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Post Info TOPIC: Messenger Boys


Colonel

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Messenger Boys
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When I read about American World War One soldiers in the Osprey books, they mentioned how American soldiers would wear red armbands when carrying messages so they wouldn't be harassed by officers or military police.  Of course, the red armbands made them a prime target for the enemy too.  But when reading about soldiers from other armies, none of them mentioned such insignia for couriers.  So what did they do?



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Commander in Chief

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I'm a bit late to the party, messenger must've been shot on the way!
The Ottomans had a red & white ribbon attached to a messenger.
www.ottoman-uniforms.com/ww1-ottoman-army-hq-message-runners-and-army-corps-or-division-protection-companies/

This British soldier with messenger dogs, appears to have an armband of some sort.
www.flickr.com/photos/australian-war-memorial/3527154962/

Now, as for making them more of a target, probably not. The main hazzard would be having to be out of the trenches, as I'd assume that the poor bugger with the message, would either be being sent from the attacking force, to or from the nearest working telephone or from the nearest working telephone to the attacking force!




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Legend

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The second bloke is Australian.



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"Sometimes things that are not true are included in Wikipedia. While at first glance that may appear like a very great problem for Wikipedia, in reality is it not. In fact, it's a good thing." - Wikipedia.



Corporal

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Long Tom wrote:

When I read about American World War One soldiers in the Osprey books, they mentioned how American soldiers would wear red armbands when carrying messages so they wouldn't be harassed by officers or military police.  Of course, the red armbands made them a prime target for the enemy too.  But when reading about soldiers from other armies, none of them mentioned such insignia for couriers.  So what did they do?


 Hi

The distinguishing marks for specialists were laid down in BEF documents, SS 135 'Instructions for the Training of Divisions for Offensive Action', of December 1916, Section XXXII, has the following:  Scouts - Green Band.  Runner - Red Band.  Regimental and Company Signaller - Blue.  Carrying Party - Yellow.  Mopping Up troops - White.  Salvage Parties - Khaki Band with 'Salvage' in Red letters.

These bands were made 'locally' and were meant to be 1 1/2 inches wide and worn on the left forearm.

Also troops carrying wire cutters or wire breakers were to wear a piece of white tape looped through the right shoulder strap.

Other armies would have had similar.

 

Mike



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Corporal

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Hi

I should mention that arm bands were worn for other purposes in an attack but on the right arm.  An example from the 11th Australian Infantry Brigade from an order dated 16 July, 1917, has the following:

Distinguishing band will be worn on right arm 4 inches below Battalion colour patch.

Assaulting troops - Yellow.

Parties to establish Red Posts - Red.

Parties to consolidate Red Dotted Line - White.

 

A lot of distinguishing bands were used for different purpose, so best to look at photos carefully and try to relate them to associated documentation if possible.

Mike



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