A brief look at (some) RAR Band insignia

Dear All,

Here is another instalment, taken from our current work on Volume 3… which covers rank and trade insignia worn by members of the Australian Army in the post 1953 (Queen’s Crown or ‘QEII’ era).

In this post, we will show some current issue insignia first, followed by some earlier variants (all of which are periodically seen in circulation, or in museum and private collections). So, in this instance, we will look at the over-sized RAR glengarry badge, as worn by RAR band members.

RAR Band, Scottish Dress, ASOD (circa 2012)

  • Note: the over-sized RAR Band insignia, worn above the left temple, on the glengarry headdress.
  • Note: the black belt ceremonial, with the standard-size RAR headdress badge (in gold finish), fixed to the chromed buckle plate.
  • Note also: the kilt pin (just above the right knee), with its use of a fixed RAR collar badge.

The above images may well be familiar to many of you… because (as noted in the image caption), those shots were to be found in the Australian Army’s online version of its “Standing Orders for Dress” (ASOD) as at circa 2012.  Of course, that same type of information was formerly issued in hard copy format.  Historically, those documents were referred to as the ‘Australian Army Dress Manual (typically of stated year)’.

Whatever the nomenclature… ‘Dress Manual’ or ‘ASOD’ information is important to family history researchers, to militaria collectors and to military historians and museum curators alike… because those works catalogue the insignia used on different grades of uniform at any given publication date.  However, like all works of human endeavour (yes, including our own), Australian Army Dress manuals can be imperfect reference sources. Various versions of published Dress Manuals can be found to include references to the occasional item which was clearly ‘approved’ but which was (ultimately) never manufactured, or at least was never worn in practice.

On the other hand, some editions of the Dress Manual, do appear to ‘rule out’ certain known insignia, by erroneously failing to include and item or a variant etc. This can occur despite credible (contemporary) accounts.  For example, photographic provenance may well demonstrate that a given item was actually on issue and/or verifiably in use. Of course, many apparent ‘oversights’ can be put down to Unit procurement ‘irregularities’ or to private purchase and/or Regimental Shop ‘oddities’. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the officially promulgated material will (at least sometimes) include errors and oversights, which will need to be ‘zeroed out’ of later studies, by reference to other relevant and comparable information sources/records.

So, moving on from warnings about apparently authorative offical reference materials… here are some detail shots of the over-sized RAR band headdress badges, taken from part of the reference collection used to compile Volumes 1 to 3 inclusive.

RAR Band Oversize Skippy badge obverse
Obverse, showing design detail, ‘scaled-up’ from the standard size RAR headdress badge design
RAR Band Oversize Skippy badge verso
Verso image showing the item’s counter-strike detail

As is usual in our reference works, the images above, are shown on ‘gridded’ paper, using 2mm squares in 1cm patterns. This allows each individual to make their own visual verification of actual size.  N.B. The paricular (gold and silver finished) RAR band insignia items shown at CB 323 of Volume 2, are cited as measuring: 76.71mm high, by 63.60 mm wide and being 2.20mm thick at the (inverted) bomerang apex. The documented specimen at CB 323 of Volume 2, weighs in at 27.8g

Next, here we have a recently discovered 5th 7th RAR Band glengarry with its blue and black hackle in situ.  The item’s prevenance establishes it as having been worn by a RAR Band member during his service in the 1980s. Note the use of a comparable over-sized RAR Band headdress badge in that time-frame.

5th 7th RAR Band Badge with blue and black hackle v2

Finally, we have included an image of the various RAR band items covered earlier in this post, showing the relative dimension of an over-sized glengarry headress badge, in comparison to a silver-plated hat RAR hatbadge and both gold and silver finished RAR Band kilt pins. Note also, that kilt pin has an RAR collar badge which has a permanent ‘claw fixture’ on the back, which thenfixes the item to an otherwise standard rhodium plate or gold plated kilt pin.

RAR Band items, size comparison

We trust that these images will be of assitance to ex-Service Personnel, to their family researchers and to collectors, dealers and historians/curators alike.

Yours in militaria research and collecting

The Authors

“Metal Uniform Embellishments of the Australian Army”
Post 1953 (the ‘QEII’ era) Volumes 1 and 2
To quote an old friend:
“If you are able to read this, thank a teacher.
If you are able to read this in English, thank a soldier.”

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I am the "C" component of the "CB" numbering system used in our book called: Metal Uniform Embellishments of the Australian Army, Post 1953 ('QEII Series') Vol 1 (Insignia for Corps and Schools etc). Yep... that's a mouthful and the 614 page eBook is an eyeful to match... with images of the front and back of each item, as well as weights and measures for each, so that badge variants can be reliably distinguished by collectors, dealers, historians, re-enactor groups and enthusiasts anywhere in the world.

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