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  #1  
Old 22-05-12, 01:34 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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Default 51st Highland Division battalion/division insignia schedule

Gents;
I am trying to confirm the insignia worn by each of the 9 rifle battalions in the period 1944-45.

152 Infantry Brigade
2nd Seaforth Highlanders
5th Seaforth Highlanders
5th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders - Bouchery Vol II p. 85 shows a photo of a flash of Cameron of Erracht tartan, worn over Division flash and one Arm of Service flash.

153 Infantry Brigade
5th Black Watch - see A
1st Gordon Highlanders - ?
5th/7th Gordon Highlanders - Bouchery Vol II p. 54 shows the same insignia as worn by the Gordons in 15 Scottish Division, i.e. a strip of Gordon tartan worn along the shoulder seam, over the formation patach, with two arm of service flashes denoting the middle brigade

154 Infantry Brigade
1st Black Watch - see A
7th Black Watch - see A
7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - Bouchery Vol II p. 85 shows the same insignia as worn by the Argylls of 15 Scottish Division - a red and white diced flash over the formation patch, over three arm of service flashes denoting the junior brigade

A. I have seen photos online and in Bouchery of the Black Watch battalions wearing a Government tartan flash in the shape of the regimental cap badge, with either 2 or 3 scarlet arm of service flashes depending on brigade. Was there any other "battalion" insignia to distinguish between them, particularly between 1st and 7th battalions?

B. Did the Seaforths wear the same insignia as that in 15th Scottish Division (i.e. Mackenzie Tartan flash)? Were there battalion distinctions between 2nd and 5th Seaforths? For some reason my notes show the 5th wearing a Government Tartan flash below the formation flash, and 2nd wearing Mackenzie above it, but I don't have a source for this info listed.

C. Likewise, did both battalions of the Gordons wear the same flash? Bouchery has an indistinct shot appearing to show troops of the Gordons in 51st wearing an embroidered/worsted/printed flash with lettering, but it's hard to make out.

Any help anyone can provide would be gratefully accepted.

TIA
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Old 22-05-12, 01:50 PM
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Default 51st Highland Div

I'm afraid I cannot provide specific information, but I do know that the regimental Tartan Flashes were worn in lieu of the regimental titles worn by other regiments. It therefore follows that all the battalions of a regiment would wear the same Tartan Flash. The only variations would be for the infantry Arm-of-Service flashes and Formation Signs.

Stephen.
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Old 22-05-12, 03:19 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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It therefore follows that all the battalions of a regiment would wear the same Tartan Flash. The only variations would be for the infantry Arm-of-Service flashes and Formation Signs.

Stephen.
Thanks for the reply. When you have two battalions of the same regiment in the same brigade, as happens more than once here, it seems to defeat the purpose. I don't disagree that it was done - the Black Watch appear to have worn the 'cap badge' shaped tartan swatch universally in their numerous battalions - just curious if there were other identifiers, as there are numerous examples of same elsewhere.

Other regiments in other divisions added 'battalion' insiginia - for example, the Dorsets of 43rd (Wessex) Division added a blue bar below the arm of service flashes to further distinguish battalions of the regiment.

I believe a battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles distinguished companies (within the battalion) by coloured slip ons on the battle dress shoulder straps while different battalions of The Parachute Regiment used the same system in 6th Airborne Division to distinguish their numerous battalions.

Nothing to say the units in 51st Div followed suit, and I'm loathe to make conclusions based on one or two photos, so thought I would ask.
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Old 22-05-12, 04:57 PM
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Default 51 Highland Div

Michael,

Sorry, I can't help you much further. I can see the dilema but don't know for sure how the regiments got over it. Many battalions adopted unofficial titles, escpecially prior to their official introduction in 1942.

If somebody else on the forum can't help you, perhaps Jon Mills forthcoming book will.

Rgards, Stephen.
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Old 22-05-12, 05:28 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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Originally Posted by badjez View Post
Michael,

Sorry, I can't help you much further. I can see the dilema but don't know for sure how the regiments got over it. Many battalions adopted unofficial titles, escpecially prior to their official introduction in 1942.

If somebody else on the forum can't help you, perhaps Jon Mills forthcoming book will.

Rgards, Stephen.
Just so there is no confusion, I will reiterate that my interest is the period June 1944 to May 1945.

Who is Jon Mills and what kind of book is he writing? Where can I find out more information?
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Old 22-05-12, 06:15 PM
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Default 51 Highland Div

Michael,

Jon is a forum member (postwarden, cdwarden or similar), and editor of The Formation Sign, the Military Heraldry Society publication. Recently he has been working on a joint project to produce what may well be the definative work on British titles and FS.

Stephen.
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Old 23-05-12, 12:03 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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I located my source for the Seaforth Highlanders wearing government tartan - Brian Davis mentions this on p. 109 of his book, as well as showing a photograph. So one battalion of the Seaforths in 51st Div wore Goverment Tartan while the other wore Mackenzie.

There is an interesting photo on the same page (108) of the photo of a pipe major of 5th Seaforths. It shows an officer of the Gordons wearing the 51st Highland Division flash, and regimental tartan flash (not to mention a helmet decal depicting the cap badge), and what appears to be a two-colour arm of service stripe.
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Old 04-06-12, 08:38 AM
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Default 51 HD

Michael,

By chance whilst rummaging through old copies of Military Illustrated past & Present I came upon issue No42, published November 1991. It has an illustrated article about Scottish combination flashes 1943-45. Have you seen it? PM me with your email address if you would like a scanned copy.

Regards, Stephen.
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Old 04-06-12, 09:16 AM
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152 Inf Bde:
2 Seaforths wore an oblong of MacKenzie tartan, 3 in wide and 1.75in deep.
5 Seaforths wore a rectangle of 42nd tartan 2.5 in wide and 2.75 in deep

See Brian Davis (British Army Uniforms & Insignia of WW2) p 108.

Last edited by Mike Jackson; 04-06-12 at 09:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-06-12, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Dorosh View Post
C. Likewise, did both battalions of the Gordons wear the same flash? Bouchery has an indistinct shot appearing to show troops of the Gordons in 51st wearing an embroidered/worsted/printed flash with lettering, but it's hard to make out.

Any help anyone can provide would be gratefully accepted.

TIA
Again Brian Davis p. 109; Gordon Highlanders wore a narrow curved strip of Gordon tartan 7in in length (with a central horizontal yellow line) sewn directly below and in line with the shoulder seam. Just like a shoulder title, except longer.
Never seen anything like embroidered/worsted/printed flash with lettering.

Rgds,

Thomas.
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Old 14-06-12, 10:52 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badjez View Post
Michael,

By chance whilst rummaging through old copies of Military Illustrated past & Present I came upon issue No42, published November 1991. It has an illustrated article about Scottish combination flashes 1943-45. Have you seen it? PM me with your email address if you would like a scanned copy.

Regards, Stephen.
Just returning to this topic now - PM sent, thanks very much. By coincidence I was looking through my back issues of MI today to respond to someone on another message board. I have a copy of MI from 1989 but do not have the issue in question. I've sent my email address.

I do have Brian Davis and have the information on flashes mentioned in the last couple of posts but was hoping to find some confirmation that individual battalions indeed wore those flashes. As good as Davis' book is, I'm loathe to trust it 100% without cross-referencing it to other sources. Thanks for the replies however.

Moreover, he doesn't mention the brigade strips or confirm/deny other possible battalion marks, which is what I'm really after.
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Old 17-06-12, 09:37 PM
Michael Dorosh Michael Dorosh is offline
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Many thanks for the scan of the article, badjez - the vertical scarlet bar sewn over top of the tartan patches in some of the examples is EXACTLY the kind of thing I suspected might be present, and exactly what Davis doesn't talk about in his book.

Very, very helpful - thanks so much for sending it.
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Old 18-06-12, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fougasse1940 View Post
Again Brian Davis p. 109; Gordon Highlanders wore a narrow curved strip of Gordon tartan 7in in length (with a central horizontal yellow line) sewn directly below and in line with the shoulder seam. Just like a shoulder title, except longer.
Never seen anything like embroidered/worsted/printed flash with lettering.

Rgds,

Thomas.
The only lettered shoulder title I have seen is probably post-War and has defied identification for decades - its EonF and reads 1st GORDONS. Some say ACF while others believe it be one of those Malayan Emergency period bazaar-made titles to be worn on demob leave by National Servicemen (and others). The narrow strip of tartan was still being worn on BD in the early 1960s.
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