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Britbadge 08-03-08 07:08 PM

Ulster Rifles
Not in K&K or Gaylor, but sometimes seen on E-bay.....With the later in mind, it would not be a big suprise to find out that this "Airborne" beret badge for the Ulster Rifles is possibly a collar badge sold as a beret/cap badge?

Could someone please educate me on this one....I've been told only the white metal ones with lugs North and South are right....?


Alan O 08-03-08 07:22 PM

The badges on ebay are fakes. The originals were worn by the Offrs and WOs of the RUR airborne bn that took part in DDay. As such they were die cast silver and marked as such. Lugged certainly. They were not issued but private purchase items. There was no ORs version with a slider or otherwise and contempory photos show the ORs with the full sized badge in their berets.
Now if the Bn had 10 or so WOs and 30 odd Officers that is not a lot of badges. I would not be surprised if they were based on the Offrs collar.


John Mulcahy 08-03-08 08:31 PM

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Every one of these badges that you will see on e-bay are FAKE.

The genuine badges were worn by Officers and WO's of the 1st Battalion (Airborne) during WW2 . The correct fitting is two loops to reverse and the reversed is impressed 'STERLING SILVER". The badge is of course silver. You should expect to pay up to 500GBP for an original.

The 1st Battalion RUR formed part of 1st Airlanding Brigade 1941-1943; and from 1943-1945 were part 6th Airlanding Brigade under 6th Airborne Division. They were engaged at Arnhem.

This origin of this badge is actually the mount for the officer's cord boss.

On April 6th 1946 the Royal Ulster Rifles began to petition to change the Officer's cap badge from the cord boss (worn on the forage cap) to a silver plated version of the Other ranks badge. That petition was ultimately successful. WO32/12077 deals with this petition.

In this file is data relating to the airborne badge. J.R Gaunt were comissioned to provide samples of an officer's badge to replace the cord boss. A memo from J. R. Gaunt and Sons, dated 21 September 1948 states...

"As a matter of interest, we would point out that ordinarily they (i.e. The RUR) used these badges(i.e. the other ranks regular type cap badge) on the beret, but about 2 years ago, at the request of the regiment, another firm cut a die of similiar design to the boss mount, but much larger, and this was adopted for use on the beret. Consequently. we ourselves also found it necessary to cut a die, and we enclose one of these badges in case you would like to bring the matter to the attention of the regiment."

Thus Gaunt did not make the "Airborne" badge worn by officers and W/Os during the war (another unknown company did) but they did make a die following the example of "the other firm". I speculate that this die is the source of all the subsequent fakes?

Below is a fake airborne badge and on the right the officers cord boss (genuine) on which the design was based.


Malcolm Davey 08-03-08 09:55 PM

One went for £80 at Bosleys in Jan 2007 part of the Hugh King collection.


ard-ri 29-04-08 05:52 AM

This just say's that Gaunt cut a die to be brought to the attention of the Regiment. Do we have documentation to say whether or not Gaunt produced badges from this die?


John Mulcahy 29-04-08 02:47 PM

Yes - I copied the full file when I was last in the PRO.

The memo from Gaunts states that they never supplied that "airborne" badge. The whole subject came to light when the WO provided Gaunts with a plastic badge and asked them to prepare a plated WM sample to that design in response to a regimental request to replace the officers cord boss with a silver plated version of the "usual" O/R design.

In one of the responses Gaunt asked the WO to make the regiment aware that they had a die for the airborne badge should the regiment want to order it from them. They also state that "another firm" supplied the Airborne badge.

I think that this makes it clear Gaunt did not supply the battalion with this badge.


Copyright prevents me from posting it on this site.

John Mulcahy 29-04-08 03:04 PM


That is quite OK -I don't mind little jabs.

I visited the PRO in October last year and spent a day going through many files related to the insignia of the Irish regiments. I copied the entire file in question relating to the request of the Royal Ulster Rifles to obsolete the Officer's cord boss. the Airborne badge information was (unexpectedly) in that file, I was quite excited at the time as I had not seen that information before.

I do not claim to be the first to have read and comented on that file/information. If another individual has it on another site - just all the better for the collecting community.

I used to live in Surrey for 10 years and continually regret not taking the time to be at Kew. Now that I am on the other side of the pond it is very diffciult to get there and too expensive to have the staff copy files and send by mail.

I encourage all to support and engage in this type of research the details are amazing and go a long way to helping us in our hobby.


John Mulcahy 29-04-08 05:14 PM


I was curious about your comment on that web site (I had not seen it before) so I did a search and found the following, is this the one you referred to? Is it yours by any chance I notice it is Canadian based?

This is the third one I have seen in as many months on e-bay. One had copper lugs as this one does, one had white metal (assume silver) lugs.
I have not searched to see if one is being bought and sold multiple times or not, but I did keep the images and will see if they look different or not.
Out of curiosity what type of lugs were on that one?


Faugh-A-Ballagh 29-04-08 09:09 PM

I think they were copper or brass. I do remember seeing the sterling silver mark on it though. I think that caught my attention more.

Alan O 15-06-08 05:28 PM

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This is a photo in the Pegasus bridge museum (one of several) showing a OR wearing the standard RUR badge in the maroon beret of the airlanding troops. There is also a Company photo where on the front centre ranks of Offrs and WO s have the smaller badge.
That is quite enough proof for me that the 'airborne' badge was worn by the Officers and WOs only.

Saddle tree maker 15-06-08 06:41 PM

First thing I noticed about this picture is the scrolls touching the harp seem to be solid, so are both the voided pattern and the solid pattern acceptable as genuine ?
Mind you, nearly the whole badge looks solid.
Is this a painting or a photo - or a photo which has been painted - if you know what I mean.

Alan O 15-06-08 07:34 PM

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It was a photo that had been coloured so the detail was a bit off.
This was another of the RUR chaps killed in the landings. Definately full sized badge.

brocks_benefit 21-06-08 09:09 AM

Not all fakes!!!
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Hi John. Just joined the forum after reading this thread.

Very interesting and informative. I mainly collect medals to the current Royal Irish Regiment, and the former Regiments of Line (27th (Inniskillings), 83rd/86th (Irish Rifles) and the 87th/89th (Faughs)), but have a reasonable collection of officers silver and gilt badges, that I mainly picked up to mount with my medals.

Earlier this year, when I was chasing a particularly expensive (and elusive....) group to the 27th, I listed some of my 'less' important items on ebay, to raise funding for my hopeful purchase.

I listed an officers shako plate to the 83rd - magnificent piece, guilded copper - 7 piece construction. I listed a similiar 'Albert' pattern to the 108th, a hallmarked cross-belt (1907 London) to the Irish Rifles and a Warrant Officers WW2 beret badge to the Ulster Rifles (attributed).

I have attached a couple of pics of the 'Airborne' pattern badge, as listed on ebay. Thankfully (now) it didn't meet it's reserve of £425, so it is still in my collection. Would be interested in finding who the manufacturer was. I have seen another of these at the RUR Museum in Waring Street (pay it a visit!!) and it is considerably lighter than the one I have. Also, may be that my badge wasn't polished, but it looks almost like a frosted finish with only polish to high points??

I understand fully what you mean about ebay - [edit the usual list] - all selling fakes - even some rare badges in silver - appropriately stamped to the rear - and all sourced from a company in South Wales called "xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx". I have already reported them to ebay, trading standards and after a tirade of abuse from the female owner, to the police.....

This is exactly why I don't collect badges!! I'm lucky enough to be in a position where most of the local dealers will keep me right, but not everyone has this guidance!!

Check out the site:

[edited url out admin]

or see '[edit]' on ebay!!

Happy & safe collecting!!


markinbelfast 26-07-08 08:29 PM

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Originally Posted by John Mulcahy (Post 4811)
Every one of these badges that you will see on e-bay are FAKE.


Can I run this one past you?

Faugh-A-Ballagh 27-07-08 03:22 PM

Looks very good to me. I don't think the RUR /RIR officers boss badges are as widely faked as some of the larger ones claiming to be airborne ones. Do you wish to sell?

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