War patches/badges

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Summerck
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Today my nan showed me my family’s patches and i was interested in what exactly my family did in the war so i googled some of the ones i didnt know about and i couldn’t find information anywhere, like i know the desert rat one but when i googled it, it showed different colours and stuff, can any history people help?Name:  CEFCF7DA-9BC6-4106-AEC5-4541492149CD.jpg.jpeg
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CoolCavy
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Wow that's amazing :love:
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Drewski
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(Original post by Summerck)
Today my nan showed me my family’s patches and i was interested in what exactly my family did in the war so i googled some of the ones i didnt know about and i couldn’t find information anywhere, like i know the desert rat one but when i googled it, it showed different colours and stuff, can any history people help?Name:  CEFCF7DA-9BC6-4106-AEC5-4541492149CD.jpg.jpeg
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There's a site called arrse, it's an Army forum. They'll be able to help. You'll get answers in seconds.
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Summerck
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thank you guys!
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Summerck)
Today my nan showed me my family’s patches and i was interested in what exactly my family did in the war so i googled some of the ones i didnt know about and i couldn’t find information anywhere, like i know the desert rat one but when i googled it, it showed different colours and stuff, can any history people help?Name:  CEFCF7DA-9BC6-4106-AEC5-4541492149CD.jpg.jpeg
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Hello Summerck,
Quite a varied collection there !
You have identified the Desert Rat one correctly. The Black Rat denotes being part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, itself part of the 7th Armoured Division ( " Wavell`s 30,000" or Army Of The Nile as it was known ?) the ones on the left denote part of the 8th Army, again different colours mean different groups/ units.

The one on the mid-right of your photo with the red zig-zag against a blue back ground is of the 1st Canadian Army Group Royal Artillery.
The others I`m not so sure about off hand, but shortly will meet a friend who is really into this and he should know or at least can point me in the right direction.

If your Nan wishes to, you can obtain detailed army records of your family including where the units were and engagements from the Army Record Centre in Glasgow, tel 0345-600-9663 or check out yourself online. I got my Father`s shortly after my Mother passed on some years ago, as it has to be the surviving next of kin only that can apply and my Mother like many of her generation " just wanted to put the blasted war behined me " , and my Father, like so many of his ilk, to use the cliche, didn`t talk about it very much, except at the end of his life when he did open up a bit.

Incidentally he pretty well echoed Harry Patch`s words ( see other post `Have we ignored WW1 veterans?`) about it all. A waste of life and property- but a job which had to done . My Father was also RA ( Light Anti Aircraft) then front line infantry on the Gothic line in Italy, and a couple or so months before the war finished transferred as he was a master carpenter/joiner to the Royal Engineers until he was de-mobbed in 1946/7. I believe the 4th AB also served in Italy including the Appenine Mountains Gothic Line offensive in 1944 - some of the RA in particular the LAA units were stood down and hastily re-trained as front line infantry, as the threat from the Luftwaffe ( German Air Force) had then diminished and other units/regiments including some of the best equipment which was desperately needed for the Italian terrain was taken to Normandy for Operation Overlord.

By the way, how many are aware that the casualty rate amongst front line troops was as high if not higher in the break out from Normandy than in the Somme in WW1?

And that Italy had some of the worst atrocities of the war in the west, when the retreating Germans operated a scorched earth policy ahead of The Allies, partly out of vindictiveness towards the Italians for changing sides in 1943, and partly beause of Partisan activity- any villages or towns even slightly suspected of this could expect no mercy : the 16th Waffen SS Division, with a reputation for bloodletting even among their own, massacred no less than 2500-3000 civilians including old folk and children in three months during the 1944 retreat from The Allies. Anybody interested in further reading as I`ve mention in other posts are "Ten Armies In Hell" by Dr. Peter Caddick Adams, and "Italy`s Sorrow" by James Holland, who some of you may know from the Channel 25 history series.

Did you get any feed back from Drewski`s suggestion to try the Army Rumour Service?

Hope this helps, will get back to you if I get any more info.
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Summerck
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Thank you so much for your help, I will have a look after i’ve finished work to see if there’s any responses and let you know.
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UnclePete
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Glad it`s hopefully of use. Talking of the RA, another snippet of info: I believe the regimental band had the old established orchestra in the UK ( a requirement is that the musicians -they don`t have bandsmen/bandspeople in the major staff bands or Household Division by the way ) must be equally competent on a string instrument as well as brass or woodwind , same as the Royal Marines bands. At one time - however, I believe under the CAMS- Corps of Army Music- recent re-organisation this may have changed- is the RA bands ( I think there were three or so at one time: The London Woolwich Band, Mounted Band based at Larkhill Wiltshire ? and the Allenbrooke Band based in Germany ) were regarded equal in standard to the Household Division bands and were on the same footing at undertaking musical support in major events of state. I remember the RA band on the march as having a very strong.steady, and rich tone. This was in Dortmund in Germany when visiting friends and the former RA Allenbrooke Band based nearby were participating in a local carnival and were at that time some 60 odd strong.

As Drewski said in an earlier post the Arrse ( Army Rumour Service) site is very reactive to your sort of query.
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Summerck)
Thank you so much for your help, I will have a look after i’ve finished work to see if there’s any responses and let you know.
Hello Summerck-
Unfortunately owing to a cold/cough I did`nt get to London as originally planned to meet up with my friend, but phoned/e-mailed him with your post and he replied straight away:

Going clockwise from left to right:
The three with the blue cross/white background are shoulder flashes of the 2nd Army which in WW 2 took part in the Normandy invasion ( D-Day) then across France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.

The top one we are not so sure about- most likely Royal Artillery, possibly from one of the horse reins used in ceremonial duties- will try to find out more on that one.

The three with S of A marked on them are from the School of Artillery, post WW2 - British Army of the Rhine ( BAOR) which was based in Rheindahlen (in, if I remember right, an old SS barracks I believe !) Monchengladbach, Germany, close to the Dutch border. The BAOR existed from 1919 -1929 and again from 1945 -1994 which is what these relate to. The 1919-29 one is slightly different. Incidentally, the S of A ones you have are currently going for £38 each on E-Bay- not that you would wish to part with a family heirloom.

The remainder we covered in my previous post.

Hope this is of help, let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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Summerck
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(Original post by UnclePete)
Hello Summerck-
Unfortunately owing to a cold/cough I did`nt get to London as originally planned to meet up with my friend, but phoned/e-mailed him with your post and he replied straight away:

Going clockwise from left to right:
The three with the blue cross/white background are shoulder flashes of the 2nd Army which in WW 2 took part in the Normandy invasion ( D-Day) then across France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.

The top one we are not so sure about- most likely Royal Artillery, possibly from one of the horse reins used in ceremonial duties- will try to find out more on that one.

The three with S of A marked on them are from the School of Artillery, post WW2 - British Army of the Rhine ( BAOR) which was based in Rheindahlen (in, if I remember right, an old SS barracks I believe !) Monchengladbach, Germany, close to the Dutch border. The BAOR existed from 1919 -1929 and again from 1945 -1994 which is what these relate to. The 1919-29 one is slightly different. Incidentally, the S of A ones you have are currently going for £38 each on E-Bay- not that you would wish to part with a family heirloom.

The remainder we covered in my previous post.

Hope this is of help, let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Thank you so much for your help!!
I'm really sorry that I haven't replied sooner but I forgot the password to my account and had to make another to use for a while then I forgot completely about the post but remembered and tried again to get on the account (successfully, thank god) so sorry but thank you so much.
It is really interesting to read about what my family could have done in the war since the generation that fought have unfortunately passed away and I wasn't old enough to remember the stories they told.
Thank you once again,
Summer
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Summerck)
Thank you so much for your help!!
I'm really sorry that I haven't replied sooner but I forgot the password to my account and had to make another to use for a while then I forgot completely about the post but remembered and tried again to get on the account (successfully, thank god) so sorry but thank you so much.
It is really interesting to read about what my family could have done in the war since the generation that fought have unfortunately passed away and I wasn't old enough to remember the stories they told.
Thank you once again,
Summer
Hello Summerck,
Glad to help.
Before long the WW2 generation that gave so much and asked (and received) so little in return will have passed on. So we need to collate their memoirs before it`s too late- what people forget is that in their active years in the 40`s, 50`s & 60`s and even the 70`s the war was omnipresent and still very recent in memory and most just wanted to put it behined them: my own Father included - part of him tried to blot it out of his mind, the other half just couldn`t. I have been doing a lot of research into my own Father`s units movements through N. Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and Greece and I`m not surprised they did`nt elaborate on it, especially when his unit was hastily retrained and used as a front line infantry unit from late spring 1944 until he was moved over to The Royal Engineers just before the end of hostilities.

Incidentally, he never showed any bad feelings to German friends of mine which I had when younger- in fact the exact opposite: his view was the more young people around the world mixed together, the better it was. And let`s not forget it was only a mere twenty odd years after their own Fathers had been in WW1- the war that was going to end them all.............
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Summerck
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(Original post by UnclePete)
Hello Summerck,
Glad to help.
Before long the WW2 generation that gave so much and asked (and received) so little in return will have passed on. So we need to collate their memoirs before it`s too late- what people forget is that in their active years in the 40`s, 50`s & 60`s and even the 70`s the war was omnipresent and still very recent in memory and most just wanted to put it behined them: my own Father included - part of him tried to blot it out of his mind, the other half just couldn`t. I have been doing a lot of research into my own Father`s units movements through N. Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and Greece and I`m not surprised they did`nt elaborate on it, especially when his unit was hastily retrained and used as a front line infantry unit from late spring 1944 until he was moved over to The Royal Engineers just before the end of hostilities.

Incidentally, he never showed any bad feelings to German friends of mine which I had when younger- in fact the exact opposite: his view was the more young people around the world mixed together, the better it was. And let`s not forget it was only a mere twenty odd years after their own Fathers had been in WW1- the war that was going to end them all.............
I agree that they would have rather have forgotten it, but it’s extremely important to remember what happened during the war and the bloodiness of it, too many leaders of today are making the same mistakes that led to the war and I feel like if we tell the stories of our families it reminds us of the hardships that they faced and that we can’t have another world war.
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Sammylou40
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(Original post by UnclePete)
Hello Summerck,
Glad to help.
Before long the WW2 generation that gave so much and asked (and received) so little in return will have passed on. So we need to collate their memoirs before it`s too late- what people forget is that in their active years in the 40`s, 50`s & 60`s and even the 70`s the war was omnipresent and still very recent in memory and most just wanted to put it behined them: my own Father included - part of him tried to blot it out of his mind, the other half just couldn`t. I have been doing a lot of research into my own Father`s units movements through N. Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy and Greece and I`m not surprised they did`nt elaborate on it, especially when his unit was hastily retrained and used as a front line infantry unit from late spring 1944 until he was moved over to The Royal Engineers just before the end of hostilities.

Incidentally, he never showed any bad feelings to German friends of mine which I had when younger- in fact the exact opposite: his view was the more young people around the world mixed together, the better it was. And let`s not forget it was only a mere twenty odd years after their own Fathers had been in WW1- the war that was going to end them all.............
There were more veterans than you think who did not bear the “ordinary “ German ill will.
I am in possession of a heartbreaking letter which is impossible for me to trace.
Ill give you a quick breakdown.
My grandad died of shrapnel injuries, three weeks before the end, and is buried in Italy. I’ve visited his grave and it’s beautiful.
Shortly after his death my grandma received a letter. From someone named only Hans in Dresden. He tells how he’s returned home to complete devastation, as we know, and that his wife and child are missing. There is very little food and no water. It’s a chatty letter surprisingly and is ended “ your dear friend Hans”.
He did not know grandad had died. Without more information it is an impossible task to track his family down
i have absolutely no idea how he and Fred became friends and I would love to know the story.
It just goes to show that humanity can triumph, even in the midst of war. I’m so proud of them
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Sammylou40)
There were more veterans than you think who did not bear the “ordinary “ German ill will.
I am in possession of a heartbreaking letter which is impossible for me to trace.
Ill give you a quick breakdown.
My grandad died of shrapnel injuries, three weeks before the end, and is buried in Italy. I’ve visited his grave and it’s beautiful.
Shortly after his death my grandma received a letter. From someone named only Hans in Dresden. He tells how he’s returned home to complete devastation, as we know, and that his wife and child are missing. There is very little food and no water. It’s a chatty letter surprisingly and is ended “ your dear friend Hans”.
He did not know grandad had died. Without more information it is an impossible task to track his family down
i have absolutely no idea how he and Fred became friends and I would love to know the story.
It just goes to show that humanity can triumph, even in the midst of war. I’m so proud of them
Hi Sammylou,

How sad and touching at the same time- this happened such a lot : my Father`s younger brother having survived The Arctic Convoys "The worst journey in the world " as Churchill called it at the time, did so only to be killed in an accident during a naval training exercise about three weeks after the war in Europe ended. I understand they were preparing for the Pacific as it looked like the war there could go on for another two or three years. Thankfully it didn`t, but only after terrible loss of life following rightly or wrongly the A-bombs being dropped. Incidentally, my Father`s sister was an army nursing sister in Burma, having jungle related illnesses for the rest of her life afterwards and held very strong views of the Japanese - understandably so, this is only something that will fade as the generations involved pass on and younger people come together. Let`s just be thankful we have never had to be in this situation ourselves; but still the killing goes on around the world - look at the Middle East i.e. Syria etc.

I remember my Father saying about the Germans: "the POW`s were very happy to be out of it - at least the ones I spoke to were. You had the die-hards ; but then so did we. In a very perverse way, probably because of shared dangers and conditions, they became almost like brothers -just about most of them like us, never wanted to be stuck cold, wet through and scared s-less in a slit trench, not knowing if that minute was your last, and seeing 20 year olds literally atomised to red mist before your eyes."

If interested there is The Italy Star Association which if you had a relative as you did is open for you to join. The Italian campaign is often overshadowed by the Western European one - and was not helped by the MP Lady Astor`s alleged stupid remarks at the time about them being D-day dodgers. It is often forgotten that the Allies in Italy had just about everything against going them: hills, valleys, fast flowing rivers, mountainous terrain, and some of the worst weather on record during 1943-44. In addition some of the best German troops were deployed, many of them hardened veterans of the savage, inhuman combat on the Russian front, and past masters at defensive work which Italy with its countryside was almost made for. And, if that was not enough,some of the best Allied kit was taken away for operations in Western Europe.
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Sammylou40
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(Original post by UnclePete)
Hi Sammylou,

How sad and touching at the same time- this happened such a lot : my Father`s younger brother having survived The Arctic Convoys "The worst journey in the world " as Churchill called it at the time, did so only to be killed in an accident during a naval training exercise about three weeks after the war in Europe ended. I understand they were preparing for the Pacific as it looked like the war there could go on for another two or three years. Thankfully it didn`t, but only after terrible loss of life following rightly or wrongly the A-bombs being dropped. Incidentally, my Father`s sister was an army nursing sister in Burma, having jungle related illnesses for the rest of her life afterwards and held very strong views of the Japanese - understandably so, this is only something that will fade as the generations involved pass on and younger people come together. Let`s just be thankful we have never had to be in this situation ourselves; but still the killing goes on around the world - look at the Middle East i.e. Syria etc.

I remember my Father saying about the Germans: "the POW`s were very happy to be out of it - at least the ones I spoke to were. You had the die-hards ; but then so did we. In a very perverse way, probably because of shared dangers and conditions, they became almost like brothers -just about most of them like us, never wanted to be stuck cold, wet through and scared s-less in a slit trench, not knowing if that minute was your last, and seeing 20 year olds literally atomised to red mist before your eyes."

If interested there is The Italy Star Association which if you had a relative as you did is open for you to join. The Italian campaign is often overshadowed by the Western European one - and was not helped by the MP Lady Astor`s alleged stupid remarks at the time about them being D-day dodgers. It is often forgotten that the Allies in Italy had just about everything against going them: hills, valleys, fast flowing rivers, mountainous terrain, and some of the worst weather on record during 1943-44. In addition some of the best German troops were deployed, many of them hardened veterans of the savage, inhuman combat on the Russian front, and past masters at defensive work which Italy with its countryside was almost made for. And, if that was not enough,some of the best Allied kit was taken away for operations in Western Europe.
Thank you for that. I’ll look into it. I know a fair bit about his campaign but it’d be good to join others
I understand why they didn’t want to talk but they had so much to teach us.
It doesn’t look like we’ve learned too much does it?
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UnclePete
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(Original post by Sammylou40)
Thank you for that. I’ll look into it. I know a fair bit about his campaign but it’d be good to join others
I understand why they didn’t want to talk but they had so much to teach us.
It doesn’t look like we’ve learned too much does it?
Hi Sammylou,

I certainly agree on that one.

It might be possible to trace the identity of the German concerned :as you know which reg/corps/ unit your Grandfather was in, you can, or at least it was thus when I did so some years ago to access the war diaries/unit movements either from the Army Records Office in Glasgow ( they gave me quite comprensive ones, including ones which were marked `Top Secret` at the time, when I applied for my late Father`s records), the National Archives at Kew, and the regimental/corps museums.

It is possible that some German POW`s could have been attached to your Grandfather`s unit - it was not unknown for them to be engaged the likes of in construction work such as with the RE`s etc. This may well be somewhere in the records. From tracing your Grandfather`s movements, there is plenty of info. around to establish which opposing German units were around at the time. Then the German War records office or especially the Italian Star Association maybe could help with POW lists etc.

The ISA is well worth joining, they deal with plenty of queries such as you have - Frank de Planta, I believe his Father was in Italy in WW2 and and is an ex Army Officer himself- is very much a subject expert on this and gives his extensive knowledge freely to members.

Hope this helps in some way, let me know if can be of further assistance.

It would be interesting to see if Han`s descendants could be traced : Dresden with its Baroque architecture was known as `Venice of The North` before the madness of Hitler and WW2.
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UnclePete
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(Original post by UnclePete)
Hi Sammylou,

I certainly agree on that one.

It might be possible to trace the identity of the German concerned :as you know which reg/corps/ unit your Grandfather was in, you can, or at least it was thus when I did so some years ago to access the war diaries/unit movements either from the Army Records Office in Glasgow ( they gave me quite comprensive ones, including ones which were marked `Top Secret` at the time, when I applied for my late Father`s records), the National Archives at Kew, and the regimental/corps museums.

It is possible that some German POW`s could have been attached to your Grandfather`s unit - it was not unknown for them to be engaged the likes of in construction work such as with the RE`s etc. This may well be somewhere in the records. From tracing your Grandfather`s movements, there is plenty of info. around to establish which opposing German units were around at the time. Then the German War records office or especially the Italian Star Association maybe could help with POW lists etc.

The ISA is well worth joining, they deal with plenty of queries such as you have - Frank de Planta, I believe his Father was in Italy in WW2 and and is an ex Army Officer himself- is very much a subject expert on this and gives his extensive knowledge freely to members.

Hope this helps in some way, let me know if can be of further assistance.

It would be interesting to see if Han`s descendants could be traced : Dresden with its Baroque architecture was known as `Venice of The North` before the madness of Hitler and WW2.
Following on
Some of you may be interested in the BBC1 programme to be shown on 11th November at 9pm entitled " My Grandad`s untold war" by Garry Lineker.
Last edited by UnclePete; 5 months ago
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