oversmock: painted sign identification

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Ludo68000, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Hi all,
    a friend of mine has an oversmock (the attached picture).
    As I have no knowledge about para equipment, could someone explain what do the white and blue circles mean?
    thanks & regards,

    Attached Files:

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  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  3. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Couldn't help myself....

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  4. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    dear CEE,
    the oversmock is named after WILLIAMSON and was found at Brucourt.
    CN254 dropped its paras in the Brucourt area.
    and 7346477 S/Sgt WILLIAMSON was one of the passengers
    and CN254 was a 224 Field Para Ambulance stick attached to 8th Para
    Does it mean that the flash on S/Sgt Williamson oversmock would be the same as 8th Para?

    oversmock williamson.jpg
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  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I see that entire stick (Section 2) of 224 PFA men was attached to the 8 Parachute Battalion. So it would make sense they would be wearing the DZ flash of 8 Para as their intended destination would be the same, DZ K. I went looking for A. Brown (brithm's document) amongst 8 Para names but couldn't find a good match.

    S/Sgt Williamson turns up in the book "Red Devils - The 224 Parachute Field Ambulance in Normandy". As you probably know there is quite a lengthy account of what became of his group before and after being captured. Your friend has a really interesting artifact from the D-Day drop.

    Regards ...
  6. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Hi Chuck,
    I have to say that those guys are interested in the artifacts for their $$ values more than their historical values....
    I heard recently the story of Glider Pilot Jock BRAMAH helmet (CN69). It was bought 10€ at a car boot sale and when the guy realised what he had in hand he sold it at about 3500€...to an antique shop....
    I don't like this personaly but in this world everything has a value...
    I would prefer thoses artifacts in museum. It would be better from the History perspective...

    but let's come back to the DZ flashes:
    7th Para: triangle
    8th Para: Circle
    what about the other battalions?
    1st canadian Para
    9th Para
    12th Para
    13th Para
    and what about the other units (engineers 591 Antrim and 3rd Squadron)...

    I know that very little is known about DZ flashes but let's look in our archives to have a better picture of all this.


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  7. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    In the other thread member wtid45 says he has the book "Drop Zone Flashes of The British Airborne Forces" which contains some info on WW2 DZ flashes. I'm looking for the easy way forward here ... :)

    Regards ...
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  8. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Here's a still showing men of the 5th Parachute Brigade HQ entering their transport at Harwell to take them to the Fairford Airfield as pointed out by brithm in the other thread. They are wearing an oversmock painted with a white square and cross.

    Landing Craft - Gliders (1944) - 7.31.49.jpg

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    A couple of photos from Operation Varsity with DZ flashes similar to the one submitted by Ludo.The first from brithm's Twitter feed said to be taken by Pte. Bamber of 224 PFA. The second from Alex's Paradata link above showing men by an aircraft before takeoff. Note the tall slim figure to the right wearing a Reverend's collar. I am hoping it is Captain/Reverend J. W. Kenny (224 PFA) since we don't have a photo of him in the 6th Airborne Padre thread.

    DZ Flash by Medic Pte. Bamber-2.jpg Varsity  DZ Flash-small.jpg Padre OP Varsity.jpg

    Regards ...
  11. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    I think the smock is 8th Parachute Battalion a similar smock appears in Olivier Richard's book The 6th Airborne from Normandy to the Baltic Pegasus 1944 found at Touffreville which is right next to 8 Para's Drop Zone K. I think it was Pte. T.E. Brown's from A Company, 8 Para, he was wounded on 16th June 1944.

    I think it confirms it is an 8 Para smock which No. 2 Section, 224th Parachute Field Ambulance was attached.
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  12. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    5E83B4E0-C652-44F9-BE80-90BC1F8C1EB4.jpeg 5D2DF25D-DBC0-43B9-A457-DD28D79164E1.jpeg 69365A64-4B78-4E4C-86F2-64B289B1B544.jpeg QUOTE="Cee, post: 797629, member: 19891"]Ludo,

    In the other thread member wtid45 says he has the book "Drop Zone Flashes of The British Airborne Forces" which contains some info on WW2 DZ flashes. I'm looking for the easy way forward here ... :)

    Regards ...[/QUOTE]
    Yes I do...and from Drop Zone Flashes of the British Airborne Forces by Charles A. Edwards I can offer this.
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  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Ooooooops the description under the photo of the smock states that Operation Varsity was March 1944 :blush::whistle:

  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi wtid45,

    That's wonderful, thank you so much for the scans. I wasn't at all aware that some units used a 2"x2" square sewn to the right shoulder. Hopefully we can find more photos of DZ flashes.

    Regards ...
  15. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Hi Brithm,

    the mark on S/Sgt Williamson oversmock and the one on Pte Brown smock are the same
  16. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Hi all,
    one further question: Would the flash be different for each operational jump?
  17. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I don't really know but it would make sense they remained the same? It appears with some units they were transitioning to the smaller DZ flash which became common postwar. My father, a platoon Sergeant, wore the DZ flash of the 7th Parachute Battalion on the Varsity drop. He wrote in one short account:

    "When we jump into action all Sergeants and Officers have a circle or half circle pointed above their regimental colours on their jumping jackets. This tells the guys who you are and that way we can make a fighting party together until we get to our particular battalions or company. I collected a few guys from A Company and proceed to our area."

    He mentions the half circle and regimental colour, which was green in 7 Para's case, but not the triangle, though I suspect it would have been the same.

    Attached is an enlarged photo (H 39064) of Paras during preparations before take off on the evening of June 5th, 1944. I always thought the Para in the middle of the foreground group was holding up a flag. If you look closely, however, there appears to be a tail attached at bottom. So perhaps an oversmock with a Pegasus symbol? unfortunately the IWM doesn't tell us much about the photo though it could be men from the 22nd Independent Parachute Company (Pathfinders)?

    H 39064-Large.jpg

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  18. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Dear Chuck,

    You are right, on the picture there are 2 interesting details:
    upload_2018-8-31_2-53-7.png in the background upload_2018-8-31_2-54-4.png in the foreground
    the squadron code being 8Z this means we are at Harwell airfield with 295 Squadron
    And if not mistaken the sticks that flew from harwell with 295 Squadron were:
    2 sticks: 22nd Independant Coy
    1 stick: 9th Para
    1 stick: 8 the Para
    7 sticks: C Coy 1st Canadian Para

  19. Ludo68000

    Ludo68000 Junior Member

    Dear all,
    another detail about S/Sgt Williamson oversmock.
    If you look closely on the tail you can see:
    would the two painted strips mean something?
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  20. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    With that many units leaving from Harwell Airfield identifying that particular group might prove difficult. I'm not sure what those two strips are on the Williamson oversmock. They wouldn't be visible once hooked up. Your flap is folded back showing the inside. Here's one with the flap to the front showing how it snaps together.

    British Airborne Oversmock-1.jpg

    Regards ...

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