Wednesday 2nd May 2012
Doing their Bit
Home Front Lapel Badges 1939-1945 Jon Mills
In 1996 ‘Doing Their Bit Home Front Lapel badges 1939-1945’ was first published privately by Jon Mills. This monumental work is a detailed account of the organisations of the Home Front during World War Two and the lapel badges that they issued. Such was the quality of this book that it has become the standard work on the subject. It is therefore no surprise that this has now been published in hardback form by a recognised publisher. This publisher is Sabrestorm, under the guidance of Ian Bayley and they are to be thanked for their work on what is a superb publication.
In 1985 whilst preparing my book ‘The Official Badge collectors Guide from the 1890s to the 1980’ I was lucky enough to meet Thomas Fattorini. This was at the Westbourne Road Works Urmston. I found Tom to be an extremely easy man to talk to and work with and we ended up having fish and chips in a local restaurant, I’m sure Tom realised I would be happier there than in a more upmarket establishment! I was a young naïve badge collector and Tom was an experienced and knowledgeable badge maker rightly proud of his firms work. He lent me a lot of material which I was able to copy before returning it to him. Some of this was included in my own book and the rest found its way into The Badge Collectors Circle newsletters through the years. It is some of this material previously published in our Newsletters that Jon has now included in the new edition of his book.
Books on badges do not come any better than this one—clear informative text, brilliant layout, superb illustration and really easy to use. The book can also be held up as an example of how lapel badges have a story to tell and are small nuggets of social history. Indeed you do not have to be a badge collector to enjoy this work, anyone with an interest in the Home Front will be fascinated by the story and especially impressed by the level of detail that Jon incorporates. Including so many facts and figures into a text could easily make it disjointed and difficult to follow but Jon has a real skill in explaining things so clearly. I was delighted to supply Jon with the Thomas Fattorini material which he has used to good effect without messing up the original brilliant text.This original text comprehensively covers the myriad of Home Front organisations from the ARP, Police, Ambulance, WVS, Home Guard, all the way through to the Red Cross and St John’s
I would urge anyone with an interest in the subject to get hold of a copy –or anyone thinking about writing a badge book to take a look at this publication.
In 1985 I was naïve but I did realise the generality of my own book and knew that it was just a starting point for the hobby as there was so little published material on civilian lapel badges – my big hope was that other more detailed books would appear throughout my lifetime. This has happened in small ways mostly by self-published material in small runs. Jon’s book began life this way and so thanks again to Sabrestorm for taking the step and giving this masterpiece a higher profile.