Badges on Battle Dress. Jon Mills

Badges On Battle Dress
An Illustrated History of the Cloth Insignia Worn on Khaki and Jungle Green
by Britain’s Armed Forces 1939-1967
Jon Mills

Extensively researched from official records Badges on Battle Dress is the first comprehensive history of the vast range of cloth badges that decorated the rough serge suit worn as the British Army’s main uniform for more than twenty years. It explains the origins of these badges from their adoption for khaki service dress in 1902 and their development and wider introduction in the First World War. Kept alive between the wars by the Territorial Army, they were widely worn after the introduction of battle dress in 1939, their use subsequently extended to the khaki drill and jungle green uniforms worn overseas.

In wartime these cloth badges were gradually adopted by the soldiers of the Empire and Commonwealth, the troops of the Allied Nations who fought alongside them and the many civilians in battle dress who accompanied the armed forces overseas – from War Correspondents to ENSA artistes, Scripture Readers to NAAFI. The demands of modern war and new arms of the services brought new insignia for the Airborne Forces, Commandos, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force. Retained in the post-war Army, its ranks much enlarged by National Servicemen, battle dress and the numerous badges worn on it survived until the arrival of combat suits and No 2 Dress in the 1960s. 

In forty chapters and two volumes Badges on Battle Dress covers the insignia worn in the main wartime and post-war campaigns – the BEF in 1940, the Desert Campaign, Europe after D-Day, the Far East, Palestine, Korea and Malaya – and the many servicemen stationed with the British Army of the Rhine. It details and illustrates rank badges, trade and proficiency badges and includes the first ever listing of wartime cloth regimental flashes based on information drawn from unpublished wartime records.

Compiled with the assistance of collectors worldwide the 1,200 pages of Badges on Battle Dress – a limited edition of 600 copies – are illustrated with over 5,000 original badges and more than 500 contemporary photographs of them being worn and provide an essential guide to a subject not previously explored in depth. Described in a Foreword by General The Lord Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009 as ‘a masterpiece’, comments from satisfied buyers include;

“A truly first class achievement”
“A remarkable piece of work that will fly off the shelves” “Probably the best study of the subject ever”
“Will become the bible for cloth collectors” “Very informative and extremely detailed”
“Quite magnificent, beautifully produced …the seminal work on BD badges”
“Ground breaking – The amount of information in each page…is remarkable.”
“Hugely impressed…erudite and wonderfully illustrated”
“Likely to remain the definitive work on the subject for decades to come”

Badges on Battle Dress (Wardens Publishing ISBN 978 09955959 0 3)
is available from the Author
Price £150 (plus £14 for UK delivery by Hermes)
For delivery prices outside the United Kingdom, further information or to place an order email Jon at

Badges On Battle Dress
 An Illustrated History of the Cloth Insignia Worn on Khaki and Jungle Green 
 by Britain’s Armed Forces 1939-1967
 Jon Mills
Volume 1
Badges on Battle Dress Volume 2
Volume 2
Divisional signs, arm of service strips and Regimental flashes worn by divisions serving in Britain 1940 to 1945
Cloth badges shoulder tiles and divisional signs being worn by the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and Seaforth Highlanders World War II
World War II special forces insignia
World War II British cavalry Regiment slip on Shoulder titles

The author can also be contacted via the forum here: postwarden. (look for the ‘contact info’ tab) – You will need to be signed in to the forum to use this method.

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