Collecting British WW2 airborne militaria


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On this page you will find the formation sign and arm of service strip. On the next pages you will find the badges of rank, qualification badges, special dress destinctions, sweetheart badges and cap badges and shoulder titles.


Insignia were made by various manufacturers; this resulted in slight differences in design. I do not want to suggest that badges different from those as shown on this page are not original.
I have not included wartime manufacturers; insignia are unmarked except for a small number of cap badges.


1st Airlanding Brigade formation sign

Click for larger image. The 31st Independent Brigade's formation sign was painted, roughly the same height as the Pegasus patch. In October 1941 the Brigade was converted to the 1st airlanding Brigade and a slightly smaller, printed badge was worn. Later in 1942 it was substituted by the Pegasus patch and airborne strip.




Pegasus patch, printed

Click for larger image. The Pegasus formation sign was the divisional formation sign. It was designed by an artist named Edward Seago; it shows Bellerophon riding the mythical winged horse Pegasus in their fight against the dragon Chimaera.
It was approved for use by members of the 1st Airborne Division in May 1942. The 6th Airborne Division adopted the sign on 14 May 1943.
Two pairs were issued to each soldier; one for his Battle Dress and one pair for his best "walking out" dress. It was also worn on Service Dress.
The Pegasus sign was either embroidered on wool or printed on cotton.
As a token of appreciation for their support during opereration Market Garden Maj.Gen.R.Urquhart granted the wear of the Pegasus sign on the right lower sleeve to members of the 64th Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Pegasus patch, Indian issue

Click for larger image. Printed pegasus patch worn by the Indian Airborne Division.





Pegasus patch, embroidered

Click for larger image. Embroidered Pegasus patches come in many slightly different designs, this one here is the most commonly seen design.





Airborne strip, printed

Click for larger image. The arms of service strip for airborne troops who were not parachutists was the airborne strip. However it was used by Canadian paras and paras from the 6th airborne division (until late 1944) and also by paras from mixed glider trained and para trained support units such as 250 Light Coy RASC.
It was authorised by Army Council Instruction 2816 on 31 October 1942. Wartime pictures show it was issued at least three months earlier. It had to be placed 1/2 inch below the Pegasus formation sign on the Battle Dress blouse.

Airborne strip, embroidered

Click for larger image. Again many different designs exist, both in sans serif and serif font type. A very uncommon yellow on blue title was used by RASC Air Despatch Companies.



RASC, Air Despatch Companies

Click for larger image. Shoulder patch worn by RASC Air Despatch Companies, issued from late 1944. Also an embroidered version exists. These come in pairs, only the one worn on the left shoulder shows a Dakota with a door opening. I believe the printed squared tail examples are of WWII manufacture, and the rounded tail examples are of post-war manufacture. The rounded tail examples are made of a more stiff kind of fabric typically of post-war manufacture.




RASC, Air Despatch Companies

Click for larger image. Arms of service strip worn by the RASC Air Despatch Companies. Also a printed version exists.