The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, founded in 1399. It takes its name from the ritual bathing of the would-be knights to ensure their purity before being invested with their insignia. Bear in mind that taking a bath was a very rare occurrence, even in polite circles, in medieval times. As late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth it could be said that the Queen took a bath once a month ‘whether she needed it or not’. Whether the institution of this order resulted in a higher standard of hygiene at Court is not known, but eventually the Order of the Bath fell into disuse.
It was revived by King George I in 1725 and consisted originally of one class only. The KB, as it was then known, was awarded to generals and admirals for distinguished war service. After the Battle of Waterloo the order was expanded into three classes—Knights Grand Cross (GCB), Knights Commander (KCB) and Companions (CB). The abbreviation KB is now used to signify Knights Bachelor, who do not receive a specific knighthood but who get a breast star bearing a crosshilted sword and spurs, the medieval symbols of knighthood.
In 1847 award of the Bath was thrown open to civilians, who now wear similar insignia but have a slightly different ribbon.
Worcestershire Officers who were awarded the CB (Companions of this order)
The rank show in the table below is that which was held at the time the Order was awarded.