British Legion Gold Badge is the Legion's Highest Award
The Legion recognises any outstanding contribution by members to the organisation through a series of awards.
The Royal British Legion Badge in Gold was originally an award for someone who had given outstanding service to their branch, a practice that had been attributed to the 1930s. A newly discovered (see below) 9 carat gold pin badge hallmarked 1928 throws some doubt on that date. In 1952 it was decided to regulate the award which had to be approved by the National Chairman or Vice Chairman and a minimum of 10 years service was required before they could be even considered. Since a National Consultation in 2007 it has become The Legion's Highest Award that can be bestowed upon a member. It may be awarded to a member who has given at least eight years meritorious and conspicuous service to the objectives of the Legion as defined by the Royal Charter.
18ct & 9ct Hallmarked Gold
The Gold Badge where made in either 18ct or 9ct hallmarked gold, with no numbers on the reverse side. Post 1952 gold badges are engraved with a unique identification number prefixed with a letter "G" that identifies the person who the badge has been awarded to.
There are now seven known styles of Legion Badges in Gold in our exhibition which are of particular interest from a collector's and from a historical prospective.
The first large Badge in Gold in this exhibition was manufactured by the Birmingham Medal Company (BMC) measures 26mm x 26mm. It is hallmarked Birmingham "anchor" and the Serif date letter "D" 1928 which indicates that it is one of the Legion's earliest awarded Legion Badge in Gold. The badge comes in two formats the button hole or the brooch with a pin later pin have safety fastener at the hook.
Since the recent acquisition of the British Legion Head Quarters Branch Price List Feb 1937 we have had to re-evaluate some of our collections and two new miniature gold badges have come to light both manufactured by BM &BC (7mm x 9mm) one hallmarked 1941 and the other hallmarked 1938 but with a screw-back and seen below.
Secondly the small Badge in Gold a 1947 hallmarked "X" JRG&S (J. R. Gaunt & Sons) which is one of the first of the smaller badges believed to have been proposed at the first post war 1946 Annual Conference and measuring 20mm x 20mm.
The as with its large cousin the small size badge comes in two formats the button hole or the brooch with a pin and safety faster across the centre.
And thirdly and perhaps more importantly of the three is the 1972 hallmarked Royal British Legion Badge in Gold and also manufactured by Court Jewellers J. R Gaunt & Son, bears the Queen's crown for the first time. All have the Birmingham assay 'Anchor' hallmark this one bearing the date letter "X".
The award criteria for the Legion Badge in Gold in the late 1920s to 1952 was not as rigorous as it is today. There were no registration numbers engraved on the badge, which means the so honoured member cannot be identified or trace which branch the badge was issued to.
The British Legion unpolished Gold badge is one of the last of its type bearing the date letter 'S' for 1967, in the last four years of the British Legion.
Badge in Gold
1928 being the earliest known issue
9 Carat Gold
(Hallmarked 'D' 1928)
26mm x 26mm