Monday, May 30, 2011

Battle of Arnhem - Colonel John L. Waddy OBE (Rtd) relates the action of the 156th Parachute Battalion

Then Major (later Colonel) John L. Waddy commanded B Company, 156 Para Bn, 4th Parachute Brigade Group. After retirement he has conducted battlefield tours, and authored a detailed illustrated guide, relating his unique insight of the Battle of Arnhem, based on his direct combat experience. His book entitled, 'A TOUR OF THE ARNHEM BATTLEFIELDS 17 - 26 September 1944', John Waddy,  Leo Cooper, South Yorkshire, 1999, ISBN 0 85052 571 3, is highly recommended. He was a technical adviser during the making of the movie, ‘A Bridge Too Far’ in 1977.

COL John Waddy OBE walking with LTGEN John Gordon
Lorimer DSO, MBE, and Dutch Minister of State for Defense
Mark Francois at the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden 

As an integral element of one of his most recent tour/lecture series of 16 April 2011, he was video recorded directly on the former drop zone (DZ 'X') and landing zones (LZ 'Z' and 'S') of Renkum Heath and Reijerscamp, over which he and B Company of the 156th Bn fought, when they landed as an element of the 4th Parachute Brigade Group (delayed by 4 hours due to weather in England) on the second day, 18 September 1944.

 The video provides the rare opportunity of witnessing an oral history by one of the few remaining combat officers who actually served and fought at Arnhem. Below is a copy of a contemporary British Army map of the area (click on map to enlarge, and you may want to print off a copy in order to more easily follow the course of the battle). Colonel Waddy's videos follow and are in sequence of the six part series of his briefing. Colonel Waddy can be seen briefing visitors at the Hartenstein Hotel (Airborne Museum), Oosterbeek, in 1961 at

Below in the first segment of his briefing Colonel Waddy discusses some aspects of the planning for Operation Market-Garden. One of the principal reasons for creating this blog was to share an in-depth analysis of all aspects of that planning. If the viewer is so inclined they can read that analysis by going to the main menu bar and clicking 'Operation Market-Garden'.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

British & Commonwealth Cap Badges - Known Common Restrikes and Counterfeits

In an attempt to provide further assistance to collectors in identifying and differentiating genuine British and Commonwealth Cap Badges, the following list is offered of some of the more common restrikes and outright counterfeits/fakes known to exist. As can be seen Special and Elite Forces predominate. One of the other common groups of badges frequently seen in restrikes are the Scottish Regiments of both the British Army and Commonwealth. Please be aware that this, unfortunately, is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Parachute Regiment (discussed in detail on this site in WWII Parachute Regiment Cap Badge - A Forensic Study)
Special Air Service Regiment
No. 1 Demolition Squadron (Popski's Private Army)
Long Range Desert Group
Raiding Support Regiment (cloth)
The Glider Pilot Regiment
The Army Air Corps
No. 2 Commando (metal and cloth)
The Reconnaissance Corps
The Reconnaissance Corps (Yorkshire Units, w/rose)
101 Troop (6 Commando) (cloth)
V Force
No. 50, 51 and 52 Commando
21st Special Air Service, Artists Rifles
21st Special Air Service, Artists Rifles, (cross belt badge)
Special Boat Service WWII (metal and cloth)
Special Boat Service, Royal Marines (cloth, current) 
Special Reconnaissance Regiment (cloth, current)
Canadian Parachute Corps
1st Canadian Parachute Battalion (cloth)
17th/21st Lancers
19th Hussars
King Edward’s Horse
Canadian Armored Carrier Regiment
Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Section (WWI)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Gaurds Machine Gun Regiment
Royal Naval Division (WWI 6 badges, see detailed analysis in another page of this blog)
            Anson Battalion
            Hood Battalion
            Howe Battalion
            Drake Battalion
            Hawke Battalion
            Nelson Battalion
75th Regiment of Foot (1874-1881) Glengarry (see blog on Fox & Co. restrikes)
92nd Regiment of Foot (1874-1881) Glengarry (see blog on Fox & Co. restrikes)
92nd Gordon Highlanders (badge attached to shoulder belt plate)

The British and Commonwealth Badge Forum ( is one of the best web sites available for assistance in identifying restrikes and counterfeits. Once having joined the forum, using the search word ‘restrike’ you will immediately have at your disposal a database of 500 entries. In order to narrow that down the next obvious search term would be the specific name of the cap badge in question. There are member's specific albums devoted to restrikes and counterfeits. Most importantly, while only the front (obverse) of example badges are shown here, the albums show the backs (reverse) which are critical to accurate identification as well. Courtesy of various members of the forum here are a few examples of reproductions (Click on individual images to enlarge).
WWI Royal Naval Division
(Nelson Battalion)
WWI Royal Naval Division
(Anson Battalion)
WWII Reconnaissance Regiment
(Yorkshire Units)
WWII V Force
WWII Intelligence Corps
In addition the following individual, listed as kao751, has developed and published 7 guides on e-Bay which are very detailed and quite helpful. This is both a significant and excellent piece of research.

One of the members of the British and Commonwealth Badge Forum has recovered and published a list of known reproduction Canadian Badges circa 1989. There is some redundancy with the previous list.

Prince Rupert MG (2 piece)
Osgoode Hall COTC
CWTS Red Cross
Knights of Columbus
U of McGill COTC
Prince Edward Island Light Horse
Newfoundland Regiment
Toronto Scottish (small officers version nickel silver)
General List (Maple leaf with GL over beaver)
British Columbia Women’s Auto Assoc
British Columbia Regiment
Irish Regt of Canada kc (bimetal officers base, large size like qc)
RCAF (brass)
RCAF (bandsman in sterling silver)
8th Recce (sterling with white gold overlay)
Maple Leaf 2nd Canadian Special Infantry Battalion Aldershot
RC Air Cadets (badge used for overseas cadets)
NB Regt Tank
Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment
2nd Armd Car
Canadian Parachute Corps
Manitoba Volunteer Reserve
Control Commission Germany (sic)
P.E. Instructor (sic)
15th Light Horse
16/22nd Sask Horse (gilt officers)
Brigadier General
RCA Veterinary Corps (two piece sterling overlay)
Manitoba Mounted Rifles
Alberta Officer Training Corps (??)
CATS (Can Aux Trans Service)
CMHQ maple leaf badge (sterling silver)
Special Service Force (arrows)
Jr Soldier (Salvation army)
Garrison Regt
Trinity College COTC
De La Salle Cadets 247
Toronto Public School Cadets
Bishop Ridley College (cadets)
Veteran’s Brigade
RC Navy CPO kc two piece with sterling anchor
Maple Leaf with three C’s. (corps of commissionaires)
Cadre Instructor
McMaster U COTC (sterling)
Boys Brigade
Regiment de Lévis (small shield)
RCAF busby badge
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Military School of Piping
Seaforth Cadets
Piper’s arm badge
48th Highlanders TRH
48th Highlanders YTC
Seaforth Highlanders 4 piece officer’s sterling
Mount St Louis COTC
Newfoundland Highlanders
Newfoundland Pipe Band
Winnipeg Highland Cadets
Ashbury College Cadet Corps
Prince of Wales Rangers
Boys Brigade (large pattern in sterling)
Brigadier General (large and small in bronze)
RCA Chaplain Corps collars
RCA Chaplain Corps gold plate with sterling overlay
Galt Aircraft School
King’s Own Rifles Corps
Canadian Women’s Volunteer Reserve
Irish Regt kc sporran
Oxford Rifles
Argyll Tank
Argyll Light Infantry
Halifax Cadets
La Salle Cadets sterling over gold
CWAC base badge
Sask Vets Civil Service (sic)
Canadian Corps Commissionaires 1st type scroll on bottom
Middlesex Regt(qvc crown on kc pattern badge)
Canadian Women’s Service Force (maple leaf pattern)
UCC kc
RCAF Association hand painted
2nd / 10th Dragoons
Cape Breton Highlanders (Canada on top)
Regiment de Québec
Pictou Regt 2 piece sporran badge
Defence Research
Victoria Rifles of Canada
Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps
Canadian Guards Bandsman
Chaplain’s Badge
Tri-service badge 57mm pattern
UCC qc
Irish Regiment qc sporran
Regina Rifles qc 10 battle honours error
9 Bn CEF
BC Horse shoulder titles
31 B C Horse collars
31 B C Horse cap

Given just these lists, as a collector you begin to appreciate not just the need for, but absolute necessity of acquiring a reference library. Because you are dealing with detailed features in every case, the requirement for clear photographs of genuine examples is inherent in the criteria for that library. Conversely photographs of the details of identified fraudulent badges can also be helpful in your forensic analysis, and believe me it has truly become an application of forensic science.  Recommendations on some of the acknowledged excellent references are discussed in this blog under 'British Militaria'.