A voided bronzed metal headdress badge to the Tank Corps, being a laurel wreath with tips joined by an Imperial (King’s) crown, across the top of the wreath a scroll bearing TANK and across the bottom another scroll, bearing CORPS. In the centre of the wreath an early pattern tank, three quarters front view, facing right. A pair of blades to reverse.
Item relating to the service of Captain J G Hassell, 8th Battalion Tank Corps.
The design of the Tank Corps badge is said to derive from a badge in the form of a tank worn on the right sleeve by personnel of the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps.
The original headdress badge design of a WWI tank within a crowned laurel wreath has remained substantially the same since it was introduced in 1917. The principal change dates from the grant of the “Royal” prefix in 1923, following which the top scroll was removed and the lower scroll carried the Corps motto, “Fear Naught”. The tank was now depicted side-on as opposed to three-quarters front. This design was sealed in October 1924.
Unfortunately, in March 1924 King George V had approved the black beret as the headdress for the Tank Corps and when worn in the beret the tank was facing to the rear, anathema in the iconography of military badges. A new version was rapidly adopted later that year, with the tank facing left, to the wearer’s right, so facing forward when worn in the beret.
Minor details to the depiction of the tank, particularly in its top line and side details, are usually attributed to the different dies used over the years.
The Tank Corps was created on 27 July 1917 from the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps, the cover name for the early days of the tank force. The force had been created in March 1916 as Tank Companies under the name Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps and in this guise the tanks first went into action, at Flers-Courcellette on the Somme on 15 September 1916. In November 1916 the Companies had expanded to Battalions and the cover name changed to Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps.
The Tank Corps was granted its “Royal” prefix in 1923. In April 1939 it became the Royal Tank Regiment, a multi-battalion Regiment within the newly created Royal Armoured Corps.