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Neck Badge of Knight Commander

This is a neck badge of a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB).

The Order of Bath was first instituted in 1399, and revived by King George I in 1725. At first it only had one class, that of Knight however in 1815 and again in 1847 the order was reorganised into 2 divisions, Military and Civilian each with 3 classes – Knight Grand Cross (GCB), Knight Commander (KCB) and Companion (CB).

The Badge shown is that of Lieutenant General Sir Leonard Thornton KCB CBE one of New Zealand’s most prominent soldiers of the last half century. Thornton served during WWII with the RNZA. Subsequently as a staff officer he was heavily involved in establishing the compulsory military training scheme in 1950. After serving successively as Quartermaster-General (1955), Adjutant-General (1956-58), and head of the SEATO Planning Office in Bangkok (1958-59), he became Chief of General Staff (CGS) in 1960. In 1965 he began a six year term as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). From 1972 – 1974 he was New Zealand’s Ambassador to South Vietnam and Cambodia.

The neck badge of the KCB is a Maltese cross of eight points each tipped with a gold ball. Between each angle of the cross is a gold lion. The central design shows the three flowers that represent the United Kingdom (a rose, a thistle and a shamrock). They are joined and connected by a central sceptre surrounded by three crowns. Around the edge there is the Latin phrase TRIA JUNCTA IN UNO which means ‘Three As One’. This is surrounded by branches of laurel with a scroll below and with the German phrase ICH DIEN, “I Serve”.