The Wound Badge

6th November 2017 — 12 Comments


Picture by JW

 War That Changed the World Forever

I am reminded of the two World Wars almost every week. Detectorists all over the country regularly unearth artefacts from the conflicts that jog our memories. Indeed, Darren Davidson of Easington in County Durham sent me pictures
of such an artefact. In a phrase that echoes what is happening this year, he says, “I’d like to share a detecting find from a darker period of our history.”

Good Research can mean Excellent Finds

When I first wrote this in 2014 Darren had been detecting with his Ace 250 for about a year and never imagined what he’d eventually find. He likes to search WW 2 sites and has researched his area. The North East coast has many pillboxes and gun emplacements. He said, “they hold nothing but 303 gun cartridges and the odd button if you’re lucky.”

Darren Davidson

A frustrated Darren asked his father what it was like during the war, and in the course of the conversation was directed to an area he had played on for most of his childhood. He was surprised to learn that ‘Bevin Boys’ working at the local colliery used to live at the top of the field and in the 1940’s there were lots of houses. He also learned that German and Italian Prisoners Of War used to work surrounding fields.

With this knowledge Darren contacted the local farmer and gained permission to detect on the land. To his amazement, the ‘ground was rich with finds’ and he discovered everything from old toys to coinage and military badges.

Wound Badge

The Wound Badge

One of Darren’s military finds was a silver German badge and is the one he would most like to share with readers. First established by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918, the badge for wounded soldiers was re- established by the Wehrmacht, during the Spanish Civil War, and then later at the beginning of the Second World War with the swastika added. The badge was awarded in three grades depending on the number and/or type of injuries in wartime.

The silver one denoted that the owner had been wounded four times. It was ultimately one of the most common of all Third Reich decorations, yet also one of the most highly prized, since it was earned, “as a mark of honour for all who have risked their lives for the Fatherland and have been wounded or maimed”.

The badge, (if silver) can be dated before 1942 as they were made from silver-plated brass. After 1942 they were manufactured from steel and prone to rust.

Darren quipped, “I guess the old man was right. I should listen to him more!” The moral of the story is to listen to the old folk when searching for new land. They could have useful information! Thanks to Darren for sharing the story with us.

More of Darren’s Finds


Picture by JW

Adapted from an article previously published In The Searcher magazine


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12 responses to The Wound Badge

  1. interesting post John. what a difference between German and American troops! four times wounded! Americans Once, a medal and home for most.

  2. Morning John excellent re-run for your blog.. not my oldest find but this has to be my best as it holds sentimental value, who would have thought i found it on a field that i’d played on for most of my childhood.. you just gotta love history.
    Best Wished Daz

  3. Very timely post John.. Thank you for the re-post at this time of the year..

    I have never found any form of wound badge [over on this side of the pond, they are called a wound stripe], but it is very high on my ‘bucket list’]

  4. peter walsh …aka…G.clooney 6th November 2017 at 7:07 PM

    great read yet again john …iv,e never found anything like a wound badge …on my wish list also…

  5. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 7th November 2017 at 12:38 AM

    Wow, you’d think they would give you something more than just a silver badge for being wounded more than 4 times……… a free ride home. LOL…..

    I wonder how many of these badges are still around today, in the ground or in a jewellery box?

    Thanks for this John

  6. A wonderful story, at an appropriate time in our minds FOREVER.

  7. Thanks John,

    I wasn’t aware of this badge before this blog. It’s a very interesting read and I would love to find one.

  8. As usual JW an interesting article.

  9. They cast the badges in Black .. 3rd class those who were wounded twice… Silver 2nd class for being wounded three or four times.. Gold 1st class.. which would be awarded posthumously Also they did the wound badge of 20th July 1944 awarded to the men who were injured or killed in the failed attempt on Hitlers life in the wolfs lair in Rastenburg

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