D-Day: British Armoured Battledress Markings

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by MapleLeafUp, May 29, 2017.

  1. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    Hi, I'm hoping to identify the markings on this armoured sergeant's sleeve. I've blown the photo up as much as possible so it's starting to degenerate. The photo was taken, probably in Creully, Normandy, and probably on June 14th, so not far from Gold Beach. The shoulder flash looks like red on yellow, so probably "Royal Armoured Corps" but not positive. And I'm not sure of all the markings underneath since his sleeve is slightly turned. It looks like there is a something green underneath the cloth shoulder flash turned away from the camera. Then something red & yellow underneath that.
    Also, what is the ribbon over the pocket on the chest? Thanks for the help.

    British Armoured Battledress sleeve.jpg
  2. Wessex_Warrior

    Wessex_Warrior Junior Member

    Hello Glen,

    The Yellow\Red stripe is the Arm of Service stripe of the Royal Armoured Corps which agrees with the shoulder title Red on Cream if it actually says "Royal Armoured Corps". It doesn't look like that to me but I don't know of any other shoulder title of that colour combination. The green triangle is the confusing part. This should either be a divisional badge or if an independent armoured unit could possible be a regimental flash. The closest I can find is the Green diablo of 31st Army Tank Brigade (79th Armoured Division - Funnies) or 33rd Army Tank Brigade. If the photograph is from Creully about 14th June then we are looking at either 8th Armoured Brigade none of whose units had this kind of flash or the 7th Armoured Division with the desert rat. Neither match this.
    The medal ribbon is similar to the Long service and good conduct medal with its light coloured ends but the colour should be purple and not green. The fact that the Red\yellow colour is correct indicates that the green colour is probably true. I don't believe the picture has been colourised but the sergeant stripes don't look right to me unless they have been deliberately camouflaged.


  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    I'm assuming that image is heavily cropped. Does the full image contain any clues? (Background location etc etc).

    The green triangle is not obvious ( to me at least!). Are you sure it's not an illusion or the light playing tricks?
  4. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    Yes, it is a heavily cropped so I'll include the full image here. And yes, the colours can be completely off because they were taken on colour reversal Kodachrome which has shifted and faded. There are two armoured personnel in the photo, but little can be seen of the second one. The photo is a posed shot by Ken Bell including two other members of the Cdn Film & Photo Unit and two Americans. In another posed shot in the sequence he included two Gendarmes as well. It is taken at the WW1 monument at Creully, and probably around June 14th.

    8RB likes this.
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    That's a brilliant photograph. I know the area quite well so will check some details and revert.

    Looks like a posed Liaison Group photo as you say. Canadians were in the area at the time. Are you sure the guy is not a member of a Canadian unit?
  6. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    The markings on the sleeve don't look very Canadian – we didn't have the yellow-red arm of service stripe – and the shoulder title doesn't compute with any of the 3 armoured regiments of the independent Cdn 2nd Armd Brigade (First Hussars, Fort Garry Horse, Sherbrooke Fusiliers), so I'm assuming since this is Creully and it is probably an RAC member from a unit coming in from Gold Beach.
  7. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Yes: Creully! Find attached another photo of same spot. Flags included!
    Why not indeed 33rd Armoured Brigade? They had landed on 13th of June and had two RAC regiments attached.
    Ribbon to me looks like territorial efficiency medal (green centre with yellow stripes).

    05a - Poilu at Creully - 2.jpg
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
  8. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    Yes, I agree it is the Efficiency medal bar. And the 33rd Armoured Brigade makes the most sense – it came in on Gold Beach and would be in this area at this time. If it is indeed the green-black diablo design under the RAC shoulder title, it looks like the triangular green felt is on the bottom though, not the top. I can see how maybe the light makes it look green instead of black but then compared to the black beret it is very green. Could be the way the sleeve is twisted on the arm. Wish we could see the cap badge under those goggles.
    What is the stripe underneath the RAC arm of service stripe ?
    thanks, glenn
  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Do the other photos in the series help? Always worth full cross-referencing.
  10. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    No, the gendarme is blocking the sergeant's arm. It's the only photo clean of the gendarme.

  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Gosh! Even the RAC chap in the background is still hiding his cap badge. Now wondering if photo units kept a War Diary.....might give more detail.....
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Gunner Tours

    Why would the sergeant need to have been from a unit which landed that day? It was D+8 and there were plenty of British soldiers already ashore. The personnel of landing units had places to go and things to do. This a staged photo may have taken some time to be staged. How likely is it the cameraman snapped this group at war memorial? Isn't it more likely that the soldier is from some rear area unit near Cruelly. How about some part of HQ 21 Army Group, which is also where a Canadian photographer might find a couple of Americans to complete the bar joke cliche.
  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron


    Very good point. Montgomerys HQ was only about a mile down the road from the Creully War Memorial at the Chateau de Creullet at that time. Would be lots of Liaison staff, from all sectors of the bridgehead, so actually relatively straightforward to arrange such a photo opportunity. French War Memorial, set of allied flags, pleasant Group photo - all very poignant and also close to the centre of other things such as the BBC studio in the Chateau de Creully which is just a few metres from where the photo was taken. That means the guy could have been from just about any RAC unit that had landed by that time.

    Edit: to get from that War Memorial location to Montgomerys HQ you just walk down the hill, past the 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards Memorial on the right, over the River Seulles bridge, on a bit further and the Chateau de Creullet is on the left. Easy. Walk back again is a bit more difficult as it's quite a steep hill
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  14. MapleLeafUp

    MapleLeafUp mapleleafup.ca

    Yes, good point Sheldrake. I was suggesting given the location of Creully, the British armoured personnel probably would have disembarked from Gold Beach area, not that they had come in that day. Also, I'm only assuming it is June 14th because the photographer was in Creully that day based on his other B&W photos. But Ken Bell was also shooting there on the 10th. It could have been after the 14th but I don't see other activity from him there. Also SDP, good to know about the chateaus. I took your suggested walk on Google Maps. I imagine while Monty's HQ at the Chateau de Creullet was full of top brass and HQ staff, the Chateau de Creully was more replete with the likes of warcos, conducting officers, and film & photo unit personnel, and it was only a quick stumble to this monument. Not difficult to pull this photo together, especially when the Canadian officer in the photo is Capt. Colin McDougall, head of all CFPU personnel in France.

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