Question for Ron Goldstein

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Chris C, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi Ron,

    I've been reading "Birth of an Army" by war correspondent A. B. Austin, and he mentions "staff" of 78th Division referred to high ranking officers as "red flannel", as in, "don't go up to that OP, there's a lot of red flannel up there attracting attention". Is this a phrase you were familiar with? - I realize it may have been only been used by members of the divisional staff.

  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    The short answer is no, but then you have to realise that for the whole period between October 1942 & my eventual discharge in 1947 I was very much a lower ranker and we certainly never mixed with officers of the red-tabbed variety :)

    Best regards

    Chris C likes this.
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    An interesting story about the "Red Flannels" by a chap who served in the A&SH from the WW2 People's War site:-

    "On the training session on the boats, we landed on the Orkneys near Kirkwall. We were due to land in the Azores and were practising the landing.
    We had been told a lot of ‘Red Flannel’ (Generals etc who had red tabs on the collar) would be watching, plus the King and Churchill.
    Whatever we did we had to INGORE THEM and NOT stop to salute. The best order in the Army.

    During the Mock Battle I was sent as a runner with a message to another company. It was raining heavy all the time, so with head slightly down I set off.
    I went round a corner of a building and met and barged through, you’ve guessed it, the ‘Red Flannel Group’. I bet they wondered who the ‘maniac’ was.
    I skidded to a halt when I got to the other side of them when I remembered the orders to ignore them, which I did and carried on.
    It isn’t often you could knock the King and Churchill about and get away with it. I was obeying orders not to knock them about - but to ignore them.

    I didn’t stop long enough to get a medal or be knighted.

    A sequel to this story is, among the Officers was our Brigadier, and he recognised my shoulder flashes so knew my unit. Although the King and Churchill said nothing, a junior Officer apparently complained to the Brigadier who said he would look into it. He had seen me stop, think and then carry on, so he knew the score. He told our C/O not to make a fuss but to ‘go through the motions’. The first I heard about it was when my own officer saw me later and said, ‘I see you have been throwing your weight about, Walker, with the High Command’. He was laughing and told me not to worry as I’d only done what I’d been ordered to, to ignore them!

    I could have been hung, drawn and quartered".

    BBC - WW2 People's War - George Walker, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders - A story of my service career as requested by those who I hope enjoy it. Part 2
    mcan, Orwell1984, timuk and 2 others like this.
  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Thanks to you both!

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