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WWII & Pre-WWII Submarine Dolphins


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Well truth is, without direct specific proof of manufacturer here, we may never know exactly when, where, or who actually manufactured the badge. Just because someone served in the Asian theatre doesn’t mean the badge was made there. Even Jones lists the example in his book as “unknown” to manufacturer and I imagine he did exhaustive research for his book, certainly more than I have on this matter.

Considering the main submarine training facility at the time was in Groton, Connecticut, it seems very likely that insignia was procured through official outlets that were available to those at the time. Though early on, it appears strict adherence to uniform regulations were much looser and variations in insignia more pronounced, most still had to follow main design features called out in the specifications and by the 1930’s were specifically told to procure insignia from authorized government sources. That rule did not apply only to submarine insignia but all military uniform insignia.

If you have served in uniform then you know there are outlets to procure uniforms and insignia from authorized sources. Today we have uniform shops on base, procurement though supply channels and on most afloat commands ships stores that, depending on size, can carry a wide array of items. Back then venues like Naval Clothing Factory, Quartermaster Departments, etc. provided the source for much of this. Additionally, commands sometimes stock token amounts of item for issue on board and what’s to say this set of dolphins wasn’t passed down from someone else? There are just too many possibilities to say for sure without more specific information regarding this particular pattern of insignia.

Without getting too far off the topic of WW2 Submarine insignia here…

The reason I suspect this pattern of badge, with the tube or trombone style of clasp, originating from England is because this style of clasp was patented by Charles Rowley of Birmingham, England in 1850. It was a very popular style of clasp used in jewelry throughout Europe from the late 1800’s well through WW2 and into the 1950’s when the safety type of clasp eventually replaced it.

Considering many private jewelers were awarded contracts to produce military medals and insignia starting around the WW1 era and many of those jewelers were on the east coast, I think it’s quite plausible that their base material was often procured from European sources, certainly early on. We see this also applied to ribbon stock used for medals as well, often procured from French sources.

In the early 1900’s, companies like Irons & Russell and Coro (Cohn and Rosenberger) were often associated with cosmetic jewelry, sweetheart emblems, and minor militaria-related badges but, they also produced military insignia under contract. Coro was a company that did use the trombone style of clasp on some of their items during this period. Not saying that Coro produced this badge shown here but, it goes to show U.S. jewelers were using the type of clasp to some extent during this era.

I’ll add a snippet pic to show some basic information on the history of the clasp from this site: http://fancy4glass.ca/information-gallery-main-pages/identifying-and-dating-an-antique-or-vintage-jewelry-clasp-or-hinge.htm

 

Again, we call all speculate the source but without more positive proof showing a specific source, we may never know for sure.

 

Nice example though!

 

Tim

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I got the badge as kid and unfortunately never thought to ask where he got it. Since completing "the course of instruction in submarines" at Groton did not qualify an officer to wear the badge, he did not get it at Groton, either at graduation, nor later on as he never returned there.
The badge was awarded to him after "satisfactory performance" in submarines while serving in one S boat then commanding another, both in the Far East. He then transferred to Panama where he commanded another S boat.

I do know this is the only badge he wore and I think it likely he got it when he qualified for it, in the Far East. Unfortunately, this doesn't provide any clue as to where it was made.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I primarily collect USAAF wings and love to find engraved examples so when I saw this Submarine Warfare insignia I had to have it. Since I know nothing about these can anyone help on dating these. I did a little research on the engraved name and believe he was a 1919 Graduate of the Naval Academy.

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Thanks for sharing this wonderful BB&B attributed example. Early to mid- 20's.

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Agree, beautiful example and nice pick up on your part, congrats!

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  • 3 months later...

Is there a post WWII submarine dolphins topic? I could not find one but if would be nice to have discussions that include enlisted dolphins. There were a ton of manufactures for them also. (Balfour, Gemsco, Meyers, Vanguard) to name a few.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

I hope you don't mind a cloth version added here. This is on an ID'd custom tailored uniform worn by a ship's cook 2nd Class.

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

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I hope you don't mind a cloth version added here. This is on an ID'd custom tailored uniform worn by a ship's cook 2nd Class.

 

 

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By the way, is this an officer's version? How common are bullion dolphins on WWII enlisted uniforms? And any thoughts on where these were made? As you may have guessed, I know very little about submariner's insignia but have really enjoyed reading about them in this thread!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Enlisted used embroider on their sleeve until 1947 then it moved to above the breast pocket until 1950 which they used metal insignia. The officers used metal since 1928. I am not sure when the officers would have used cloth though. Maybe someone else has some more information regarding that.

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Enlisted used embroider on their sleeve until 1947 then it moved to above the breast pocket until 1950 which they used metal insignia. The officers used metal since 1928. I am not sure when the officers would have used cloth though. Maybe someone else has some more information regarding that.

 

 

Chris,

 

I believe 1951, based on the comments here: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/213094-my-small-cloth-wwii-submarine-badge-collection/

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double post?

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Thanks for the replies. The bullion badge that I showed is on an enlisted jumper from a submariner who served as a ship's cook during WWII. It is worn on his right sleeve between the elbow and the cuff. I was just wondering how unusual it was for an enlisted submariner to wear a bullion badge.

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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Not that unusual. Generally this silver bullion cuff dolphin was intended to match the bullion ratings of CPO uniforms. Other non CPO enlisted did buy them from time to time. I have two uniforms with the same bullion dolphin. One on a late to post war 6 button Chief with bullion crow taylored in New London, the other a non chief TM 2nd or 3rd class, going from memory. The TM uniform was direct from the family.

Josh

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Qualified officers and enlisted submariners began using the metal and cloth dolphins, respectively, in 1924.

 

Enlisted used embroider on their sleeve until 1947 then it moved to above the breast pocket until 1950 which they used metal insignia. The officers used metal since 1928. I am not sure when the officers would have used cloth though. Maybe someone else has some more information regarding that.

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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Not that unusual. Generally this silver bullion cuff dolphin was intended to match the bullion ratings of CPO uniforms. Other non CPO enlisted did buy them from time to time. I have two uniforms with the same bullion dolphin. One on a late to post war 6 button Chief with bullion crow taylored in New London, the other a non chief TM 2nd or 3rd class, going from memory. The TM uniform was direct from the family.

Josh

Thanks Josh B.!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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I finally took some decent pictures of the deep wave dolphins I picked up (thanks for the advice, Tim!) so I figured I'd put them in the thread here for reference.

 

Dave

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a follow up,to my posting of John Leeper Reynolds Insignia...I requested his Servive record from the National Archives and I can't believe the amount of info I received !!! It's going to take quite a while to sort through it all.post-13070-0-52582100-1480627397_thumb.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Its the right perspective on the same sub class the insignia was modeled on. Good eye!

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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  • 7 months later...

Erich,

 

Gemsco dolphins are a tough nut to crack. Their early insignia were unmarked, precious metal content hallmarks withstanding. From personal observation, I believe that was the case until around the end of WWII, especially for their "type I" dolphins like yours. I'm of the opinion that their "deepwave" dolphins (type II to me) are fairly late war to early post war. Those of course bore the Gemsco name. Even more confusingly, their pierced die type I's (type III to me) may have also come out near the end of the war, and these are usually hallmarked.

 

So I'd say anywhere from mid-late WWII or shortly thereafter. The combination of bronze base metal, un-pierced die but having the Gemsco name is an atypical set of attributes for the manufacturer.

-Specializing in WWII (and earlier) Submarine material. Enthusiast of history and artifacts from all service branches.

 

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