The Collection of Artillery Insignia formed by the late Norman Litchfield

The Collection of Artillery Insignia formed by the late Norman Litchfield

Norman Litchfield (1935 - 2005)

Norman Ernest Humphrey Litchfield, who died on 19 October 2005 at the age of 70, was arguably Britain's leading authority on artillery badges. Born on 20 May 1935, the son of a Royal Artillery major, Norman completed his National Service with the Gunners from 1954 to 1956, then took up a career in education. Throughout a distinguished career as a teacher, spent mostly in Derbyshire with his wife Shirley and son James, Norman showed little concern about badges until one of his son's school friends expressed an interest. Norman looked out a long-forgotten box of badges in the loft of his father's house but James's friend never got to see them - because Norman had become 'hooked' and decided lo keep them!

By 1986 teaching had ceased to be the happy profession he had joined 30 years earlier, so Norman took early retirement to concentrate on what had become, for him, a well-established hobby. Soon the hobby became an obsession as Norman began trading in militaria, taking stalls at fairs and adding to his many contacts, but his his love remained Royal Artillery insignia.

Always more than happy to impart his knowledge Norman authored several books and guides on subject or badges and buttons and was a prolific contributor to the specialist magazines including The Gunner and The Armourer. His first book, The Volunteer Artillery, co-authored with Ray Westlake, was followed by The Military Artillery and, perhaps his finest literary effort, The Territorial Army 1908-1988: their lineage, uniforms and badges. For this last title he received the Royal Artillery's prestigious Alfred Burne Memorial Award in 1991 from General Sir Martin Farndale.

In the last three years of his life Norman produced four excellent illustrated guides to the regiment’s collar badges, shoulder titles, buttons and, his greatest delight, Pagri badges worn in the tropics by sections and batteries upwards. More recently he had been working on artillery 'gentlemen's badges'.

Even in his last lengthy illness, Norman kept up his interests, which also included ornithology and family history. His quiet enthusiasm, professionalism, and devotion to his subject means that he is greatly missed by all who knew him.