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Richard Warren

Mystery badge

This was just sold on eBay (but not to me).

Sold with no id or provenance, described as brass, the circle 4.2 cm diameter. Two substantial lugs on the back, so I'm thinking a cartridge box badge - ?

Looks pre-Victorian to me. The ducal coronet might suggest the Duke of Cumberland's Sharpshooters, or the Earl of Northumberland's Percy Tenantry rifles, but I think maybe not. The central design, the all-seeing eye in rays of light, is a stock Masonic symbol of the period, so I'm wondering if this the Loyal Masonic Rifle Corps of Manchester, raised 1803, later known as the Manchester Independent Rifle Regiment, and commanded by radical Joseph Hanson, the "Weaver's Friend". In which case the ducal coronet might be for the Duchy of Lancaster?? Period images of the Manchester Rifles show caps without badges, but no view of the pouch.

Bit of a long shot, but does anyone recognise this?

That's a weird one Richard. Before I read your description I thought a Masonic rifle unit. But as to who what when why and how I have no idea.

Ben Townsend

It could be an ecclesiastic unit rather than a masonic one. The 'all seeing eye' is associated with freemasonry by 1800, but the link was nothing like as strong as it is nowadays. The symbol is not uncommon in late C18th churches.

In shape quite similar to that little brass lionhead for a while considered as a Sjt/NCOs cartridge-box ornament?

Coote-Manningham or any other senior officer a mason by any chance?
Ben Townsend

Richard, can you show the back please?
Richard Warren

Sorry, Ben, missed your question. But meanwhile, the buyer has re-listed this, identified as a Victorian item, for the 10th (Eye) Suffolk RVC.


Seems convincing. Not Masonic, not ecclesiastical, but just a pun. So - sorry for the false alarm. Scrub the thread!
Ben Townsend

Damn. I looked through Ripley and  Darmanin's Rifle Volunteer buttons 1859-1908 and completely missed it.

Here it is!
Richard Warren

Thanks for that, Ben. Oh well. Just goes to show the power of wishful thinking ...
Ben Townsend

On the plus side, searching that auction house for '95th' in medals yields a huge fund of biographical notes on riflemen. Anyone up for transcribing it all into the 'riflemen who served' thread on members forum?

Look at this one Eddie!

Military General Service 1793-1814, 8 clasps, Roleia, Vimiera, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (J. Mitchell, Bugle Major, 95th Foot) clasp carriages sometime reconstituted, light contact marks and edge bruising, otherwise very fine, the first clasp scarce to the 95th £1400-1600


James Mitchell was born in the Parish of St Mary’s, Tipperary, and enlisted for the 95th Foot, on 8 May 1805, aged about 15, being shown variously as Bugler and Drummer. In July 1807 he accompanied the regiment to the Baltic in the expedition under Lord Gambier and was severely wounded in both legs at the battle of Keyogue, Denmark, on 29 August 1807. Promoted to Private, from Bugler, in January 1808, Mitchell proceeded to Portugal where he was engaged at the battles of Roleia and Vimiera. He returned to the Peninsula in January 1813, where he was promoted to Drum Major as Sergeant, from Private, in April 1813, and took part in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 in Spain and France. He served in Captain Miller’s Company of the 2nd Battalion at Waterloo as Drum Major in the rank of Sergeant. Discharged from the 95th Foot in January 1819, Mitchell re-enlisted for the 23rd Foot at Limerick and served as a Corporal in that regiment until his final discharge on 24 August 1821.

Mitchell’s claim for the M.G.S. medal was made from Sydney, New South Wales, where he was then residing. He was in receipt of a pension of 1s 10d per day having been admitted on the Chelsea Register in February 1819. This medal was catalogued by Baldwin’s in 1948 with the last four clasps only, and subsequently appeared at Glendining’s in 1964 with the correct entitlement of 8 clasps. Sold with copy discharge papers and muster details".

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