1914 On War Service Munition Workers Badge
1914 On War Service Munition Workers Badge - Bronze gilt and blue enamels, maker marked "W.J. DINGLEY B'HAM." on the reverse, numbered "A83.076" on the buttonhole attachment, very crisp detail, 25.8 mm, light contact, intact enamels, better than very fine. Footnote: After war was declared some companies started to issue their workers with "On War Service" badges, to protect men eligible for military service but engaged in essential war work from being accosted by young women in the street who would hand them white feathers and accuse them of being slackers, shirkers and cowards. There was another reason for the issue of the "On War Service" badges. When the war began, voluntary enlistment was unregulated and skilled men were joining up and leaving companies with a shortage of skilled labour essential to maintaining the country's war capability. "Badging" essential workers helped to retain those skilled workers. Although not official these company "On War Service" badges were tolerated by the War Office. The Admiralty obviously thought that workers with war service badges was a good idea as in late 1914, they issued "The Admiralty Badge" to shipyard workers "whose services were indispensable for the rapid completion of HM Ships and Armaments". The Admiralty Badges were initially un-numbered and this resulted in men that were otherwise eligible for enlistment in the services wearing the badge in order to avoid service in the colours. This was later rectified with the issue of numbered badges in early 1916 to replace those un-numbered ones. There was strict criteria for the issue of the Admiralty Badge and this was detailed in an Admiralty memo of the September 26, 1914, in that it should only be given to essential war workers and that wholesale or indiscriminate issues should not be made. The memo went onto stress that any man who could be spared to join the colours should not be badged and that any man ceasing to perform essential war work or leaving the company is to return his badge to his employer and that the unauthorised transfer of a badge to another man was forbidden.