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  #16  
Old 15-07-18, 03:58 PM
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irish irish is offline
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Just to echo others comments, this has been a great thread. The Information and the items posted are quite amazing.
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  #17  
Old 15-07-18, 05:00 PM
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Some more thoughts if I may. In my limited experience, it seems that there are two variants of the RSR beret cloth badge representing the two locations where the training bases were located and the patches most likely made (Cairo and the Middle East and later around Bari, Italy).

I believe the RSR was conceived and formed in Cairo and neighbouring Katatba with initial training, including the para training jumps done in or near Palestine. Many of the Officers from the initial group were recruited from South African forces. Harry did recall that the cigarette ration received in Bari was often supplemented by the South African influence and C to C (Cape to Cairo) cigarettes were provided to the RSR group in Italy. Smokers remember these things I guess.

Gage, one of the initial Officers in the RSR records that the first parachute course consisted of 80 officers and men and was conducted at Ramid David near Nazareth in late 1943. (Greek Adventure, Jack Gage, Published by Unie Volkspers (1950). Gage mentions training consisted of 7 jumps and Harry recalled this was the same in Bari too. While a Hudson aircraft was reported to be used during the first training jumps in Ramid David, Harry says they used whatever was available around Bari which included a Manchester and a Lancaster (where they jumped from the bomb-bay, not through the door) and also a very noisy Italian aircraft (Marchetti maybe?).

The variations in the both the para qualification and cap badges may also be a reflection of where the soldiers took their initial RSR training. I don’t think there are any absolutes given the era, circumstances and even how some men would move between Operational groups.
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  #18  
Old 15-07-18, 06:03 PM
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Yes - I tend to agree with you. There is scope for variation. I have even seen 'templates' suggesting unit manufacture, which may have been a temporary expedient. The templates I saw were for both a wing and a headdress badge. That said - some fakes are rather obvious. Even though some variation is to be expected, there are examples well outside the norm, while others present a more subtle deception.
Mike
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  #19  
Old 17-07-18, 10:47 AM
HamandJam HamandJam is offline
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Hi Mike,

Interesting that this chocolate brown beret is made by Kangol Wear Limited.

I don’t think Kangol made any ww2 SAS sand berets so possibly these berets were not dyed sand SAS berets but khaki Kangol infantry berets or bespoke made.

Cheers,
JB






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Originally Posted by Mike B View Post
For interest only and further to Jons (Postwarden) posting on the chocolate beret - these are the internal markings
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  #20  
Old 17-07-18, 11:13 AM
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Hi J-B - I very much agree. There is no sign of dye being applied, and any dye would have had to be applied with the lining removed. Your knowledge of khaki berets is exceptional.
Mike


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Originally Posted by HamandJam View Post
Hi Mike,

Interesting that this chocolate brown beret is made by Kangol Wear Limited.

I don’t think Kangol made any ww2 SAS sand berets so possibly these berets were not dyed sand SAS berets but khaki Kangol infantry berets or bespoke made.

Cheers,
JB
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  #21  
Old 17-07-18, 02:52 PM
HamandJam HamandJam is offline
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Hi Mike,

I don’t know the provenance of this beret but there a number of questions, Kangol making raiding forces berets is not impossible but never heard of it sas berets at least were locally sourced,the beret badge also differs significantly from the other patterns....
May be I am overly septical...
I believe IWM also has a chocolate brown RSR beret really worn.

Cheers
JB


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B View Post
Hi J-B - I very much agree. There is no sign of dye being applied, and any dye would have had to be applied with the lining removed. Your knowledge of khaki berets is exceptional.
Mike
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  #22  
Old 17-07-18, 03:10 PM
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Here's a link to a IWM RSR chocolate-brown Officer's beret:
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30103148

Thanks JB
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  #23  
Old 17-07-18, 04:25 PM
Mike B Mike B is offline
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Yes - agree the badge on the chocolate beret image Jon (Postwarden) and I posted, is strange. The badge on the IWM example is much more like one would expect. However, please forgive me not posting images of templates (one wing, one headdress badge) which came with the Rhodesian Grouping I posted earlier. The templates - if intended for use - would have produced a smaller than usual headdress badge. Difficult to picture exactly what it would look like, but could be very similar to the unusual one on the chocolate beret Jon (Postwarden) and I provided images of. Existence of templates MAY suggest expedient manufacture.
Mike

Last edited by Mike B; 17-07-18 at 04:46 PM.
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  #24  
Old 19-07-18, 03:35 PM
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I wonder if I could get the Forum’s comments and advice on the BD insignia on the photo of Harry as I have very little knowledge about this sort of thing. It would be great to narrow down some of the details.



You can tell he was a bit of a cocky fellow by the way he wore his beret and yes, he did get into trouble on occasion.
I have also wondered how to confirm the photo was taken in Bari. Nothing is marked on the back of the picture but Harry recalled it was taken by a street photographer there. I googled maps and photos of Bari, hoping to be able to identify the location by the shape and pattern of the lamp post but I wasn’t successful in that adventure. I also wondered why the truck in the background was parked/driving on the left side of the road, if the photo was taken in Italy. This might be resolved by the fact that the two squares in Bari both have one-way routes so it’s entirely possible the photo was taken at one of these spots. The most likely location is the Fontana Monumentule at the Piazo Aldo Moro which is just outside the main train station. He said that the train station was frequently used by service personnel as the base wasn’t far away. Does anyone have a war-time photo that might match up the background lamp post?
More importantly is it possible to narrow down the insignia on his right shoulder? I have been unable to discover much about the “RSR, Raiding Forces” shoulder title and also unable to locate photographic evidence. He thought they were standard issue to the RSR at the time and available at the local NAAFI outlet (the equivalent of the American PX). Also, what significance does the white lanyard have? I understand that he had been with the 78th Division (UK) and his base unit, the Lancashire Fusiliers when he was wounded in Italy in late 1943. While convalescing in Bari he was accepted into the RSR around the summer of 1944. He agrees that the photo must have been taken before he received his para training and wings. His service record shows he started receiving an extra 2 shillings per diem as of 8/8/44 after para qualification.
When I chat with Harry now, his memory of details of the period has faded; it was 73 years ago after all, so memories may be confused or perhaps recalled incorrectly but faded memories are better than no memories at all I suppose.
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  #25  
Old 19-07-18, 05:51 PM
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As a general comment I would suggest this could be taken mid 1945 (just post war) as he is wearing his "best Battle Dress" with a shirt, collar and tie, medal ribbons and a white (Royal Artillery?) lanyard to smarten it up further. I actually thought that the lamppost and truck looked more like a London scene, but I don't know Bari!


Tim
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  #26  
Old 19-07-18, 05:55 PM
Mike B Mike B is offline
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Does the right lower sleeve have service stripes? not sure about protocol for these and wonder what members think - appear to be a number of them if I am correct
Mike
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  #27  
Old 19-07-18, 08:36 PM
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Thanks Tim & Mike (and all others) for thoughts and comments.
I'm not sure of the timing of actual issue of medals during the war but it looks to me like he only has two ribbons at the time of the photo. His record shows he was entitled to the War and Defence medals, 39/45 star, Italy and Africa stars or clasps but the date they were awarded isn't clear. His last leave during the war was 8/42 and he was RTU and embarked for the UK (FARLEAF??) on 30 Jul, 1945. In theory therefore, he was on the continent for those 3 years. I too wondered about London being a location. We'll see if any other clues and ideas come forth.
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  #28  
Old 19-11-18, 12:52 PM
simon dawkins simon dawkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zorgon View Post
Some more thoughts if I may. In my limited experience, it seems that there are two variants of the RSR beret cloth badge representing the two locations where the training bases were located and the patches most likely made (Cairo and the Middle East and later around Bari, Italy).

I believe the RSR was conceived and formed in Cairo and neighbouring Katatba with initial training, including the para training jumps done in or near Palestine. Many of the Officers from the initial group were recruited from South African forces. Harry did recall that the cigarette ration received in Bari was often supplemented by the South African influence and C to C (Cape to Cairo) cigarettes were provided to the RSR group in Italy. Smokers remember these things I guess.

Gage, one of the initial Officers in the RSR records that the first parachute course consisted of 80 officers and men and was conducted at Ramid David near Nazareth in late 1943. (Greek Adventure, Jack Gage, Published by Unie Volkspers (1950). Gage mentions training consisted of 7 jumps and Harry recalled this was the same in Bari too. While a Hudson aircraft was reported to be used during the first training jumps in Ramid David, Harry says they used whatever was available around Bari which included a Manchester and a Lancaster (where they jumped from the bomb-bay, not through the door) and also a very noisy Italian aircraft (Marchetti maybe?).

The variations in the both the para qualification and cap badges may also be a reflection of where the soldiers took their initial RSR training. I don’t think there are any absolutes given the era, circumstances and even how some men would move between Operational groups.


My Grandad(Sgt Robert Parkes) served in the RSR and I have spent years researching them. He did his para training in Italy and according to No4 PTS War Diary he did his jumps from a Wellington although it mentioned that most courses/jumps were from Dakotas. Really interesting reading all of these posts and I know the chap who gave his beret to the IWM and he is still around(98 years old). Also, I have the Raiding Forces history which I copied at Kew and it explains that the HQ Raiding Forces was part of the original 1 SAS as was the SBS/GSR and that it's "Brigade Motto" was "Who Dares Wins". The brigade insignia on the cover of the history is the SAS cap badge and wings. I might have some specific info about Harry in my records and will have a look for any one who is interested.
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  #29  
Old 10-12-18, 07:54 PM
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Thanks to Simon (see above post), here are a couple of photos of RSR members which include his grandfather, Sgt Robert Parkes. Unlike the history of the LRDG, there seem to only be a handful of photos that one can find online from the 5 Batteries of the RSR.
The 1st group photo was taken during para training at Gioia del Colle out of Brindisi not far from the base at Bari, Italy. Notice the training “helmets” (I’m sure they have a nickname) on many of the guys. It must have been a successful jump as they all seem pretty happy.
1) August 1944-Gioia Del Colle. Middle row second from the left-Sgt Robert Parkes.
2) The second photo is of 3 Section, 10 Troop, on the Greek Island of Poros in October 1944. A few were identified; Back row; Peter Bates, Fraser Dunnett, unk. Middle row, unk, O'Leary, Sgt Robert Parkes, unk.

While detail is lacking in the photos, once can see there are two shades of berets, about equally divided. The wide range of armament the troop had is interesting too. Unfortunately, we can’t resolve any of the cap badges.

Also, Simon was able to discover more about Harry Boddington. Harry started his para training on the 17th August, 1944. He was on course no 7 which was run by number 4 PTS at Gioia Del Colle, near Brindisi. Ultimately, Harry ended up in E Battery (11 Troop).

Regards,
Wayne Logus
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  #30  
Old 30-04-20, 10:41 AM
rawilliauk rawilliauk is offline
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Default Glyndwr Williams (RAFVR 1419660) - Trying to find connection to RSR

Hello All,

I'm new to the forum and would appreciate help in trying to confirm whether my grandfather was in RSR during WW2. His name was Glyndwr Williams (RAFVR 1419660) and came from Porth, Rhonddha Valleys in South Wales. Glyndwr Williams Service Number was RAFVR 1419660.

He joined RAFVR Air Sea Rescue in 1941 and was the Gunner on their High Speed Launches, initially in UK and then North Africa. The HSLs that he served on had Vickers MGs and were later upgraded to Oerliken.

Family believe that whilst in North Africa he became involved with irregular units. He often spoke about working with LRDG, PPA and SAS. We initially thought that he may have been a member of one of these, but both the LRDG Preservation Society and the PPA Association have confirmed that he was not an official member and is not recorded in their unit diaries. The various SAS texts that have been published over the years do not mention him either.

Piecing things together slowly, family have begun to wonder whether he was affiliated with Raiding Support Regiment, and specifically due to his expertise in using Vickers MGs, whether he was part of A Battery for a period of time. We know that if he was, then he wouldn't have been part of the RSR until the end because we know that he took part in operations that the RSR may not have been part of. For instance, we understand that both LRDG and PPA at some point used RAF HSLs for ingress and extrication during the skirmishes in the Mediterranean before Operation Husky and the advance of Land Forces up Italy. We note that he took part in the Salerno Landings and was taken POW with US troops sometime afterwards. They escaped, during which my grandfather was shot in the shoulder but continued to give covering fire, after this he ended up in a US Field Hospital - this is documented in his RAF Medical Records, but not in the Service Record. We also note that his HSL was involved in Operation Dragoon which initiated the liberation of Southern France in 1944. Finally, he was part of Monte Cassino and his close colleague, who became his best friend died there and is buried in the Commonwealth Grave there.

We know he was associated with RAF HSLs that took part in operations around North Africa and Mediterranean. Specifically, these were: Elba, Corsica, Crete, Yugoslavia, Pantellaria, Lampedusa, Sicily and Southern France - we have a hand painted tankard that lists the places where his crew were involved. We have a number of photos from when he was on either mainland Italy or in Yugoslavia, but as the guys are predominantly bare chested, there aren't any insignia, berets or uniforms to confirm what units he was associated with.

I've uploaded two photos of Glyndwr. Family also think that he may be in the photo uploaded by Zogon (courtesy of Simon Dawkins) - the one in October 1944 on Poros. We think the guy on the left hand side with shirt off in front row (one using hands behind his back to prop himself up) may be him. Obviously can't definitively confirm that, but to family there is a very close resemblance.

As you can imagine, this is providing difficult to research. I have been trying to piece the jigsaw together over the past 10-15 years. Slow, but steady progress.
Any help or pointers in the right direction to confirm whether Glyndwr was in RSR would be gratefully received. I've read the book by Walter Jones, so know that he wasn't in C Battery - his daughter and grandson have been very helpful there by looking through his notes. As such, A Battery with Vickers MGs seems a logical next step to investigate.

Regards, Richard
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