Australian First World War Colour Patches

Availability: In stock


Introduced in 1915, the colour patch was worn on both shoulders of the jacket, one inch below the shoulder strap. Developed from a system of coloured flags, the colour patch identified an individuals unit. These colour patches are made of wool flannel, sewn in the colours and sizes of the originals. SOLD IN PAIRS ONLY.

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Regimental badges had been abandoned, unless procured through regimental funds, upon the adoption of universal training in 1912. The adoption of distinctive regimental hat and collar badges for AIF units was quickly dismissed due to the overwhelming cost and difficulty of continued supply. Members of the AIF were originally issued oxidised, copper, corps titles and numerals, to be worn on the collar of the jacket by officers, and on the shoulder straps by other ranks. In March 1915 in lieu of these badges, colour patches were introduced. By the shape, colours, and how those colours were divided, a wearers unit could be quickly identified. Almost 300 colour patches were introduced by the end of the First World War.

The colour patch, although not unique among armies, was perhaps more highly prized by Australian soldiers due to the absence of other regimental badges. Their use continued after the war, despite the adoption of regimental badges, until the reorganisation of the Australian army in the late 1940's, when they were first abandoned. They were adopted again by some units of the Australian Army in 1995 and continue to be used to this day.