Metal shoulder titles first started appearing on officers uniforms from 1881. With the introduction of Khaki Drill uniforms for regiments in India from 1885 onwards, metal shoulder titles began to be worn by all ranks.
Initially for regular battalions, on uniforms used for home service, titles were stitched into the shoulder straps of tunics/jackets. Although it was not until 1907/08 that metal shoulder titles were worn throughout the British army, the commonest and most recognisable shoulder title to the York and Lancaster Regiment (the simple ‘Y&L’) was brought into used in 1897.
For volunteer battalions, shoulder titles were embroidered on Full Dress tunics. With the introduction of service dress from 1902 onwards, volunteer metal shoulder titles were initially in white metal up until the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908 when brass shoulder titles became the norm.
For the 2 Territorial Force battalions of the York and Lancaster Regiment, shoulder titles consisted of a letter ‘T’ above the battalion number and the letters ‘Y&L’. During WW1, these titles became used less and less as the pre war territorial soldiers became replaced by reinforcements from conscripted men and even from other regiments in the army.
Battle Dress was introduced in 1938 and from this time onwards, embroidered, coloured shoulder titles were sown to the shoulders of battle dress blouses. This remained the case until No 2 Dress was introduced for the army in 1961 when metal shoulder titles were once again used on No 2 Dress jackets.