The collection of Badges formed by the late Phil Harris

The collection of Badges formed by the late Phil Harris

Phil Harris (1914 - 1996)

Phil Harris, my grandfather, was born in Bristol on 7 May 1914 and started collecting badges in the 1920s. His eldest brother, Will, enlisted in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in his teens and, with there being a ten-year age gap between the two, Will would always bring home on his leave a handful of regimental badges for his younger brother, who was still at school at the time.

Throughout the ensuing years Will served in Germany, India, with the 8th Army and, as a CSM, was killed in action in the push for Minturno in Italy in 1944.

With Phil having left home by this time, the collection of badges remained untouched in the family home until it was sold in the 1960s. With the re-emergence of the collection as the house was cleared, together with Phil's sentimental attachment to their origin, his interest was rekindled, and, becoming a member of the Wessex Military History Society, Phil became good friends with Ken Clark, another avid and well known collector.

Over the next 20 years the collection was avidly developed to its present size, with Phil focusing particularly on OTC badges. As his health began to deteriorate, Phil passed the care and responsibility for the collection to his sons, one of whom had been named after his brother Will. Phil died on 31 October 1996, and it is thought that now is an appropriate time for the collection to seek a new home, with collectors who will treasure it as Phil did for some seventy odd years.