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  #1  
Old 24-08-17, 10:40 AM
MST MST is offline
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Default polar bear

I was given this bear by a retired RAF officer years ago. He served in Iceland during WW2 and said that these were worn unofficially by RAF personnel serving there. I have some idea that US personnel also wore a polar bear patch. Any comments?
Cheers
Mike
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File Type: jpg RAF bear reverse.jpg (111.8 KB, 8 views)
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Old 24-08-17, 11:51 AM
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Hello Mike, the patch was for the 49th (West Riding) Division who garrisoned Iceland for a period of time. The patch with the polar bear looking down was the first version. A Canadian contignent for the garrison also wore the sign. (There is some controversy about this. Some information suggests the patch was a souvenir made up and issued to the Canadians when they left Iceland.) US troops replaced the British garrison in 1941. The US garrison also adopted a polar bear patch, but it was significantly different in construction compared to the British types.
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Old 25-08-17, 12:41 AM
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Here is a pic of my grandfather while serving with the Royal regiment in Iceland. You can clearly see the polar bear proving they were worn. Have looked for one of these patches for a while now. Cheers Brian
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Old 25-08-17, 01:09 AM
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Thanks, very interesting. But was my informant correct to say it was worn unofficially by the RAF?
Mike
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Old 25-08-17, 11:56 AM
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Hello Mike, in my understanding there would be no authorization to wear the patch, as you have indicated. It would be highly unusual for RAF personnel to wear such.
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Old 25-08-17, 02:28 PM
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The RAF did not like formation badges so if it was worn in Iceland by RAF officers serving alongside Iceland Force - which although largely made up from elements of 49th Division was not called 49th Division- it would have been done unofficially.

My research had only thrown up one example of an RAF officer wearing a formation sign which was that of 9th Armoured Division which his squadron, as part of the RAF's Army Co-Operation Command was serving alongside.

I would be interested in hearing of any other examples of Army formation signs being worn on RAF uniform.

Jon
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Old 25-08-17, 05:13 PM
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Not a formation sign but I suppose similar; some RAF Arnhem resupply crews wore the Parachute Regiment cap badge above their breast pocket in late 1944. Supposedly as a token of appreciation for their efforts.

Rgds, Thomas.
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