In the Great War, small companies of volunteers sprung up around the country to act as a militia in case of German invasion, fulfilling much the same role as the Home Guard. Originally these organisations were all independent and existed without War Office permission, indeed the War Office initially wanted nothing to do with them and saw them as a hindrance rather than a help. Within a month, however, there were so many of these volunteer groups, dotted across the whole of the British Isles that the War Office decided it could do little to prevent them and the best option would be to control and organise them rather than to try and supress the nation’s patriotic fervour. The Central Committee of the London Volunteer Defence Force became the umbrella organisation for all these independent groups, under the title of the Volunteer Training Corps and units could affiliate with this central body. The VTC appointed Lord Desborough as its president and General Sir O’Moore Creagh VC as its military advisor. The different volunteer groups around the country had widely differing uniform and budgets and so a lapel badge was made available with the badge of the unit on it:
This surprisingly large badge features the helmeted head of Athena, Greek goddess of War, on a green enamelled background. Around this can be seen the words ‘Central Association’ and ‘VTC’ with a crown on the top of the lozenge shaped badge.
On the rear a half moon lapel fitting is attached to allow it to be worn on the lapel of civilian clothing:
For some reason, the fitting on the back of this badge has had a hole drilled through it, although quite why is unclear. Whilst many of the cap badges adopted by individual units are incredibly scarce today, this lapel badge is the most common and accessible of the pieces of VTC insignia out there, suggesting many thousands were issued during the war. The VTC is largely forgotten about today and does not garner the interest that the Home Guard of the Second World War does, however there has been an upsurge in interest and research into the unit over the last few years and it is slowly coming out of obscurity.