Brand on British soldier's forehead?

This question is prompted by a novel, but I believe it has a factual answer.

In the second volume of the “Octavian Nothing” series, Octavian encounters a British soldier who has “GR” branded on his forehead. What would that have signified? (This is in 1775 during the War of American Independence.)

George Rex?

GR is the Royal cypher for King George like ER is for Elizabeth (Elizabeth Regina)

It could mean the British soldier is a fanatical supporter KIng George III (“Georgius Rex”), just like that doofus who had the Romney campaign symbol tattooed on his face.

I thought of that, but why branded on the forehead? The soldier is identified as a Scotsman, if that’s a help.

The Royal cypher is a pretty common decoration of various uniforms of the time. You see it on hats, buttons, ammo pouches… I would say it’s the equivalent to a modern soldier getting a tattoo of infantry crossed rifles or a Marine getting an Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoo. He is suffering from an excessive amount of hooah.

That’s the best I can think of without actually reading the source material.

the modern equivalent would be putting pictures of someone all over your van and then mailing pipe bombs

Apparently initial brands were a thing:

This hand-shaped example was made by the British Army during the English Civil War (1641-1651). The branding tool bears the initials ‘CR’ surrounding a crown. This is presumed to refer to ‘Carolus Rex’ - King Charles I. He was beheaded in 1649 for treason, after which England briefly became a republic after a decade of civil war. This tool would have been used to mark ‘ownership’ of Royalist army deserters

There’s not a lot of context (at least not yet) which is why I asked, but the brand is mentioned twice, which makes it seem significant. Without giving away too much if anyone ever reads these books (they’re great), the narrator is very naive about the ways of the world, and it doesn’t occur to him to question or even wonder about certain things. I was trying to get ahead of the story and appreciate the dramatic irony if there’s any to be had.

Would appreciate other ideas if any, and I will certainly supply the answer if it comes up in the text.

Ah ha. So perhaps the branded soldier in my novel had been a deserter.

Yeah the branding of deserters was definitely a well known occurrence (It went on Western armies until at least American civil war,) I am sure that is what is being implied (I just didn’t realize the reginal initials were used)

Moderator Note

Let’s keep the political jabs out of General Questions. No warning issued.

General Questions Moderator

I’ve seen brands that were used on criminals but the branding was done at the base of the thumb. I’ve also seen tattooing devices that made a big “D” on a deserters arm. If you got caught deserting, you got tattooed. If you got caught deserting and you already had the tattoo, you were executed. I don’t know why they would put the brand on the guys head unless there was particular ill will on the part of the brander.

This was all in Great Britain. Don’t know what others did.

“Excessive amount of hooah” is my new most favorite phrase.

Right up there with testoserone poisoning.