badge, formation, British, 14th Army

Catalogue number
  • INS 4079
Department
Exhibits
Materials
  • whole: textile
Dimensions
  • whole: Height 65 mm, Width 55 mm
Alternative names
  • full name: badge, formation, British, 14th Army
  • simple name: badge, formation, British
Category
uniforms and insignia

© IWM (INS 4079)

Purchase & License
Physical description

badge A red shield with a narrow white outer border and a black central horizontal bar bearing the white Roman numeral XIV. A centrally placed white vertical sword, point down, the central section forming the "I" of XIV. This item has three poppers to reverse.

History note

The sign was designed by Lieutenant-General Sir William (Bill) Slim. Red and black are the colours of the British and Indian Armies and traditionally the sign of an Army Command. The sword points downwards, in defiance of heraldic convention, because Slim knew he would have to re-conquer Burma from the north. The guard forms an 'S', for his own name. It is claimed that the detail on the sword hilt spells out the Army number in Morse code. In many versions of the badge this may only be seen with the eye of faith. Formed in November 1943, 14th Army under the command of General (later Field Marshal) Slim was the largest single Army of the war and commanded nearly a million men, grouped principally in 4, 15 & 33 Corps. At one point it held the longest battle line, from the Bay of Bengal to the borders of India and China. The Army was responsible for the successful defence of India and the subsequent defeat of Japanese forces in Burma. In June 1945 14th Army was withdrawn to India to prepare for the invasion of Malaya, whence the HQ was deployed in September. The Army was disbanded on 31 December 1945.

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