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  #1  
Old 27-12-14, 08:05 PM
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Default WWII BRITISH BERETS TRAITS AND CONSTRUCTION

INTRODUCTION
Over the last few years with the increasing rarity and value of all WWII berets they are being increasingly faked / reproduced etc in order to get your hard earned money out of your hands with this in mind I have started this thread in a hope that this will not all ways be the case and it helps to stop the practice .
It will cover at 1st the Kangol Wear Limited war time berets , their construction methods , markings , WD year stamps etc and working its way through the other makers with this in mind PLEASE DO NOT ADD TO THIS THREAD as it will take a while to get it 100% any concerns please pm or email me ANY UNWANTED POSTS WILL BE REMOVED its going to be there to help you !!! Steve
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  #2  
Old 27-12-14, 09:02 PM
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Default BERET COLORS AND UNITS

The Beret was first introduced in 1924 for use by the Royal Tank Regiment and made in black which they have since kept, In 1942 the British army introduced 3 more colors to this ever increasing range by the end of the war the total range had crept up to 6 colors being used by the 3 services this does not include the unofficial colors worn by some units during the war for short periods or the SAS examples which will be covered later in the thread the colors where :
MAROON for airborne forces
GREEN for commando forces
BLACK for for Royal Tank corps and RAC units
GREEN / BROWN FOR Officers , mounted infantry units & Reconnaissance corps ( note I have not seen an example earlier than the 43 dated than the one shown )
BLACK for for Royal Tank corps and RAC units
BLUE GRAY RAF personnel only this could be any member in the RAF services replacing the peaked cap .
Dark blue RN personnel and Royal Marines .
The 1st picture shows the main 4 berets the 2nd image shows the colors on top of each other and 3 & 4 shows the RN beret which started to be issued in 1943 on top of a RTR / RAC black beret which shows its color well
NOTES:
1 The colors shown will differ slightly from other examples mainly down to use and how they have been treated during their 70+ years in the wash etc
2 The RN beret is a different shape to the army berets and is sometimes sold as black examples on the internet watch out for them see the RN beret section in this thread for details on these .
I will dig out my RAF war time ones in the near future to replace the 3 pic
Attached Images
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Last edited by ASR142; 02-02-15 at 10:12 AM.
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  #3  
Old 27-12-14, 09:09 PM
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Default KANGOL WEAR LTD BERETS ( KANGOL )

Roughly during 1935/6 KANGOL WEAR LIMITED BERETS ( KANGOL ) imported a beret making machine from France as they where a fashion icon of the time.This machine had a particular pattern of weaving starting in the middle of the beret a small knot would start the process as the weave got bigger it would create a circular spiral going in an anti-clock wise motion ( this is the same for all WD issue berets from WWII ) this is the outer part crown ( top ) part of the beret ( I reckon that if the spiral was to do a complete circle it would be about 12 ft wide ) These spirals disappear in post war examples and turn into complete circles a major item to look for this change took place with kangol during the 1951-52 period .
when the beret outer had reached the size required IE 6 3/4 the machine would stop adding more stitches and do 4-5 turns approximately the same to create a slight edge to the beret it would then remove stitches making the spiral turn in the opposite direction creating the brim of the beret once the size was reached the machine would then do a series of turns to make a slight ridge ( the part where the leather trim would be attached to ) this makes the leather trim stand up proud of the brim at about 1.5 cm this completes the outer section of the beret.
images
1 - 3 shows the spirals starting at the center of the beret and going in a outward motion
4 - 5 shows the way in which the brim normally stands proud of the beret
NOTES
1 The beret outer is made in roughly the same way for all of the government contracted beret makers during WWII and the weave pattern should be the same avoid any that are different to this weave pattern . This does not apply to private purchase examples which will be shown later in the thread.
Attached Images
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Last edited by ASR142; 29-12-14 at 12:43 PM.
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  #4  
Old 27-12-14, 09:43 PM
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Default KANGOL WEAR LTD BERETS ( KANGOL ) continued

The inside part of the beret is made roughly in the following way
1st picture : 1 The inner is printed out in one stage a round circle , 2 broken diamonds and makers name date and arrow all done at the same time the location of this is always the same although the stamping's change slightly as re inking takes place. Kangol Berets from WWII are all ways the same.
2nd picture The outer large broken circle creates the inner stitched edge the 2 diamonds are for an internal diamond peace of cloth to be stitched to keep it in place as a reinforcement for the crown unlike some modern berets the inner crown is in no way attached to the outer crown of the beret allowing it to be shaped as required .
3rd picture shows : The size of the beret is only determined by the size of the woven outer section at a later stage as they can be used for any beret 1 size fits all saves materials during construction .
the size stamp is all ways hand applied at the end of construction and is very rarely in the same place let alone the same way up
NOTES
1 Something to note here is the way round the stamping is its all ways the same way round it never changes this ensures that when the leather trim is applied it starts and finishes in the same place to the rear of the beret .
2 Kangol leather trim is a straight but to but join with the ribbon tie making its slight out of shape on the used examples
3 The diamond stitching starts at one corner of the larger diamond then goes around to form the diamond then crosses over to make the 2nd diamond and ends up where it started this pattern is unique to Kangol ( pic 2 follow the thread around )
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg IMG_1055.jpg (56.1 KB, 70 views)

Last edited by ASR142; 28-12-14 at 08:48 PM.
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  #5  
Old 27-12-14, 10:05 PM
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Default KANGOL WEAR LTD BERETS ( KANGOL ) continued

The inner brim is made using 2 peaces of shaped cloth which are stitched to the inner crown part of the beret this is all ways done in the same way. The stitching is hidden in-between the lining and the woven part of the beret ( reattached liners are some times left with a join the wrong way round which is not shown in pictures on ebay ).
The inner brim is attached to a stiffening peace of hessian material near the edge by a lose tacking ( The black thread around the inside of the beret ) The leather trim is then attached to the this part of the beret creating the 1st row of stitching on the inside of the beret .The leather band is then folded over the edge of the beret outer and then stitched in place creating the 2nd row of stitching ( the one in the middle of the lose tacking and top row of stitching ) which goes through all of the layers of the beret at this point I can only presume that the ribbon is attached by a curved large blunt needle which would be slotted through the beret leather trim in a turning motion in 1 easy step and cut then tied of tied of .
NOTES
1 KANGOL produced liners in 2 colors during the years 1945-46 there is nothing wrong with these at all and tend not to get faked a good choice for a 1st purchaser of a airborne unit beret. They also tend to be a bit cheaper the example below is a 1945 dated example issued to the SAS during the late 40's early 50's .
2 some times the milliners ( hat maker's ) works label is found inside as can be seen in image 2 these are all ways in the same location towards the rear of the beret
Attached Images
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Last edited by ASR142; 28-12-14 at 09:56 PM.
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  #6  
Old 28-12-14, 10:02 PM
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Default KANGOL WEAR LTD BERETS ( KANGOL ) continued

The last stage of the construction is the application of the 2 eye holes and eyelets and leather protector the eyelets are put in place at exactly the same place at 9 o'clock always the same distance from the edge of the beret these are normally the same set of colors for the berets
Black for Airborne berets , RAC & RTR BERETS and Commando berets
Tan for the mounted infantry and reconnaissance corps units ( not airborne units )
The eyelets are fixed by a small washer placed over the rear of them and then squashed these go through all of the layers of the beret a leather protector is then placed over the eyelets and hand tacked in place . Often it is found over the black thread around the inside of the beret there is nothing wrong with this if encountered.
The leather can shrink and become detached but signs of it being there are important in identifying fakes
Notes
1 The taking stitch is always under the leather tab and nether over the top of it or going through the leather the stitch can be set away from the leather tab.
2 The eyelets construction is all ways the same with the washer avoid any that have no washer it should be visible through the leather tab .
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg IMG_1049.jpg (73.0 KB, 57 views)

Last edited by ASR142; 28-12-14 at 10:18 PM.
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