WW2 ID Discs

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Stained_Eligius, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. I was wondering whether someone could help me with this one. The disc pictured is being claimed as WW2 Canadian and was found near the Dutch border (German side) last week by a guy with a metal-detector.

    I have posted my opinion on the forum that this disc is more likely to be British in origin and from the early 1950s. I'm basing this initially on the appearance of the disc but mainly on the service number. Due to the change (in 1950) to the army service number system, all new service numbers started at 2200000 so this number would have been used not long after that.


    The number was in use prior to 1942. In that case it belongs to a block of numbers allocated to the RE which makes it possible for the carrier to have been in the area in 1945. Incidentally I checked just in case and there is happily no death recorded under this number.

    Due to the lack of ID disc standardisation in WW2 it is possible that stainless steel round discs were in use so it is difficult to say 100% that this disc is post-1950 although my feeling says that it is. Am I making this too difficult and totally missing something obvious that would decide thigs one way or the other?

    I've seen the current canadian ID discs but can't find any pictures of the WW2 version. It would be great if they were shaped like, I don't know, trees or something - anything but round in fact! It would make things much easier :)

    I'd appreciate any help.

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  2. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

  3. british modern-1950-60.
    agree with gen melchet wwii were out of fibre board,
  4. Agree with previous posters that the disc is UK issue and not WW2. Metal tags were worn by US and Germans but UK had the same type of Green/Brown fibre as used in WW1.

    The disc is also pre 70's as it does not have Blood Group or religion on it which beame standard in the late 60's. :wink:
  5. Cheers guys. So the RC is more likely to be his initials rather than Roman Catholic?
  6. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    Also it may not be a personal ID tag, could be from a piece of issued kit such as a respirator so wouldn't need religion or blood group.
  7. Thanks again. I appreciate the help.
  8. Metal ID discs for UK forces are issued (or certainly from the 70's onward)
    with 2 round discs containing No, Name, Initials, Blood Group, Religion and one Oval disc with No, Name, Initials. The 2 round discs were attached to an 18" cord and the Oval disc attached to the longer cord with a length of 4". The Oval disc was to be placed in the side of the respirator so that if someone was killed in an NBC environment the suit would not be opened to expose the body to more contamination (would have thought there would be holes in it anyway) and the disc would be retrieved by the burial party without having to hunt for the other 2 round the neck.

    I had the misfortune of having to stamp up replacement discs for all those who lost their originals after an NI tour in 75 and having to measure the cord to attached the discs before they were placed back in the old AB docs folders in the Orderley Room for the next round.

    I wasn't sure from the original photo angle if the disc was round or oval :wink:
  9. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    intli, I think you have the answer there.
  10. I have my discs with me, name, religon and blood group all appear to be machined stamped and to the best of my knowledge made up in 1966 although I didn't see them until about 1969.
  11. Cheers intli and H_T. Yes, the pictured disc is round. I have been trying to find other service numbers close to this one in the hope of closing in on the correct year of issue but have had no luck yet.

    Did National Service conscripts receive normal army numbers or was there a prefix to denote conscription? If not then this would have an impact on the rate of issue of normal service numbers. That being the case I could then say with more accuracy that this is more likely to be, say, pre-1960 issue.
  12. Ah, just found the answer to the National Service query: 23763356 Pte Parkinson started his service in 1960 so obviously there was no prefix.

    The RE were allocated the range 1,842,001 - 2,303,000 in 1920 which was valid until 1942 when numbers starting with 14000000 were introduced for the General Service Corps. In 1950 the system restarted with all numbers starting from 2200000. This is confusing when trying to pin a service number to a year because it is possible that someone who joined the RE in 1950 could have a lower number than a Sapper who enlisted in 1941.

    Sapper Thomas Atherton 22231029 Royal Engineers lies buried in Hong Kong and died on the 14th of October 1949. Without knowing the date of death it would be impossible to ascertain whether this Sapper enlisted prior to or after 1950.

    Loads of edits on this post as I tied myself in knots going between lists :)

    Damned confusing!
  13. Hi, just discovered your forum, wondering if you can help, i'm fairly new to collecting british WW2 militaria and am enjoying trying to. i came across this pair of British? ID Tags on a chain?? can anyone shed anylight onto it please?? are they WW2, is the chain original?? it is showing as a gold colour in the photo, but in reality it is a dirty silver colour with brass like ends.
    Any help would be good help

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