Some people do crossword puzzles or other cryptic mind games, but for exercising your detecting skill ( such as it is !) there is nothing that beats collecting odd shoulder titles. Hopefully the constuction of the item gives you a clue as to age, but then it is down to searching lists of units from around the world to find a match.
Currently I have 3 title that have me stumped :-
1) 6/MI. A brass title. 26mm high and 20mm across the base. 6 Mounted Infantry ? Would make sense but who were they ?
2) 5 Div MI. Seems to be gilded. A small title , 8mm high and 35 mm across. Has a pin back , so this might be a slouch hat badge. Initially I surmised that this was 5 Division Military Intelligence, but it has been suggested that it may be Mounted Infantry.
3) GRC. Quite ornate lettering. White metal 14mm high and 35mm across. This could be anything and might not even be military, but I have seen similar lettering on old titles from the Eastern Cape ( or maybe I'm misdirecting myself )
Can anyone help ?
I have a DCM group to the Royal Field Artillery who served with 6th MI..... Here is some information on the 6th......
Articles that referrer to the 6th Company Mounted Infantry Welsh Regt in Boer war (In date order that appeared in Men Of Harlech)
Part 1 – 30th September 1901 (Pages 137 & 138)
WITH “THE WELCH” COMPANY, 6th MOUNTED INFANTRY, IN THE SOUTH AFRICIAN WAR 1899 to 1900
Towards the end of January 1900, when the right wing of the regiment was at Rensburg and the left wing at Schoombie (both in Cape Colony), Rensburg, being a few hours south of Colesberg, held by the Boers, and Schoombie being on the line of railways running from Rosmead Junction to Stormberg Junction, orders were given to the Battalion to furnish three officers and 106 NCO’s and men to form a Mounted Infantry Company at Orange River.
Accordingly Major (the Captain) Pennefather, Lieut. Derry and some 70 men were detailed from the right wing, and Lieut. Ferra and the remainder of the men from the left wing. The two parties arrived at Orange River on the 29th & 30th January, respectively.
Major Pennefather has had previous experience of Mounted Infantry work in various parts of South Africa Bridge in the Salisbury Manoeuvres of 1898 and Lieut. Ferra went through a course with Mounted Infantry at Aldershot in March and April 1899. Of the N.C.O’s and men not more than 40 present had been trained before in Mounted Infantry duties. After drawing saddler equipment, etc., for the first few days and having dismounted drills, we found that we were to become part of the newly raised 6th Regt. Of Mounted Infantry under Colonel (then Capt.) DeLisle D.S.O Durham Light Infantry, the other companies being A Company Bedfordshire Regt, C. Company, Wiltshire Regt, D. Company, Gordon Highlanders, with 60 men of the Essex Regt attached, B Company being the Welsh.
On February 2nd and 3rd 12,000 troops passed through by train, including the Regiment towards the relief of Kimberley, but we did not mind being left behind, as we know we would advance when the horses arrived from the coast. Detachments arrived from various Regiments every day, and besides the 6th Regt, there also formed the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th Regiments of Mounted Infantry, all from various other Regiments.
On the 6th and 7th February, we were marched down to the station to draw out horses we took them straight out for the train on arrival and led them back to camp. They were all Indian horses, coming from the 5th Bengal cavalry and 3rd Madras Lancers, and if they had been allowed a few weeks rest after their long journey by sea and land they would have probably carried us many afterwards. However this was not to be.
The same night as they arrived two of them died in the lines from pneumonia, most of them having had colds when they arrived. The next day we fitted saddler, served out nosebags, brushes, currycombs etc., and taught the men mounting and dismounting, which was highly amusing, as the fittest of the ho9rses did not take it kindly and several men found themselves on the floor, or rather the veldt.
On the 9th we got orders to march at 6pm with Colonel Hannay’s Mounted Infantry Brigade. No one knew where we were going, but we all were pretty certain that it was in a northerly direction. All day was spent in packing the mule waggons with blankets, forage, rations and cooking pots, gave the am last lecture on scouting, and, above all, had a good wash in the Orange River and a good dinner, and all were ready. We paraded at 6pm in four strong sections, No.1 under Lieut. Derry, No.2 Lieut. Ferrar, and No.3 2404 Sergt. E. Roberts, and No.4 Sergt Johns, with Sergt. Yendall as Colour Sergeant and Sergt. Pitt (Militia Reserve) as regimental Quarter master Sergeant.
The only way of crossing the river was by Railway Bridge which was lit up with naphtha lamps and specially loaded with planks, so as to allow the passage of horses and wagons. On each side also boards were placed to keep the horses from falling into the river below through the iron girders. As there was such a block of troops of all arms, it was 8 30pm before we got across, and it was not all pleasant riding our new horses for the first time in the dark with only a few inches of board between oneself and the river below. The baggage took most of the night to get over, and many waggons stuck in the soft sand at each side and had to have double teams put in to pull them out.
To the north of the river the country was very rough, and the whole force moved in double files, there being continual checks and trotting to keep up. To make matters worse several men were run away with and others saddles slipped round while the horses kicked, broke lose, and were never seen again. Such was the way the Mounted Infantry Brigade started off two days after they received their horses and 40 percent of the men had never been on horseback before in their lives. We marched for 14 days, then off – saddled and bivouacked from midnight till 2 30am, the horses being ringed and the men sleeping in their only blanket and a saddle for their pillow.
Horse sentries and outposts were put out, and the roll called, and a few men and horses were found to be missing. Some of the former were left behind and never re-joined for months, having lost their way by their horses bolting, but I am glad to say some of them belonged to the Welsh Company. Corporal Marsh I am sorry to say had a very nasty fall, his horse falling about 15 feet into a quarry. He was severely bruised but pluckily stuck to his work although suffering intense pain and fought two days later in the company’s first fight.
At 4am the march was resumed, the Welsh Company being the main body of the advance guard moving in column of sections at 15 pace interval between horses. At 6am we reached the frontier of the Orange Free State at Rameh Spring, and it was whispered we were to rest all day and engage the Boers some 8 miles off on the morrow. So with light hearts we watered our horses, and turned them out to graze in charge of one man per sub-section, ate our bully beef and biscuit and made whatever coffee we had in our canteens and slept the sleep of the weary on the veldt while the baggage wagons came in one by one with the mules dead beat and dropping out dead here and there.
So ended the first march of the 6th Mounted Infantry, which cost us some more men missing, some half a dozen horses lost, and some 25 sore backs in the whole regiment, of which latter some five were in the Welsh Company. However, as subsequent events have shown, it was as well we did not delay one moment in training our man and horses to work in the field. So I will conclude my letter now, and will narrate to you in my next our first fight at Randam and the part we took in Lord Roberts advance to Bloemfontein.
Military Historical Society