps badge. The RAMC is responsible for maintaining the health of servicemen and women. The Corps is represented wherever British Soldiers are deployed, providing medical support to operations, exercises and adventurous training expeditions all over the world.

© Phil

Bob McGarry of the Detecting Scotland forum has sent me his silver ‘nice wee sweetheart brooch’ from the Highland Light Infantry. If you read the comment below you will see that he describes it as one of his ‘favourite finds’. It may have been enamelled at one time, but that has all disappeared. He also sent a picture of the reverse which has the initials F R G and Sterling Silver. F R G is probably a Birmingham maker, but I cannot determine which one.

© Bob McGarry

Sometimes the guys from the North East of England can be quiet and reserved, often seen as qualities that make a good detectorist. And yes, I am flabbing around here because I don’t know a lot about willco of the NRH forum who has shown me a badge of the Cheshire Yeomanry he discovered. It’s a cracker!

© willco

February 2018 – Another from the NRH Forum and a Coincidence

“Hi John, I read your blog about the badges, and here’s is one I found on a new permission in Scarborough the other week – it’s a long way from home! There was a lump of leather on the back of it with two iron rivets holding securing it … which dropped off when it dried out. Don’t know if it is of any use to you blog, but feel free to use the picture it …”  Brian Ridley

Brian Ridley

What a coincidence! A badge similar to the one above was posted on the Canadian forum yesterday. Micheal has identified it as belonging to the Seaforth Highlanders. He says, “The 72nd Battalion was authorised on the 10 July 1915 and embarked for Britain on the 23rd April 1916.

The Highlanders fought in France and Flanders until the end of the war, seeing action in places like the Somme, Arras, Vimy, Ypres and Passchendaele. The battalion was disbanded in August 1920.



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19 responses to Military Sweetheart Badges and Regimental Brooches

  1. Many thanks for thinking of me when you did this post.. I am honoured and humbled

  2. Sweet heart badges were quite popular with all the services, Those badges looked great John

  3. Another enjoyable post. I like the Artillary badge even though others may be rarer.

  4. I’m lucky to be a member of and often get to see Micheals finds.

    Another great blog spot John, thanks for doing it.

  5. Another very informative and emotive piece John, I’m sure there’s a couple of our forum members have uncovered sweetheart brooches on our digs.

  6. I think that the durham badge is different from any others ive seen a very nice example and a very nice read John …thank you

  7. Thanks for another great blog post John, that DLI badge is magnificent.

  8. Yup. Good to see the DLI badge.
    Waiting to make an update when I get permission … two super examples found in the UK.

  9. peter walsh ,aka..G.Clooney 6th March 2017 at 11:33 AM

    Great read John ,love those badges ..i have a few Military badges myself .if i ever get any Canadian one s ,the guy can have them …

  10. Great read as usual John. I was lucky enough to find a nice wee sweetheart badge/brooch a few years ago , its a Highland Light Infantry one, and it remains one of my favourite finds.
    Its silver and may well have been enamelled at one time, but if so any enamelling is sadly all gone now. Unfortunately to date its been the only example I have found, but I would love to find more.

  11. Sounds good.
    I’ll email an address so you can (maybe) send a picture?

  12. Hello Johan;
    The defining moment in Canadian history was the capture of Vimy Ridge, at a cost over three days when 4,00 were killed and 6,000 wounded; following France’s tragic loss to capture the heights at a cost of 100,000, over whose bodies the Canadian Infantry advanced.

    The Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge is an awe inspiring site and leaves a powerful impression – it did on me at least. I reckon that all politicians should be frog-marched to the Western Front and forced to view the rows of graves before they, and that rectum, Blair, ever commit our youth to die for politicians’ ideology.

    • So very true John… I could not agree more that pols should visit the memorials.. and from a Canuck point of view.. most especially VIMY
      Thank you

  13. brian (OSD on NRH) 27th February 2018 at 9:36 PM

    glad to help out john, yes was a coincidence

  14. An incredible co-incidence indeed John. The Seaforths were a very highly regarded unit. They took part in so many of the most difficult battles in WW1.

    I do not know why there would be two iron rivets on the badge… someone obviously ‘repurposed’ it.. But it is a find which would display beautifully in any collection


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