Military cap badge

Contributed by Dr Peter Halkon

This little cap badge in the form of a field gun with a moveable wheel was worn by my grandfather Lance Bombadier Arnold Machin in the First World War. The photo, showing him wearing the cap badge, was taken on his only home leave 20.6.1917. Volunteering in the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery in 1915 he took part in the great barrage on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He survived a direct hit on his gun crew near Arras,taking shells to forward positions through the mud of Passchendaele, and the German counter attack of 1918. Thought of as a lucky object, grandad gave it to my father William Halkon, when he was called up in 1939, as he had joined the Royal Horse Artillery. He served in North Africa where he almost lost a leg after he was knocked off his motorbike by a retreating American and whilst on a stretcher narrowly avoided straffing by an enemy plane. He spent the rest of WW2 as a sergeant teaching map reading and signals on Salisbury Plain. Every time I look at this badge I feel so grateful that both men survived, that I never had to wear it and that I and my generation have avoided the horrors of World War. The badge is a fitting memory of two wonderful men.

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Issued 4th January 1915


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