Other than badges of rank, the first cloth badges to identify the regiment tended to be embroidered on the shoulder straps of the full dress tunic.
When a twisted shoulder cord was introduced, there was no room for a badge so the badge identifying the regiment /battalion was moved to the top of the arm. For the infantry, these were red background with white lettering and a number to identify the battalion.
When fixed shoulder straps on tunics and jackets were introduced, cloth badges were replaced by metal shoulder titles.
During WW1 as the army become larger and more complex, Company, Battalion, Brigade and Divisional cloth badges were introduced to differentiate between different units. These were a vast array of geometric and colourful pieces of cloth and were worn at the top of the sleeve of the jacket.
After WW1 these unit badges ceased to be used and metal titles came back into use and it was not until the start of WW2 that cloth badges to identify the regiment were reintroduced for the new battledress uniform. These badges were unpopular and were discontinued around 1943 to be replaced with the brightly coloured curved shoulder titles.
Divisional badges (or formation signs as they had become known) were also re introduced along with another introduction, the coloured 'Arm of Service' badge.
At first, the curved 'York and Lancaster' white lettering on a red background, were printed onto cloth but many units, including the York and Lancaster Regiment, purchased their own embroidered titles.