The Silver War Badge was instituted in 1916 and awarded to men who were honourably discharged under certain regulations which are shown below. It was also awarded in retrospect: that is, to men discharged in 1914 or 1915 who otherwise met the criteria.
The Silver War Badge, sometimes wrongly referred to as the Silver Wound Badge, was instituted from 12 September 1916 under Army Order 316. It is a circular badge with the legend “For King and Empire – Services Rendered” surrounding the King George V cypher. The badge had a pin for wear as a brooch.
The badge was awarded to all of those military personnel who had served at home or overseas during the war, and who had been discharged from the army under King’s Regulations. Expiry of a normal term of engagement did not count and the most commonly seen reason for discharge and issue of the badge is KR is 392(xvi), meaning the soldier had been released on account of being permanently physically unfit.
It was possible to be awarded a badge if the man had not served overseas – and if his service record is now lost this may be the only remaining evidence of service for such a soldier.
The King’s Certificate of discharge
It seems that most badges were accompanied by a King’s Certificate although strictly these were issued subject to separate regulations.
Army Orders 138 and 139 of May 1918 cover the award of the “King’s Certificate” and “King’s Second Certificate” to officers and men respectively. In the case of the latter, they had to have been discharged under Paragraphs 392 (xvi) or (xvia) of King’s Regulations “on account of disabilities contracted” following service overseas in a theatre of operations “with an Expeditionary Force in the present war” or “on account of disablement certified to be directly attributable to the action of the enemy e.g. air or naval raids” and in the case of those serving with the flying services, “disablement certified to have been caused or aggravated by military service while engaged on flying duty in connection with operations against the enemy”. Thus entitlement to the badge did not necessarily entitle a man to the award of a certificate whilst those awarded a certificate would most certainly have been entitled to a badge.
King’s Regulations 392
There are various different ways in which someone could have been discharged from the army under the King’s Regulations. They are:
The most commonly seen reference to to KR392xvi, for men who were discharged on medical grounds having been wounded or taken seriously ill.
The man’s details were entered into an issuing roll, similar to the campaign medal rolls. The War Badge rolls carry useful information: indeed vital information if the service record can not be found. The man’s date of enlistment, number, rank, regiment, unit at time of discharge, date and cause of discharge, whether he had served overseas and sometimes his age are given.
See also Interpreting a Medal Index Card
The badges were individually numbered. It is possible to trace the recipient of the badge from its number using the online resource at Ancestry.
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