Rev Garner (1940-2020) collected badges from the age of six, when his recently demobbed father gave him his Royal Engineers badge and ID tag at the end of the Second World War.
His collection is now coming up for sale at Plymouth Auction Rooms on April 15. The saleroom’s managing director Paul Keen said: “His father’s badge sparked a lifetime’s obsession with collecting, principally military badges but also those from school Officer Training Corps, NAAFI, Fire Service, WRVS, Scouts, Girl Guides and other notable organisations.”
The collection, to be sold in 17 group lots, comprises over 1200 items from Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany and all across the world mainly dating from the 20th century. Copies of Rev Garner’s handwritten catalogue are available.
After an apprenticeship at machine tool maker Alfred Herbert in Coventry, Rev Garner experienced military service himself, also in the Royal Engineers, for most of the 1960s. In 1971 he was ordained as a Church of England priest.
He worked in several parishes in Coventry and London until his retirement in 2005 from the post of Rector of St Mary’s, Bow. He retired to France where he passed away earlier this year.