Gorget patches

Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels wear gorget patches, or 'red tabs', on the collar.

Originally, the gorget was a piece of armour dating from the 14th century that protected the throat or gorge. Improvements in musketry brought about the gradual demise of protective armour. 

By the beginning of the 18th century, any pieces of armour that remained had no practical value and were maintained on officers’ uniforms for ornamental or ceremonial purposes.

During the Boer War, a khaki uniform was introduced and red gorget patches were added to distinguish senior officers.

The gorget patch worn by a colonel or brigadier has a central line of silk gimp (a thread with a cord or wire in the centre) the same colour as the gorget patch. 

The patch worn by those ranked Major General and above has oak leaf embroidery on the full-size patch and a strip of gold braid on the smaller patch.

There are some variations in the gorget patch depending on the member’s corps.

  • Members of the Nursing Corps wear a silver silk gimp. 
  • The Chaplains Department wears a purple patch. 
  • The Medical Corps wears a dull cherry patch. 
  • The Dental Corps wears a burnt orange patch. 
  • Senior officers of the Australian Army Cadets wear a royal blue patch.