What was the purpose of the uniform badges?
Detachable badges in metal or cloth are a key element of military uniforms. They can be worn on a cap, collar, shoulder, arm, or cuff. They can be stitched, or attached with brass pins or ‘sliders’. They can identify the rank of the serviceman, their particular regiment or ship, qualification or specialist trade, and distinguish those with gallantry awards, long service or who have been previously wounded. Servicemen may also wear badges of larger formations (such as Brigades, Divisions or Armies), within which their unit is currently serving. It follows that badges on military uniforms change throughout military service, and can help identify and date portrait photographs.