We have looked at a number of old comrades badges on the blog over the years and one thing they have all had in common is they have been based around individual regiments. Tonight however we have something a little different. In 1932 a new Old Comrades organisation was set up for veterans of General Gough’s Fifth Army. This is, as far as historians are aware, the only old comrades organisation for an army. They started raising money to found a ward in the army’s honour but failed to raise sufficient funds so instead sponsored a window in the church of St Peter upon Cornhill in London:At the base of the window can be seen a leaping red fox. This was the insignia of the Fifth Army and features prominently in the Old Comrades badge:The insignia featured on an interwar cigarette card:My little enamelled badge was made by the famous firm of Frattorini in Birmingham, and has a brooch style fastening on the rear:The Old Comrades association held a dinner and parade in 1937, with General Gough a guest of honour:
On the 19th anniversary of their famous march retreat, officers and men of the Fifth Army, headed by their commander, General Sir Hubert Gough, attended their Old Comrades’ Association Memorial march on the Horse Guards Parade yesterday…After the parade the contingent marched to the Cenotaph, where General Gough laid a wreath in memory of the men who fell during the retreat.
There appears to have been at least two designs of badge for the Fifth Army’s Old Comrades Association. The example pictured above and an alternative which incorporated a large star into its design: