In what seems to be becoming a regular Friday feature, we look at another postcard from my collection tonight. On the face of it, this image seems an odd choice for inclusion as it is ostensibly a photograph of three men in civilian clothing:Look closer however and on the lapels of two of the men are cap badges for the Middlesex Regiment:And the King’s Royal Rifle Corps:The style of dress dates the postcard to the 1920s or 1930s, so it is probable that these two men fought in the Great War. Interstingly they are using their old cap badges rather than the small enamelled pin badges commonly issued in the period. Old Comrades associations were in existence long before the First World War, but in the wake of this conflict with so many having served, they took on a new importance. They acted as social clubs, giving men who had served together a way of meeting up with old friends for companionship and reminiscing. They also had an important role in offering guidance and welfare on old soldiers who fell on hard times. These goals continue to this day with the many Old Comrades Associations still in existence. One, The Suffolk Regiment’s Old Comrade’s Association, defines its purpose as:
1) To maintain the history, traditions, esprit de corps and comradeship of all ranks who have served in the Regiments making up the Association.
2) To relieve either generally or individually members who have served in the Regiments making up the Association who are in need, hardship or distress and their dependents who are likewise so qualified.
When the Royal Munster Fusiliers set up its Old Comrades association, the first year’s annual report explained:
The determination to try to establish the Association was taken last March; and, the approval of Lieut. General Sir H.S.G. Miles GCB CVO, Colonel of The Regiment having been obtained a temporary Committee was formed, which met on the 21st March and drew up a circular letter intimating the proposed objects of the Association and the decision to have the first Annual Dinner at The Pillar Hall, Victoria Station, on “Plassey Day”, the 23rd June.
This letter was sent out to all past and present members of the Regiment whose addresses could be obtained, and met with a most encouraging reception from all ranks, showing that esprit de corps and love for the old Regiment remains as strong as ever, both with those still serving under it’s colours and those who no longer have that privilege.
The rates of subscription have been set very low in order to give all the opportunity of joining the Association no matter how slender his means; but the Committee hope that all members who are in a position to do so will make an extra contribution annually to the Benevolent Fund which has been established to assist any deserving case of any Old Comrade or his widow who may be in financial distress.