Silver Military Identity Bracelet, Mildenhall

photo of identity bracelet front and back

An inter-war silver identity bracelet found in the Mildenhall area and dated to the First World War.

Dated to 1935 this silver bracelet suggests that the owner was perhaps an experienced officer who had seen action in the First World War and remained in his regiment through the 20s and 30s.

Though research is ongoing, there is a Captain ‘C Brunner’ named in the 1941 Home Guard lists, who was a member of the Territorial Army (TA) 3rd City of London Battalion, which became the 69th Searchlight Regiment in 1941. The 69th served in East Anglia (being based primarily in Norfolk) from c.1940 onwards, serving as part of the 41st AA Brigade, before being moved to the West Country in 1943. Many experienced veteran officers elected to join TA regiments following the outbreak of WWII in 1939 – with this identity bracelet being lost near RAF Mildenhall, it is likely that this Captain C Brunner was the original owner of the bracelet.

The earliest identification tags had existed since 1907, listing the owner’s name, rank, service number and regiment. However, these were of poor quality and survive badly in the ground. The lack of good quality identification tags and prevalence of highly destructive forms of warfare were additionally compounded by the lack of a regularised ‘service number’ system.

Following the British Army reforms of 1920, each regiment was assigned a ‘block’ of service numbers along with officers assigned to them and included enlisted men and NCOs, making the means of identifying soldiers somewhat easier. During this period many soldiers elected to create their own additional forms of identification, with tags hung from necklaces or in the form of a bracelet which was usually the most common. The example from Mildenhall belongs to the latter group rather than being an official army issue, engraved with the name ‘CARL BRUNNER’ and service number 6876971 on one face, the date ‘1935’ on its reverse, presumably referring to the date of manufacture. A manufacturers mark is also stamped on the back, though this is extremely worn. The service number itself corresponds to those assigned to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, an infantry regiment which served garrison duties in India, Palestine and Ireland during the inter-war period.

View the full record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database

Thank you to the finder for allowing this object to be featured.

This find was recorded by the Suffolk Finds Recording Team, supported by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

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