Sunday, June 14, 2015

A "Gallimaufry" of Militaria

As most bloggers quickly realize, it is a real challenge to keep coming up with new subject matter which will be of continuing interest to the viewer. In addition even with reasonably good equipment, I’m not the best of photographers. Specific apologies for shadow and glare on a couple of frames due to overhead lighting configuration and obstructions out in front, including a group of four descending miniature British paratroopers.

With that being said, thought I would present what some fellow Scots refer to as a “Gallimaufry”, which translated means a hash of odds and ends. Hopefully viewers will spot something of personal interest, somewhat analogous to going into an antique militaria shop or sections of a museum. The subject matter ranges from British and Commonwealth badges (predominately Scottish and Special Forces), to a grouping of the special forces insignia of the former Soviet Union. The Soviet grouping was collected in the brief window of 1989-1991, and to the best of the author's knowledge is righteous, i.e. all pieces genuine.

It should be stated from the outset, that while there are a significant number of rather scarce genuine pieces, however the seasoned collector will immediately spot some likely “fillers”, i.e., reproductions, due to the well established rarity of the real insignia.  This is principally due to the fact that in the condition they are in, the real article can only be found in regimental museums or advanced private collections, and would be at prohibitive prices if made available to the average collector. However, a significant number of these insignia were acquired in Great Britain on midshipman cruises as early as the summer of 1955.

Viewers are invited to check back, as I will be expanding the number of photographs as well as descriptions for persons who may not be that familiar with certain types of insignia. In addition if you have a question about a specific item, please don't hesitate to mention it in the comments, and I will try to respond in the same comments section.

An assortment of regimental titles and formation badges
of the British Army and rating badges of the Royal Navy

Various WWII British Armed Forces shoulder titles, formation
 badges, and skill-at-arms insignia

Same frame from a different angle

Another assortment of WWII British Airborne Forces and
 Combined Operations insignia, as well as Army Formation
and Skill-at-Arms badges

Same frame from a different angle

A significant assortment of WWII British Special Forces
insignia including Airborne Forces, Royal Marine
 Commando, Special Air Service, and Canadian Parachute

A look at some WWII vintage RAF brevets, British Army
 Skill-at-Arms badges, Shoulder titles and Formation insignia

Same frame from a different angle

An assortment of British Special Forces insignia including
Royal Marine Swimmer-Canoeist qualifications (Special Boat
Service), Fleet Air Arm Pilot's wings, Special Air Service
Regiment, Chindits, Parachute Regiment brevets and
 Drop Zone badges, and Canadian Airborne insignia

A grouping of insignia from the Gordon
Highlanders and affiliated regiments from
the London Scottish, to Canada and
 South Africa

A close-up presenting a chronology of the
 cap badges of the Gordon Highlanders
throughout the "Life of a Regiment"

Predominately cap badges of Scottish Regiments of the
Canadian Army, also included are the Canadian and
 Australian Army Intelligence Corps, Lord Stratcona's
 Horse and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Basically the cap badges of the Scottish Regiments of the
British Army

A drum-major's baldric of the 1st Bn of
the Parachute Regiment 

A detailed close-up of the baldric showing
the battle honors "Bruneval",
"Normandy Landing"  and "Arnhem

The blazon of a regimental side drum
of the 1st Bn 92nd Gordon Highlanders

Details of the uniform of a Lieut-Colonel
of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders circa 1936

Further details of the same uniform

Principally the special qualification badges of Royal Marine
Mountain Leader, Swimmer-Canoeist, and other specialized
qualification distinctions, as well as Royal Navy Rating badges

A variety of special forces insignia of the former Soviet Union
including Airborne Forces (VDV), Naval Infantry and Spetsnaz

A grouping of Parachute Regiment, Glider Pilot Regiment,
Special Forces, and Royal Marines, as well as Canadian
Airborne Forces

A variety of British and Canadian Airborne and Special
Forces, also note the crossed lances of the Musical Ride
of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Another grouping of British special forces insignia including
the Parachute Regiment, Royal Marines, Special Air Service,
Canadian Airborne and the Royal Navy Submarine Parachute
Assistance Group

Airborne and Special Forces of Canada, as well as RCMP
 Emergency Response Team and British Gulf War insignia 


Anonymous said...

Hello, I am interested in a battle dress I have bought, it has royal signals insignia and a formation badge under it.The badge depicted is on your picture, another assortment of well British airborne forces and combined operations insignia, aswelk as British Army formation and skill at arms badges. The badge is green background, yellow outline with red cross and yellow crown. Please identify the badge for me, many thanks Nigel.

Arnhemjim said...

Hello Nigel,
It is the formation badge of the 48th Infantry Division, 2nd pattern. Hope that helps.
Best regards,

Unknown said...

Hi Jim. I have some badges I wish
To identify. One of them is the top right on your
Collection - this is the dragon on red with a blue stripe

Unknown said...

I have more if you can let
Me know an email address I am on Russel . Asquith @ gmail .com

Arnhemjim said...

Hello Russel,
The formation badge you are referring to is WWII Headquarters, British Forces, Hong Kong. My recommendation, if you are planning on continuing your collection, is to acquire a book(s) like "BRITISH ARMY CLOTH INSIGNIA 1940 to the present, An Illustrated Reference Guide for Collectors" by the late Brian L. Davis, Arms and Armour Press, 1985, ISBN 0-85368-709-9. Hope this is of assistance.
Best regards,

Anonymous said...

Hello, please could you help my 16year old son identify some badges he has acquired for his WW2 collection. They are both Parachute Regiment badges, one is khaki green background with light blue wings and white parachute, the other is a grass-green coloured background with black wings and black parachute. He has another badge which he believes to be Polish, it is a black standing lion outlined in gold, on a red and white background. Above the lions head is a crown, and to the left of the crown as you look at it is '8e'. To the right is a capital D. We would be very grateful for any help you can give identifying them, and also any advice you can give him as to what reference books would be useful in identifying badges, insignia, and other WW2 memorabilia. Many thanks, Jane.

Arnhemjim said...

Hello Jane and Son,
Will be more than happy to try and assist you in the identification of the insignia you have. I’m always very heartened to see an interest in military history by young men and women. Hope that you realize that I (or any collector) am at a “slight disadvantage” without being able to see actual photographs of the items, and I fully understand, as my blog doesn’t have the ability to receive them.

Given those limitations, your descriptions are very good. The first insignia sounds very much like the standard brevet which is awarded and proudly worn by every officer and soldier of the Parachute Regiment who successfully passes out of the training course, and completes the requisite number of jumps. It is worn on right shoulder of No.2 Service Dress, the current Jump Smock, Parachutist (other than in an active service environment), and the “Wooly Pulley”(Wool Jersey). My only problem is that the insignia has been essentially the same since its inception in 1940, so without seeing yours it is difficult to date. You may have already discovered the article, but it shows the correct location on No.2 Service Dress; . The second brevet is the subdued tactical version, which was originally introduced during the “troubles” in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s. Again, without seeing the specific insignia, difficult to date. The third insignia unfortunately is totally beyond my limited knowledge, but from your description would not discount the possibility of it being Belgian.

With regard to reference sources, would like to provide two different approaches. First there are several active and excellent forums which you may consider joining, and the membership of these forums would welcome new blood and young minds. In particular I would highly recommend The British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum ( The membership includes a world-wide group of experts with a broad range of knowledge, which they are more than ready to share.

You are also absolutely correct in realizing the importance of a good reference library, and I have mentioned several very good ones in the following article; . Additionally you may want to explore some of the past articles in this blog. See the following as to what might be of personal interest; .

Hope this reply proves to be of some assistance.
Best wishes,
Arnhem Jim

Anonymous said...

Hello, thank you for replying. Jack is so keen and intent on broadening his collection. He wants to study military history, specialising in WW2, so perhaps the forum you mentioned would be a good source of information. Are you in France,(only asking because of the .fr), as Jack has acquired his collection from brocantes and depot ventes in Normandy. Thanks again. Jane

Arnhemjim said...

Am very glad to be of assistance. Reside in the state of Arizona in the United States of America. As may be observed by some of the blog articles, served a number of years in the US Navy, parallel to my career in private industry. Being of Scottish ancestry has motivated personal interest in the Scottish Regiments of the British Army, as well as the British Airborne Forces in WWII. A word of warning collecting British Special Forces insignia which is conveyed throughout my blog, Be extremely cautious in the acquisition of any vintage pieces other than through established and reputable sources. Again best regards.

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