Monday, May 9, 2022

The Last of W. Britains Ltd’s Hollow-cast Lead Alloy Big Bands Made

 In 1956 W. Britains Ltd. introduced Set No. 2110 United States Military Band in Full Dress Uniform. It was a large 25 piece depiction of “Pershing’s Own”, formed on 25 January 1922 by order of General of the Army John J. Pershing.


The uniform portrayed is the short-term dress yellow tunic, introduced in the early 1950’s for only a few years, earning the divisive title “The Lion Tamers”. Note that Britains chose not to give the Drum-Major a black bearskin busby.The set remained in Britains catalog from 1956 to 1959, suffered an unusual hiatus in 1960, with a final encore performance from 1961 to 1963 as Set No. 9478. It was the last large hollowcastt lead alloy band produced and cataloged by Britains.

The example I was recently very fortunately able to acquire was of one of the last produced of Set No. 9478 (circa 1963) U.S. Military Band., effectively mint, still tied to the original tie-card and box. It’s previous owner had a toy soldier shop in Central California, and had retained  selected sets when he sold his store. The lower right hand corner of the box had subsequently  been badly damaged (fortunately figures and tie-card remaining unscathed) and as a result consigned to a still active toy soldier shop for a ridiculously low asking price of $119.00 USD.!

Images of three other identical sets, same combination of instruments, but untied and on display.

Still retaining enough skills to repair and retore the damaged box the author was able to bring it back to close to its original glory. But will allow the reader to be the judge of the veracity of that statement based on the following images. Note that the extremely fragile drum decals had been replaced in the original set by the correct paper labels. Also note small hole punched in box lid (how and why unknown) which has subsequently been filled with wood filler, and touched with same color red paint. 

The following initial images are close-ups of the repair and restoration job followed by a range of photographs of the condition and contents of the rest of the set. Consider my self extremely fortunate.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

A Replica Baldric of the Drum-Major of the 92nd Highlanders, The Gordon Highlanders

 Very recently this author had a rare opportunity to acquire an example of a rather esoteric piece of Scottish militaria. It is a replica of the regimental drum-major’s baldric of the 92nd Regiment of Foot, The Gordon Highlanders. The only reason so stated is that the seller cited that it is newly manufactured, and was made for a re-enactors group (recreating the regiment), and there is no other provenance claiming otherwise, citing that it had been bespoken for by an identified drum-major, or officially procured by the regiment.

 Point of fact as far as I can currently determine, the only way an individual can conclusively differentiate from a well made replica museum grade baldric made in Great Britain by a specialty shop, and an actual genuine regimental baldric, is by a certified document attesting provenance by an individual serving or retired drum-major.

 Why even bother to mention such an obvious and prosaic fact? That reason being, I was curious as to whether like a vast majority of government procured uniform items, there were uniform regulations and/or sealed patterns, or List of Changes (L.O.C.) governing regimental bands drum-major’s baldrics. In the case for example of regimental cap badges, the process is rather laborious.

Having conducted a reasonably in-depth research of current British MoD regulations, here is what the author has been able to find;




Ministry of Defence


May 2012
Dress Regulations for Bands, Pipes and Drums of the
British Army - Regular Army and Territorial Army

03.031 Drum Major's Embroidered Shoulder-Belt (or “Sash”), Staff (or “Mace”) and Cane.
All of customary patterns. The Embroidered Shoulder-Belt (widely known as the Drum Major’s
Sash) is worn over the left shoulder. It is traditionally of cloth of the regimental facing-colour edged with gold lace, generally fitted with two token drumsticks and embellished with Crown and Royal Cypher, regimental insignia, title-scrolls and battle-honour scrolls etc. in wire embroidery, the lower ends edged with gold fringe and joined together.

(Author’s Note: The specific term Baldric is not used in this document.)


A second relevant document is;



(Regimental Military Band)

2nd Edition 2019


For those readers who might be interested it can be found at;    

and contains additional colored images of both uniform orders and baldrics (so named).

If anyone has knowledge to the contrary, this author would sincerely appreciate hearing from you in the comments section provided below.


With full acknowledgement and gratitude expressed to “hagwalther” of the British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum, he cites the following applicable to A/A and New Metal badges: 


“Basically, CO of Corps/Regt thinks up design of badge and creates a sketch. Sent to War Office/Army Dress Committee to get their input. They may go to Garter King of Arms if they think there may be heraldry issues. If no issues a painting is commissioned and sent to War Office/Army Dress Committee. If OK with painting it is sent to Sovereign for approval who initials the painting. At this stage the badge is officially authorized for issue. Badge samples made after War Office/Army Dress Committee put contract out to badge manufacturers for said samples which are sent to War Office/Army Dress Committee. After the badge samples are OK'ed by the War Office/Army Dress Committee anything from (if I remember) 6 - 16 are held over for attachment to pattern cards/tags. The rest of the samples were binned. The patterns were split into two - Master and Working/Standard. Between 1-2 Master cards and the rest Working/Standard. Later on the cards became tags. Master(s) was held by the Pattern Room and Working/Standards were lent out to manufacturing companies after their name/date/requisition no. was recorded on the rear. When returned the date of return was added. Pattern cards/tags are a guide only and usually related to colour, construction type (lugs/slider) and general design. Many official badges are different to the pattern cards in that they may or may not be mounted items (multi part) and even different in style. Also note makers of samples not always manufacturers of first batch of badges for issue. Patterns could be withdrawn and re-sealed later as units disbanded and later reconstructed hence multiple dates on same pattern card.”


Having actually gone through the analogous process required for adaptation of an official insigne of a United States Navy, ship, squadron or organization, twice while on active duty, I can personally attest to the fact that the latter is a lot easier. See;


The following image is from an official government specifying the form and content of a patten card.

 To the extent of my limited research and current level of knowledge, neither exist. However, by virtue of photographic evidence, custom and tradition do. That was certainly the case with The Gordon Highlanders. While the style and detailed execution of the baldric may have varied, even from individual drum-major to his successor, the basic group of common elements (majority of cases) remains incorporated in sequence from top to bottom;


The Royal Crown, King's/Queen's

The Royal Cipher, i.e., “E II R”

Pair of miniature silver tipped drumsticks (on either side of)

The Coat of Arms of Great Britain

Full Name of the Regiment

The Regimental Cap Badge

Any Special Distinctions, i.e., Tiger “India”/Sphinx “Egypt”

Authorized Battle Honours on individual Scrolls (nominally in order by year of the battle)


 The following images are of the actual baldric I was able to acquire, followed by a classic photograph of Drum-Major Jeff Harper and Pipe-Major (later Capt) Stewart D. Sampson MBE. Both being last to serve the regiment 1994, as well as other examples of basically the same wore on other drum-majors including 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Prineess Louise's).



Friday, December 17, 2021

Greenwood and Ball Connoisseur Figures - An Appendix

 As an appendix to a past blog article written in 2006, which has received recent revived interest; I’m undertaking this project in an attempt to recover and reconstruct a more complete history of the Firm of Greenwood and Ball, and a complete list of their products.

 The following is an image of their complete staff.

Original workers at Spring Village, Horsehay, about 1949-50. Left to right:- Mr. Greenwood (seated), Eleanor Clay (standing behind), Brenda Yarnald, Mrs. Ball (Kathleen's mother), Kathleen Ball, Cynthia Booth (standing) and seated, an American gentleman called Herbert Jackson with Mr. Greenwood's Red Setter dog called Flare.


Among other listings/catalogues, in 1973 a GREENWOOD AND BALL Catalogue was issued which listed the following series and individual figures. What is not known, for each unit, corps, regiment, etc. how many different uniforms and poses were offered, and were the figures individually numbered? At that time prices started at $40.00 USD. Currently a single cursory page listing (#11) is being offered on e-Bay for GBP 19.99 ($26.40 USD). Apologies, this is the best available image.

Another later listing is provided in the following image.

The following is an initial, and will be a continuing attempt to research and identify a comprehensive list of figures produced. Although John Greenwood worked in other scales, this list is of 32nd scale (i.e. 54mm or 2 1/4 in.). From 1938 to1966 He, Ms. Kathleen Ball, and their staff,  produced 500 different figures in that scale. The total quantity of figures produced is unknown to the author. Additional figures which have been added below are from those found from other sources, or which the author has physically seen. Reader additions and corrections are both solicited and sincerely appreciated.



Cavalry Regiments

The Life Guards

The Horse Guards

1st Royal Dragoons

2nd Dragoons  (Royal Scots Greys), Officer, Review order

2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), Officer, Patrol Blues

6th Inniskilling Dragoons

7th Dragoon Guards Officer, Review Order

Yorkshire Dragoons

Royal Horse Artillery, Officer, Review Order

Royal Engineers, Officer, Review Order

Hussar Regiments

11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own), Officer, Review Order

13th Hussars, Officer, Review Order

14th (King's) Hussars

Active Service 1914 British Cavalry Officer 

Lancer Regiments

9th Queen’s Own Royal Lancers

16th/5th Lancers

17th Lancers, (Duke of Cambridge’s Own), Officer, Review Order

17th/21st Lancers

            21st Lancers (Empress of India's), Officer, Review Order

            Royal Tank Regiment, Officer, Review Order


Infantry Regiments

Grenadier Guards

Welsh Guards (1915)

Coldstream Guards

Irish Guards

Scots Guards

Royal Scots

1st Regiment of Foot (The Royal Scots) Officer, circa 1956

King's Own Scottish Borderers

Royal Scots Fusiliers


Highland Light Infantry

Blackwatch (2 known different figures)

Cameron Highlanders (5 known different figures) 

Seaforth Highlanders

Gordon Highlanders (3 known different figures)

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (3 known different figures)

24th South Wales Borderers, Officer, Review Order

Northhamptonshire, Officer

City of London (Rough Rider)

Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs), Officer, Review Order

King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Officer, Review Order

The Parachute Regiment, Officer, Service Dress

Royal Irish Rifles, Officer, Review Order

Line Infantry Officer, Review Order

Active Service 1914 British Infantry Officer


 Yeomanry Regiments

            The Leicestershire Yeomanry (Prince Albert's Own Officer, Review Order)


 British Indian Army

            H.H. Sir Partap Singh Bahadur, Review Order

3rd Indian Cavalry

5th Indian Cavalry

11th King Edward's Own Lancers (Probyn's


5th Cavalry

16th Cavalry

17th Cavalry

1st Hyderabad Lancers, Officer, Review Order

18th King George's Own Lancers

27th Madras Light Cavalry, Officer, Review Order

29th Lancers (Deccan Horse), Risaldar, Review Order

30th Lancers (Gordon’s Horse), Officer, Review Order

37th Lancers (Baluch Horse), Risaldar 

1st Duke of York’s Own Cavalry (Skinners Horse)

6th Punjabs, Riseldar

21st Punjabs, Riseldar

27th Punjabi Infantry, Risaldar

51st Sikhs, Risaldar, Review Order

130th Baluch Regiment, Risaldar, Review Order

59th Scinde Rifles, Officer

33rd Punjab Rifles, Officer, Review Order

43rd Erinpurra Irregular Force Indian Army, Risaldar


Governors Body Guards

Governor General's Bodyguard Madras, Officer, Review Order


 Imperial Service Troops

Mysore Transport Corps, Officer, Review Order



Army (Wehrmacht)

    Officer, Parade Dress (2 known different figures)

    Officer, General, Parade Dress

    Officer, Panzer Corps, Battledress

Air Force (Luftwaffe)

    German Fallschirmj√§ger (Paratrooper), Reading Map

Navy (Kriegsmarine)


The following image is an assortment of German Army figures 1910 - 1945

This second image, while severely lacking clarity shows a fuller inventory of WWII German figures.

WWII German Wehrmacht,
Officer, General, Parade Dress  

WWI German Hussar Regiment
Parade Dress

WWII German Wehrmacht, Officer and General,
Stalhelms, Service and Parade Dress


The following images are excellent examples of this series. Total number of figures in series is to be determined.



English Royal Household

Black Prince's Household

Welsh troops serving with The Black Prince

Men of Sussex

De Bohum's Household

Sir Roger Mortimer

Glamorgan Welsh

Lisle of Rougemont's Household

Montacute Archers

Ufford's Archers


Paris a Amiens Militia

Count of Armagnac

Guillaume Martel (Sieur de Bacqueville)

Sieur de Creguy

Comte de Blarmont

Duke de Bar

The Dauphin

Comte de Soissons



H.M. Queen Elizabeth Il in Coronation Robes

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in Naval uniform (Honorary Admiral)

Lord Horacio Nelson 

Light Infantry 1955

Staff Services

Queen Anne 1704

Prince George of Denmark 1704

Admiral Royal Navy

Officer of U.S. Marines

Officer, Royal Navy (3 known different figures)

Officer, Royal Marines

Royal Marine Commando Officer, Service Dress

Officer U.S. Army in khaki

Officer, Jungle uniform

Officer. Desert uniform

Officer, Queens Westminsters

Officer, 11th Hussars. khaki

Officer. 5th Inniskillings

Officer. R.A.F Full dress

French Garde du Corps

French Cuirassiers

French Bodyguard Hussars

Prussian Hussars

Brunswick Hussars

Hussar wearing pelisse

Saxon Hussars

Russian Don Cossack, Officer (Extremely rare and reputed to be an early piece from Ball's Private Collection)


Shown are additional images of Greenwood and Ball figures. 

Left to right are; Royal Engineers, Officer, Review Order,
 Line Infantry, Officer, Review Order,
 Royal Irish Rifles, Officer, Review Order.

Cameron Highlanders, Officer, Review Order, Cameron Highlanders,
 Officer, Patrol Dress, 92
nd Gordon Highlanders, Officer, Review Orde

Royal Tank Regiment, Officer, Review Order.

Gordon Highlander, Officer (Senior Colonel, front),
Mounted Duties.
Gordon Highlander, Officer (Senior Colonel, rear),
Mounted Duties.

Seaforth Highlander, Officer (Senior Colonel), Review Order,
 and Cameron Highlander, Officer (Senior Colonel), Review Order.

Royal Navy, Officer, Admiral, Full Dress

London Scottish, Officer, Review Order,
Seaforth Highlanders, Officers, Review Order.

Scots Guards, Drum Major, Officer, Review Order,
 and Officer, Patrol Dress

Royal Scots Fusiliers, Highland Light Infantry,
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Officers, Review Order 

Hon Maj. Gen. HH. Maharaja
 Sir Pratap Singh Bahadur

King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery,
Officer, Review Order

Royal Horse Guards,
Officer, Review Order

Scots Guards,
Officer, Review Order

Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders,
Officer, Review Order

Officer, Jungle Dress

14th (King's) Hussars, Officer, Review Order