There are many myths, mis-truths and misunderstandings regarding the history, uniforms and badges of the King’s Colonials, King Edward’s Horse and 2nd King Edward’s Horse. Their headdress badges have been heavily copied and I have set out to try and advise the reader as to how best to distinguish an original headdress badge from a copy. In attempting to do so I have purposely chosen not to disclose certain characteristics and images of badges which I believe would help copiers of badges "improve their game".
As this website is intended for research purposes only I have included several images from websites where I have been unable to make contact with the owner and apologise in advance should the owner not wish the image to be used. I would hope to hear from them and seek their permission to support this project. All images without a specific attribution are from my own collection.
The hyperlinks are embedded in the text in blue to allow the original source and additional information to be accessed.
The set of King's Colonials badges I have shown here is the only full set I have seen to date of all of the Regimental and Squadron headdress and collar badges with shoulder titles and tunic button. The Australian collar badges were on loan for the photograph but I now have added a pair to my own collection.
Contemporary photographs provide a unique insight into the uniforms and badges of the King’s Colonials, King Edward’s Horse and 2nd King Edward’s Horse and the manner in which they were worn. A friend and major collaborator on this project whom I met on the Great War Forum
, Darren O’Brien was very fortunate to have acquired a collection of photographs with annotations of the King’s Colonials by R. J. (Bob) Smith who made a detailed study of many of the British yeomanry regiments. The access to these photographs and notes was a turning point in being able to more critically detail the uniform and badges of the King's Colonials and King Edward's Horse. This material was supplemented through the purchase of a photograph album of the King’s Colonials on annual camp in the period 1902-04. I am indebted to Simon Jervis for sourcing this album.
I am deeply grateful to several friends and acquaintances who have generously provided copies of photographs, measurements and notes on the badges and uniforms of the King’s Colonials, King Edward’s Horse and 2nd King Edward’s Horse. My thanks to an unnamed Sydney collector, Ian Barker, Gardner Bell, Mike Bekkett, Pat Birley, John Burridge, Timothy Connolly, Steve Bosley, Iain Davidson, Michael T. Finchen, Rod Flood, Phil Garland, Simon Jervis, Rob Miller, Jon Mills, Griff Morgan-Jones, Geoff Newman, David Oldham, Laurie Osborne, Alex Rice, Paul Spellman, James Stevenson, David Stewart, Pierre Vandervelden and Garry White. Many of these friends I have met through the British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum
which is an invaluable resource for any badge collector.
Peter Nemaric deserves special thanks for sharing several excellent photographs of the King’s Colonials and King Edwards Horse. Peter created and manages the King Edward’s Horse website
and I am deeply indebted to him for allowing them to be used.
I would also like to thank Carole McEntee-Taylor for her permission to use the photographs of Sydney Harris from her excellent biography of this remarkable man (From Colonial Warrior to Western Front Flyer: The Five Wars of Sydney Herbert Bywater Harris
. London: Pen and Sword, 2015).
Since this website went live an article by Keith Hook and David Knight entitled ‘The Badges, Titles and Buttons of King Edward’s Horse’ was published in the Journal of the Military Historical Society. 251:70-78, 2018. This contains a number of additional pieces of information regarding the badges and uniforms of the King's Colonials and King Edward's Horse which I now reference on my site. I am appreciative of their efforts to document their research and for correspondence with Keith regarding their badges.
My heartfelt thanks go to my brother Stephen for his extensive and patient proof-reading, and encouragement.
The badge photography was a considerable challenge and would like to especially thank my father-in-law Michael for all his experimentation and technical tuition to overcome this.
I was encouraged to write this article by my close friend and mentor John Longstaff who has sought to teach me much about the badges of the British Empire. The learning continue and I sincerely thank John for his edits, guidance and friendship.
There is no doubt in my mind that this project would have been accomplished without the guidance and practical support of Ivan Machin. Having read Ivan’s tremendous book on the ‘Badges of the York and Lancaster Regiment’ I eagerly contacted him to seek his guidance on how to go about tackling the compilation of my notes and assemblage of photographs into something concrete that I could share with others. Ivan has been generous with his time in supporting me on this journey and has openly shared with me his own experience of converting to a website
so that fresh additions to a collection can be accommodated.
I am indebted to the love and support of Anna my wife and three wonderful children Cameron, Elisabeth and Alexander for their infinite patience and tolerance for their Father’s fascination with badges and their history.