Last month a Military Badge collector in Wiltshire came across a BGS Training Corps Badge and contacted the School to see if it was of interest.
We agreed to purchase the badge for a £10.00 fee to add to our archive. The gentleman sent the badge with the following letter: 'I am so glad that this badge is going back to where it belongs. In the light of what Mark Hone told me (about the badge) I intend to donate the £10.00 to the British Legion Poppy Appeal in November, in memory of the Pupils from your School, who sacrificed their lives in the two wars.'
This is the story of the badge:
'This is a Bury Grammar School Officers' Training Corps cap badge. The BGS Cadet Corps was originally founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest day-school cadet forces in the country. In 1908, in a government reorganisation of the army, it became part of the newly-formed Territorial Force and was re-designated the Officers' Training Corps. Although always closely associated with the local Lancashire Fusiliers Regiment, which had its headquarters in Bury, the OTC cadets wore their own distinctive cap badge featuring the school's 'Swan with a key in its mouth' symbol. Hundreds of former BGS cadets served in the Great War and they comprised a majority of the 98 Old Boys who died in that conflict. One of the last to fall was 19 year-old Signaller Willis Calvert, Royal Artillery, from Wolsey Street in Radcliffe, who died of wounds on 2nd October 1918, a month before the end of the war. The accompanying photograph shows Willis in the uniform of the Bury Grammar School OTC, circa 1915. He is proudly wearing the swan cap badge.
Willis's full story , along with those of the other 'Fallen Swans' from the Great War, is recorded on the 'Roll of Honour' section of the BGS Archives Website here.