Ever since seeing the ILH title shown earlier by Madziro, I have looked in vain for a similar one. Because of the place where the badge was found, it must have been the first type issued to men of the ILH (i.e. Type 1). Both Frank and I have shown ones that differ only in having the upper ends of the letters supported by a cross-piece. This was probably an improvement made later to strengthen the Type 1 badge (i.e. Type 2). The next improvement was the replacement of the upper and lower cross-pieces by one centrally located (i.e. Type 3).
These three types are made of brass, and they are also similar in having integral lugs. All are likely to have been made in Pietermaritzburg, where the ILH was raised in late September/early October 1899. Type 1 must have been issued to the earliest recruits. 'A' Squadron left for the front on 13/10/1899, and the men were stationed at Estcourt. They took part in the Relief of Ladysmith. The other five squadrons left on 16/10/1899, and they went to Ladysmith, where they took part in the Battle of Elandslaagte, and in the Defence of Ladysmith. Given Madziro's example, some of these 500 men would certainly have worn the Type 1 badge, but at least some, and perhaps many of the improved Type 2 badge may also have been issued to later recruits amongst the first 500.
An indication that the Type 2 badge was not a single production was the discovery of a variation made of thicker brass (3 mm instead of 2 mm), slightly wider lettering, and a larger full stop between the 'I' and 'L'.
Apart from its central cross-piece, Type 3 is distinctive in being made of still thicker brass (4 mm). It is likely to have been issued to the ILH after the Siege of Ladysmith ended, but before the regiment left Natal to take part in the Relief of Mafeking. Badges of similar construction are known to have been made in Maritzburg for Natal's Volunteer Regiments, the Natal Carbineers, Natal Mounted Rifles and Border Mounted Rifles. A title of similar construction was also issued to the Utrecht-Vryheid Mounted Police, which was raised in Natal during November 1900, after the end of General Buller's Natal Campaign.
Examples of the two known variants of the Type 2 badge and one of Type 3 are shown below.
Latest finds at local flea market...... All the shoulder brass was from one place.......
I know have 2 Golden Coloured, 1 Silver Coloured and one Brass.......
The THA and the Edward 7th Royal Engineers was just gravy......
Military Historical Society
Things are getting harder and harder to find these are the only things I have found all summer...... More collectors around..... There was a pre-1900 Canadian Militia uniform complete with helmet, boots, all webbing and bayonet for sale last week and it sold in a matter of hours.....
Military Historical Society