British Legion Small Badge
The Badge of The Royal British Legion has evolved in the 85 years since it's founding of the British Legion 1921. The British Legion became The Royal British Legion in 1971, however it did not gain royal permission to add the Queen's crown until early 1972.
Enamel Badge Manufacturers
Various enamel badge manufacturers have had the honour of manufacturing the different types of badge over the years.
In this online exhibition of British Legion (BL) 1946 - 1971 membership numbered badges which can be distinguished in their noticeably larger big brother size 0.75" x 0.75" (20mm x 20mm, examples of which can be found from the following enamel badge manufacturers) and their miniature cousins 14mm x 14mm:
J. R. Gaunt & Son Ltd, London - BL
J. R. Gaunt Ltd, B'Ham - BL
Jason & Jones, Birmingham - BL
Ludlow of London - BL
Roden, London - BL
Although as yet the author has found no provenance to prove to the contrary evidence seems to be indicating that initially there was one membership and the early badges were manufactured by J. R. Gaunt & Sons (London).
Four Classes of Member
In the 1937 Royal Charter Sixth Issue states that there are four classes of membership; Ordinary, Life, Honorary and Women. Badges had to be purchased from the Branch Secretary for One Shilling (refunded on retirement or expulsion from the Legion).
In the British Legion Head Quarters Branch Price List February 1937 badges where issued in two sizes Large and Miniature. Miniature badges either had a screw back or a pin back. After WW2 at the 1946 25th Anniversary Conference the members voted to replace all sizes of badge with the small one.
J.R. Gaunt badges where supplied in five types of fastenings; button hole, brooch pin, stick pin, screw back and butterfly back.
All badges badges where officially numbered although there are examples of Honorary and some miniature badges that where not.
The design of the British Legion badge remains the same there are some variations mainly in the format of the corporate lion logo and off course the metal. The variation in badge manufacturers one would assume is a question of economics and the best price.
Badge in Gold
One of the earliest of the small badges issued
Polished Gilt Finish
J.R.G. & S