Volunteer Defence Corps administration brassard : Dr A G Butler

Accession Number RELAWM30211
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Badge
Physical description Cotton, Plastic
Maker Unknown
Victorian Branch RSL
Place made Australia
Date made 1940-1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Khaki cotton armband with a 22 mm wide blue cotton band stitched along the top. Two brown plastic buttons, 55mm apart, are sewn to the proper left of the armband; the corresponding button holes are reinforced. Printed in red in the top centre of the band are the letters "RSL", with "VDC" underneath; between them is sewn a 17mm x 36mm brown rectangular felt patch.

History / Summary

Armband worn by Dr Arthur Graham Butler, DSO VD MB BS, as a member of the Canberra Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC). The presence of the 'RSL' monogram dates from the period July 1940, when the VDC was formed and administered by the Returned Soldiers' League, to May 1941, when control passed to Army Headquarters. The miniature brown colour patch indicates that the wearer was a veteran of 1 Division Australian Army Medical Corps. The original medical officer of 9 Battalion, Graham Butler was one of the first men ashore at Anzac, where his bravery and devotion led to the award of the DSO. Later Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services, I Anzac Corps, he also helped with the collation of AIF medical records. After the war he was appointed to write the Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services, and from 1941 worked at the AWM in Canberra, completing the last of the three volumes. After its publication in July 1943, he remained at the Memorial, collating and preparing his papers. Butler's health had been steadily declining from 1939, with poor eyesight and double pneumonia hampering his writing efforts. He died in February 1949 aged 76. RSL Circular 141/40 of 3 July 1940 details an agreement between the Department of the Army and the RSL for members of the VDC to wear half-sized colour patches made from facing cloth, attached in the two inch space 'between letters RSL and monogram containing VDC'. This circular also states that the first issue of 1,000 armbands (or 'armlets') would be delivered to the Sydney Ordnance Depot on 3-4 July 1940. Circular 152/40 of 12 July 1940 then proscribes a rank coding to be attached to the armbands 'by means of a strip of coloured cloth stitched from end to end to the back of the armlet and showing ¾ inch above the top thereof.' The colours are: Commander - Red; Battalion leader - Yellow; Company leader - Green; Platoon leader - White; Section leader - Purple; Administrative staff and liaison officers - Light blue.