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Unknown Purpose of BEF Wheel Right Patch on US Quartermaster Corps Officer Jacket?


Major Z
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A few weeks back I procured this very nice 84th ID jacket. I collect Quartermaster Corps materials so this one had an obvious appeal. However, what I don't know is the purpose of the British wagon right patch on the Lieutenant's right sleeve. The division itself was only overseas from August 1918 to January 1919. The division served mainly a training unit for incoming Soldiers while some of it's members fought as replacements. I looked around for a similar patch as it is definitely not a cut out US Army chevron or anything like that. It's much larger than the similar US patch. I found the identical patch on eBay, and it is listed as a British Army Wagon Right patch. My research also indicates it could instead be a specialist badge of the Guards Division. Either way, why is it on this American jacket? It's obvious to infer that being behind the lines this Quartermaster officer was probably pushing supplies forward. Did this officer serve as a replacement in the British sector? Was this patch a way to show his connection or service to their forces? Was this patch just a way to show his role in transporting logistics by wagons? Does it have nothing to do with the British at all?! I've never encountered anything like this and it has me stumped. 

 

Below are two photos of the jacket. The website showing the British patch is: http://www.diggerhistory.info/images/badges-qualification/trades-brit2.jpg. The ebay listing for the wagon right patch is: https://www.ebay.com/itm/255133997389. The limited information on the 84th ID's service in France is:  http://www.84thrailsplitters.com/history.html. Thank you for the help!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

From:  https://transportation.army.mil/history/index.html

 

History of the US Army Transportation Corps:  

 

Starting with the invasion of Cuba in 1898, all subsequent wars of the United States were fought overseas. The debacle of uploading V Corps at Tampa, Florida, and offloading men, animals, and supplies at Daiquiri and Siboney, Cuba, taught the Army that it could not afford failure at ports and that it needed professionals who knew how to manage ports of embarkation and debarkation, deliver supplies over bare beaches, and manage the Army’s seagoing fleet of transports.

 

As a result, the War Department created the Army Transportation Service (ATS) under the Quartermaster Department on 18 August 1899. The ATS became the genesis of the future Transportation Corps and would evolve through a number of organizational name changes to become the current Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC).

On 11 July 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces, by General Orders No. 114, formed the Motor Transport Corps to manage the Army’s new fleet of trucks during World War I. So in this war, the Quartermaster Corps managed wheeled vehicles, stevedores, and the Army’s deep water fleet, while the Corps of Engineers had responsibility for railroads and harborcraft.

The Army soon realized that it needed one organization to manage the increasing modes of transportation.

 

On 11 March 1919, the Secretary of War issued General Orders No. 54, creating the Transportation Service by merging the Embarkation Service and the Inland Traffic Service. On 9 April 1919, the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division of the General Staff subsequently directed (through Supply Circular No. 28) the consolidation of all transportation activities, except those of the Motor Transport Corps, into the Transportation Service. The Transportation Service, like the Motor Transport Corps, created its own branch insignia as one more step toward functional autonomy. It was becoming evident that the increasing size of the Army and the diverse modes of transportation would require the specialization of a separate branch to manage this function.

 

In 1919, the future Transportation Corps was off to a good start when the Secretary of War appointed Brigadier General Frank T. Hines as the first Chief of Transportation. He advocated the need for centralized control of all transportation matters in the War Department. The National Defense Act of 4 June 1920 placed all military transportation except rail under the Army Transportation Service as a separate service of the Quartermaster General, effective on 15 July 1920.

Congress, however, mandated a reduction of the military that same year. As a result, the Transportation Service was reduced to a Transportation Division in the Office of the Quartermaster General. Hines continued to serve as the Chief of Transportation until 1922.

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Thank you for your insights on the Transportation Corps. I understand the thought process, but I still want to know why there is a British trade patch on this officer's right sleeve? How did he obtain it (as in did he work with/for the British)? What was the purpose of wearing it? I'm realistic that the answers may be lost to time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing that is truly "GI" or "Doughboy" in this case is the often weird, un-regulation way they wore insignia. I am betting this officer had some sort of command or authority over a wagon column or the like- saw the patch and said "that will work"-  

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  • 2 months later...
tredhed2

Just saw this. The design of the 84th Div patch attached to this jacket was not appr until Feb 16 1924. It is also sewn w/ an incorrect orientation.

 

Have attached an example of the appr type as worn c. 1924.

INFDIV084 PW.jpg

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On 1/9/2022 at 2:35 PM, tredhed2 said:

Just saw this. The design of the 84th Div patch attached to this jacket was not appr until Feb 16 1924. It is also sewn w/ an incorrect orientation.

 

Have attached an example of the appr type as worn c. 1924.

INFDIV084 PW.jpg

 

What conclusions can you draw from your information? Do you think it was added in the 1920s (obvious "duh" question, but I'd like to know more)? Why would it have been added, especially to a unit that saw no combat? I'm not doubting your information, just curious what you think it means for this particular uniform. Thanks!

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It means only what I said. If the patch design was not approved until 1924 then yes, it was added post WW 1.  I cannot speculate as to why, who, or what.

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That's okay. I'm not trying to sell this one, but I'll make a note in my records about the patch. Thank you for telling me though. I still don't exactly know about the British patch on here though. Sometimes these things are lost to the ages unfortunately.

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kiaiokalewa

Could you post a clear picture of the patch in question.  What Tredhed posted is a bonified interwar 84th Division Shoulder Insignia but I yet to see a bullion example from the pre war era.  

 

The one on the shoulder of your coat looks like a post WWII occupation German made 84th Division patch to me.  If that is the case, your uniform was clearly a put together of recent times by a very unknowledgable individual trying to create an authentic 84th Division uniform which it is not. 

 

Verification of this will be confirm after a clearer image of the shoulder patch is posted. 

 

Aloha

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