Return from Active Service Badge


Enclosed is a photograph of an official RASB 'Return from Active Service Badge'issued to all Australian service personnel who served in active service in WW2.

Today the Australian MOD issues similar badges for active service overseas. Does anyone know was such badges ever issued to UK service personnel after WW1, WW2 or any campaign or war up to the present day?



One type was the ‘Silver War Badge’ issued in 1916 to identify men in Britain who appeared to be service material but were seen ‘at home’ in civvies.

Specifically the PRO says: ”The Silver War Badge (SWB), sometimes erroneously called the Silver Wound Badge, was authorised in September 1916 and takes the form of a circular badge with the legend "For King and Empire-Services Rendered" surrounding the George V cipher. The badge [numbered on the back] was awarded to all of those military personnel who were discharged as a result of sickness or wounds contracted or received during the war, either at home or overseas."

My understanding was this was a measure to prevent harassment of such personnel. Before conscription was introduced on 2nd February, 1916, various campaigns and propaganda measures to influence men to enlist produced among them the ‘Order of the White Feather’ where women were encouraged to present men (including total strangers) with a white feather for cowardice if the men looked ‘fit for the front’ but were believed not to have enlisted. I don’t think this practice was that wide spread, but it was not uncommon for such men to be refused service in shops etc, or subjected to verbal abuse in the street. I think various industries/offices produced their own badges stating the wearer was engaged in War Work.

Other than this is the recent Veterans Badge



Quite right bretta, such a stark difference of opinion and attitude before WWI and WWII. Before WWI the British public didn’t appreciate the effect of a World War, ‘over by Christmas’ and all that. Britains’ loss of 752’091 killed (over twice the losses in WWII) was horrendous, but it sometimes gets overlooked that at least another 2M were left physical cripples – perhaps as many as 3½M – and it’s estimated about this figure were left seriously damaged mentally.

Most were predominantly the young men of the Nation, though conscription ended up taking men up to age 50. Hence if we total all killed or seriously affected, the figure of @ 5M amounts to around 40% of the male population of fighting/working age at that time. Rough calc., population @ 42M - @ half male = 21M. Typically juniors and seniors make-up @ 40%, leaving @ 60% of fighting/working age. Ergo, @ 12½M men of which 5M is @ 40%. That’s heavy!


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