Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
Cap-Badges of the British Army 1939-45
by G L D Alderson
The History Press ( )
ISBN 9780752499697

To the various regiments and corps of the British Army their cap-badges are emblems of much pride and pleasure. These emblems encapsulate the history and traditions of the units that wore them.

County regiments which were regiments that were recruited from originally from a specific county (which ceased to be the case in World War 1) constituted the bulk of the infantry and accordingly they wore their cap-badges with enormous pride as they were ambassadors for their hometowns.

Although cap-badges are of relatively recent origins they can trace their history back to before the Norman Conquest. This book concentrates on those cap-badges worn during the Second World War and it represents an excellent, easy to use reference work on the subject.

It presents a comprehensive collection and every cap-badge is clearly illustrated - often with pictures from the author’s private collection. There are excellent narratives describing the badges, their features and history. In addition, there are the fascinating histories behind conjoining units and a regimental index helps finding a specific badge quickly.

This volume seeks to remove any confusion surrounding the wearing of cap-badges during WW2 and enables the reader to access this information in complete form for the first time.

The book is split into a number of chapters - each of which represents the breakdown of the army’s structure. These are logical categories and include the Household Cavalry, the Royal Armoured Corps, the Royal Artillery, the Foot Guards, Infantry of the Line, Territorial and Non-regular units, and Corps. The main section concludes with a chapter on badge backings and inserts and a Regimental Index is (effectively) in an Appendix.

The author has concentrated on badges worn by other ranks and he has not included badges worn by the Royal Army Chaplains Department and badges worn by Special Forces. He notes that many of the Special Forces badges on the market are either above the budget for the average collector and also that many of those available are of doubtful provenance.

Overall this volume is highly commended and represents outstanding value for money. I am confident that it will become a standard reference work on the subject.

March 2014