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  #1  
Old 13-07-18, 07:42 PM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Default Raiding Support Regiment (RSR)

It’s getting harder to find WWII groups with Provenance which haven’t previously found their way into collections or the market. I’m very fortunate to have the medals and various insignia to Fusilier Harry Boddington. Harry initially served with the Royal Welch and Lancaster Fusiliers and after recovering from wounds received in Italy in 1943, transferred into the Raiding Support Regiment (RSR) where he served until the unit was disbanded at the end of the war. His particular Battery within the RSR was supplied with 75mm Howitzers. It is very fortunate that Harry, now in his mid-90’s, is still with us but his memory of most of the details of the war has, perhaps fortunately, faded but we have had many interesting and fascinating discussions. His Official Military record doesn’t go into any mission details although it appears he may have overlapped on some assignments with the LRDG. I believe it wasn’t uncommon for the various units of the Special Raiding Forces to combine efforts on select occasions and the LRDG carried out many missions on the Continent after their brilliant operations in North Africa.

Illustrated below are his RSR cap badge, a couple of his para wings (he received his parachute training and qualification at Bari/Brindisi) and a shoulder title, the latter of which isn’t commonly seen (I have previously posted some of these images). While he also has post war commemorative items, I believe all of the insignia below were issued contemporary to his service with the RSR in 1944-45. I’ve also attached a photo of him which he believes was taken in Bari near the town square. It tantalizingly shows only a hint of insignia he is wearing and the early Unit dark (chocolate brown?) beret. He has previously written that he served on missions in Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Vis and the Dalmatia.

His medal and recognition awards group is quite interesting too. After the war, he was active with the Royal Life Saving Society and was a member of the Order of Saint Lazarus. His Yugoslav Commemorative War Cross certificate indicates it was issued in 1965 and the La Croix de Partisan (certificate GB28) in 1980. His brother Jack, a keen collector and historian, probably helped in obtaining several of the post-war awards to which Harry was entitled.
Additional history can be found at:
http://www.warlinks.com/pages/rsr.php

Wayne Logus

Last edited by zorgon; 14-07-18 at 01:09 PM. Reason: corrected colour
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  #2  
Old 13-07-18, 08:17 PM
Paul Spellman Paul Spellman is offline
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Great items with respect and best wishes to Harry.
Paul
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  #3  
Old 13-07-18, 09:38 PM
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irish irish is offline
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Wonderful group, thanks for posting. Interesting black background para wings.
Jack
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  #4  
Old 14-07-18, 05:50 AM
HamandJam HamandJam is offline
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What a cracking group thanks for sharing some very desirable items. On the picture and the dark beret, is it not a story that RSR wore a chocolate brown beret? There is an example in the IWM. They wore sand sas berets too of course. Cheers JB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zorgon View Post
It’s getting harder to find WWII groups with Provenance which haven’t previously found their way into collections or the market. I’m very fortunate to have the medals and various insignia to Fusilier Harry Boddington. Harry initially served with the Royal Welch and Lancaster Fusiliers and after recovering from wounds received in Italy in 1943, transferred into the Raiding Support Regiment (RSR) where he served until the unit was disbanded at the end of the war. His particular Battery within the RSR was supplied with 75mm Howitzers. It is very fortunate that Harry, now in his mid-90’s, is still with us but his memory of most of the details of the war has, perhaps fortunately, faded but we have had many interesting and fascinating discussions. His Official Military record doesn’t go into any mission details although it appears he may have overlapped on some assignments with the LRDG. I believe it wasn’t uncommon for the various units of the Special Raiding Forces to combine efforts on select occasions and the LRDG carried out many missions on the Continent after their brilliant operations in North Africa.

Illustrated below are his RSR cap badge, a couple of his para wings (he received his parachute training and qualification at Bari/Brindisi) and a shoulder title, the latter of which isn’t commonly seen (I have previously posted some of these images). While he also has post war commemorative items, I believe all of the insignia below were issued contemporary to his service with the RSR in 1944-45. I’ve also attached a photo of him which he believes was taken in Bari near the town square. It tantalizingly shows only a hint of insignia he is wearing and the early Unit dark (black?) beret. He has previously written that he served on missions in Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Vis and the Dalmatia.

His medal and recognition awards group is quite interesting too. After the war, he was active with the Royal Life Saving Society and was a member of the Order of Saint Lazarus. His Yugoslav Commemorative War Cross certificate indicates it was issued in 1965 and the La Croix de Partisan (certificate GB28) in 1980. His brother Jack, a keen collector and historian, probably helped in obtaining several of the post-war awards to which Harry was entitled.
Additional history can be found at:
http://www.warlinks.com/pages/rsr.php

Wayne Logus
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  #5  
Old 14-07-18, 01:05 PM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Default Beret colour

Yes JB, you are absolutely correct about the beret shade and I knew that in the back of my mind. I'll go back and correct the original post if I can. Harry recalled that early on, they had this chocolate brown beret but they were asked to exchange them for the lighter, tan versions. The reason given (he recalls) was they were having trouble sourcing enough of the darker material to meet the demand of the expanding force. Perhaps, I might speculate, some would have kept the old ones but I suspect that would be discouraged and you would end up paying for the new kit out-of-pocket.
I should also correct my terminology in labeling the uniform as an “RSR uniform”. I meant Harry in his battledress with his RSR insignia to distinguish photo’s I have of his earlier time with the Fusiliers (below).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Harry photo 2.jpg (32.4 KB, 73 views)
File Type: jpg Harry photo 3.jpg (30.0 KB, 71 views)
File Type: jpg Harry photo 1.jpg (34.5 KB, 61 views)

Last edited by zorgon; 14-07-18 at 01:33 PM. Reason: added photo, corrected term
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  #6  
Old 14-07-18, 02:43 PM
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Some information on the tan beret gleaned from a number of National Archives files. And a photo of the chocolate brown RSR beret.

Jon

The initial suggestion that on operations the SAS and Raiding Forces were entitled to wear green berets – in the absence of Ordnance-issued items in the Middle East to be made by the Tel Aviv firm Misha – was quickly stamped on by the Chief of Combined Operations who on 13th May 1943 pointed out to C-in-C Middle East that as the SAS were ‘in no way under my control or that of the Brigadier, Special Service Brigade’ he could not agree to the SAS Regiment wearing green berets. Just over a week after receiving this reply GHQ Middle East informed HQ Raiding Forces that beige berets, first discussed for 1st SAS Regiment on 27th July, had been approved and were being made. Middle East General Order 750 dated 11th June 1943 states ‘Approval is given for the issue of “Caps, 1 SAS Regt MEF” to personnel of 1 SAS Regt. Of beret type and beige in colour. Caps, FS in possession are to be to be withdrawn’. The Deputy Chief of the General Staff was subsequently asked to publish official authority ‘for the wearing of the beige beret by all units of Special Raiding Forces, Middle East” . The release of 200 beige berets was authorised by HQ Raiding Forces on 27th August 1943, 50 of them earmarked for what by then had become the Special Raiding Squadron.
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File Type: jpg RSR Brown beret JM copy.jpg (36.7 KB, 143 views)
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  #7  
Old 14-07-18, 03:28 PM
HamandJam HamandJam is offline
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Hi Jon,

Great information on the beige beret not seen before by me.

The design of the RSR badge on the chocolate brown beret is quite unusual compared to the examples you commonly encounter.

Fascinating thread keep them going!

Cheers,
JB









Quote:
Originally Posted by Postwarden View Post
Some information on the tan beret gleaned from a number of National Archives files. And a photo of the chocolate brown RSR beret.

Jon

The initial suggestion that on operations the SAS and Raiding Forces were entitled to wear green berets – in the absence of Ordnance-issued items in the Middle East to be made by the Tel Aviv firm Misha – was quickly stamped on by the Chief of Combined Operations who on 13th May 1943 pointed out to C-in-C Middle East that as the SAS were ‘in no way under my control or that of the Brigadier, Special Service Brigade’ he could not agree to the SAS Regiment wearing green berets. Just over a week after receiving this reply GHQ Middle East informed HQ Raiding Forces that beige berets, first discussed for 1st SAS Regiment on 27th July, had been approved and were being made. Middle East General Order 750 dated 11th June 1943 states ‘Approval is given for the issue of “Caps, 1 SAS Regt MEF” to personnel of 1 SAS Regt. Of beret type and beige in colour. Caps, FS in possession are to be to be withdrawn’. The Deputy Chief of the General Staff was subsequently asked to publish official authority ‘for the wearing of the beige beret by all units of Special Raiding Forces, Middle East” . The release of 200 beige berets was authorised by HQ Raiding Forces on 27th August 1943, 50 of them earmarked for what by then had become the Special Raiding Squadron.
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  #8  
Old 14-07-18, 08:35 PM
Colin S Colin S is offline
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Default RSR

As I understand it, the RSR were initially issued the standard Raiding Forces sand beret, shared withe SAS, SBS and LRDG, but when the second CO (Lt Col Meynell?) took over command he wished to distinguish his men and ordered the sand berets to be dyed brown, which was a very unpopular decision. The source for this belief is the book “I was in Noah’s Ark” written by an RSR veteran F. Reid in the 1957. ( I am speaking from memory from when I researched this point, but I do have the book in my loft somewhere.) That does seem to contradict the veteran’s memory quoted in an earlier post but information from different veterans can often be contradictory as memories fade.

Contemporary photos show both the standard parachute wings and, more commonly, the SAS wings being worn on the right arm.

The greatest shame is that there appears to be very little written about the RSR and that won’t improve as the veterans fade away.....

Last edited by Colin S; 14-07-18 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Additional information
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  #9  
Old 14-07-18, 09:07 PM
Colin S Colin S is offline
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Default RSR beret

Having checked my notes, I now realise I have misrembered things myself! It was the later book “Raiding Support Regiment” by Walter Jones (University of Plymouth Press 2011) that says that in November 1944 Lt Col Meynell issued orders for the sand berets to be dyed brown. My apologies for any confusion caused!
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  #10  
Old 15-07-18, 06:22 AM
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Mike Jackson Mike Jackson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Postwarden View Post
Some information on the tan beret gleaned from a number of National Archives files. And a photo of the chocolate brown RSR beret.

Jon

The initial suggestion that on operations the SAS and Raiding Forces were entitled to wear green berets – in the absence of Ordnance-issued items in the Middle East to be made by the Tel Aviv firm Misha – was quickly stamped on by the Chief of Combined Operations who on 13th May 1943 pointed out to C-in-C Middle East that as the SAS were ‘in no way under my control or that of the Brigadier, Special Service Brigade’ he could not agree to the SAS Regiment wearing green berets. Just over a week after receiving this reply GHQ Middle East informed HQ Raiding Forces that beige berets, first discussed for 1st SAS Regiment on 27th July, had been approved and were being made. Middle East General Order 750 dated 11th June 1943 states ‘Approval is given for the issue of “Caps, 1 SAS Regt MEF” to personnel of 1 SAS Regt. Of beret type and beige in colour. Caps, FS in possession are to be to be withdrawn’. The Deputy Chief of the General Staff was subsequently asked to publish official authority ‘for the wearing of the beige beret by all units of Special Raiding Forces, Middle East” . The release of 200 beige berets was authorised by HQ Raiding Forces on 27th August 1943, 50 of them earmarked for what by then had become the Special Raiding Squadron.
Fascinating and very valuable research. I am always surprised that there is so little evidence of (or interest in) the unit sign adopted by Raiding Forces - it's unique and very "un-British" in its design. The line drawing of the sign and associated unit serial is taken from official correspondence.
RSR and Raiding Forces.23 Oct 44.01.jpgRSR and Raiding Forces.23 Oct 44.02.jpgRSR and Raiding Forces.23 Oct 44.03.jpg
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  #11  
Old 15-07-18, 12:16 PM
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Postwarden Postwarden is offline
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The Orbat of Raiding Forces as at February 1944.

Jon
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  #12  
Old 15-07-18, 03:32 PM
Colin S Colin S is offline
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Default RSR beret

The great information provided above by all contributors just shows what a fantastic resource the Forum is for improving members knowledge. It's a pity that this knowledge may never be generally available to later generations who would like to research such relatively obscure units and, like old soldiers, they may just fade away........
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  #13  
Old 15-07-18, 03:48 PM
Mike B Mike B is offline
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Excellent information on this thread - yet another great resource on RSR. Here is an attributed grouping to a Rhodesian member I believe - note the wings in this grouping ... more typical of Raiding forces
Mike
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  #14  
Old 15-07-18, 03:53 PM
Mike B Mike B is offline
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For interest only and further to Jons (Postwarden) posting on the chocolate beret - these are the internal markings
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  #15  
Old 15-07-18, 03:57 PM
Mike B Mike B is offline
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I hope you do not mind me adding another unusual variant of the badge - I doubt if worn as it is more fancy than that worn by the CO Sir Thomas Devitt Bt - but very well made in deed, and highly unlikely to be a blazer type badge. Possibly a souvenir type - but thoughts welcome
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