I really like regimental lapel badges. They tend to be cheap, they don’t take up any room and they are often very attractive little objects with brightly coloured enamel in their decoration. Careful hunting in junk boxes can reap rewards, such as this little Coldstream Guards badge that turned up last week for £1:It is made of white metal in the shape of a Garter star and has a small half-moon lapel pin soldered to the back:The star is taken from the Order of the Garter, the highest order of British Chivalry and is an eight pointed star, each of its points being a cluster of rays to give a sun beam effect. In the centre of this is the badge of St George, the red cross on a white field surrounded by a navy blue garter bearing the motto ‘Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense’. The design dates back to the reign of Charles I and the use of the badge indicates the high seniority of the Coldstream Guards, second only to the Grenadier Guards in the order of precedence.
All regiments retain close ties with their former members, but this is especially important for Guards and Cavalry regiments where regimental associations open up many doors for former soldiers. Although it is a cliché, the regimental tie and badge are still important identifiers and in social situations allow a subtle way to indicate regimental loyalties. With this in mind, small lapel badges such as this one take on a greater significance. Officially former guardsmen are represented by the Coldstream Guards Association, its website describes their role as:
The Coldstream Guards Association is a community of serving and ex-members of the Coldstream Guards, who are united by the ethos of ‘once a Coldstreamer – always a Coldstreamer’. The Association is open to all who are serving, or have served, in the Regiment, whether officer or enlisted man… It is a place to keep in touch with old friends, meet and understand the next generation of Coldstream Guardsmen and gives you the opportunity to assist in the welfare of the Regimental family where you are able.