Old 08-08-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
canadiancitizen
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Default SWW British units that are hard to find examples of.

For those who may be collectors, I thought I would mention some of the "rare " unit insignias that most have never seen .

The Glider Pilots Regiment.

A very small total number of men were cross trained, to be able to pilot wooden glider aircraft, that carried either soldiers, or in some cases equipment, into battle. The Glider Pilots were all experienced Sgts, usually from an Infantry background, who were selected to be trained to fly either the Horsa or the Hamilcar gliders.

The pilots were trained to be abe to take off, being towed by usually a Douglas DC 3, or a older obsolete bomber. The tow rope was about 500 feet long, and as the glider approached the landing ground, the Glider Pilot released the tow, by pulling a handle in his cockpit, and then they dropped towards the LG. Selected landing grounds were usually open pastures, but on at least one operation, the target was a vital bridge, on D Day. The OX and Bucks Regiment, was tasked with seizing this bridge , and holding it, until the landing forces could come up from the beach and take over.

That was one of the most sucessful operations on June the 6th, and the bridge, was renamed "Pegasus Bridge " in light of the Pegasus badge that the airbourne glider troops wore in that battle. A complete and professional job, from start to finish.

Next I will mention the Kangaroo Carrier Regiment. The only SWW ALLIED unit that was stood up, fought, and was stood down, ENTIRELY in the field.

In the North West Europe battles, a lot of the land had been flooded by the Germans, to make Allied progress slower, and much more difficult, as it was winter time. The Kangaroos were modified tanks that had their turrets removed, and their hulls cut open, to make them troop carriers, able to carry up to 30 men, with a crew of three. With a water proofed hull they had the ability to "swim across a river or a canal ". The Canadians took a large number of their old and tired tanks, cut them down and sealed the hulls, and gave them new engine power packs, and voila, the Kangaroos were born.

Both the Glider Pilots Regiment and The Kangaroos had plastic ( actually called Bakelight back then ) badges. To day they are the proverbial "hens teeth " as far as collectors are concerned. Unfortunately, as they were made of plastic, fakes show up quite often.

A final mention. The Royal Navy had a very secret unit called X boats, that were in fact minature, three man submarines, that were designed for attacking ships in harbour, with limpet mines, on timers. I have a fair bit of nerve, but I can say, without hesitation, that these guys had to have huge clangers.

Imagine being launched at sea, from a larger RN sub, and crawling at TWO knots, on electric battery power, into a French harbour, at night, trying to navigate by feel and tide, to get along side a ship, where the diver would go out the hatch, in a rubber suit, and attach the magnetic mine to the ships hull , under the water line. Timers are set for six hours, so lets get out of here !!

The X boats were a suicide mission for sure, but they also scored some big hits. About 80 percent of the RN crews didn't come back, due to equpment failures, being detected and depth charged, or simply "vanished on patrol ".

The RN had a small, privately issued X boats badge, issued after the war was over, that was given to the families of the dead men. One of those would be VERY rare, today.

Jim B

Toronto.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:28 AM   #2
Seroster
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Hi Jim,

Were the glider pilots' badges different from that of the British 6th Airborne Division (pegasus with a rider brandishing a spear)?

I don't know if it was an X boat per se but I was just reading about a British mini sub that had been waiting submerged at Juno beach to help guide some landing craft in.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:57 AM   #3
Temujin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seroster View Post
Hi Jim,

Were the glider pilots' badges different from that of the British 6th Airborne Division (pegasus with a rider brandishing a spear)?

I don't know if it was an X boat per se but I was just reading about a British mini sub that had been waiting submerged at Juno beach to help guide some landing craft in.
Glider Pilots insignia:




The Army Flying Badge was a skill-at-arms badge that was originally worn by 1st Glider Pilots and Air Observation Post officers. It was awarded after completing a course at either the Glider Training School or the AOP pilot's course. The badge was worn on the left breast. The badge was approved under ACI 768/1942 and remains in use (2013) mainly worn by Army pilots flying helicopters.



http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30080294


Blouse, Battledress, 1940 pattern: Sergeant, Glider Pilot Regiment

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Old 08-11-2017, 10:13 AM   #4
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Staff Sgt. Bone, RAF Glider Pilot Regiment and two members of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in Normandy.


BATTERY (D-1)
"B" Squadron

Glider 134

2162088 S/Sgt Bone S.G.
941827 Sgt Dean L.G.

Operation that S/Sgt Bone and Sgt Dean took part in:

B. MILITARY

1. Composition
(a) Three HORSA gliders numbers 27, 28 and 28A, from B Sqn at Brize Norton, towed by three ALBEMARLES from 297 Sqn, Brize Norton.
(b) Glider Crews - Owing to the extreme risk of this operation, Col. G.J.S. Chatterton DSO, Comd Glider Pilots, called for volunteers making it clear that it was a very dangerous mission. The following glider pilots took part in the operation:-

3387884 S/Sgt Kerr D.F. (1st pilot) B Son, Glider No 27
957301 Sgt Walker H. (2nd pilot) B Sqn., Glider No 27
2162082 S/Sgt Bone S.G. (1st pilot) B Sqn., Glider No 28
941827 Sgt Dean L.G. (2nd pilot) B Sqn., Glider No 28
1916518 S/Sgt Baldwin A.C. (1st pilot) B Sqn., Glider No 28A
5255333 Sgt Michie J.H.R. (2nd pilot) B , Glider No 28A

(c) Troops carried. Assault party from 9 Para Bn (3 Para Bde).

2. Task
To land inside the perimeter of a minefield, and barbed wire, and annihilate the four gun coastal bty, with support from 9 Para Bn. previously dropped outside the perimeter.

3. Execution (see Appx "A" att).
i. All three tug/glider combinations took off from Brize Norton at 2245 hrs on 5 Jun 44 (D - 1 day) according to plan. Glider No28A released over England, owing to technical difficulties, and landed at FORD at 2300 hrs. Glider No.28 crash landed 600 - 800 yds outside the objective. Time in unloading 15 mins.
ii. Enemy opposition consisted of light flak on the coast, MG and mortar fire during landing and unloading directed against the gliders. The Bty, whose crews were inside concrete casemates and shelters were attacked by 9 Para Bn party, and were silenced by 0445 hrs.

4. Evacuation
The four glider pilots who took part in the assault escorted prisoners taken to 9 Para Bn H.Q. and made their way to the RV area. On their way they encountered two enemy patrols, and took some prisoners after ambushing a section. They were then held by what they considered was mortar fire but later turned out to be two enemy tanks. S/Sgt Bone went for reinforcements and returned with 12 Canadian Paratps armed with three piats. But as they were still unable to get through to their RV area, the pilots returned to 9 Para Bn and PWs, and this time were successful in reaching RV 'JOHN' and 6 Air Div HQ at RANVILLE, at 1800 hrs, 6 Jun. The next morning they moved with the whole detachment of glider pilots, and reached the beachhead at OUISTREHAM without casualties and embarked for the UK at 1315 hrs, 8 Jun 44.

5. Conclusions
This operation did not succeed owing to bad weather and the fact that the ground signals were not available. Nevertheless the glider pilots put up an extremely gallant attempt, taking on an operation which they knew to be hazardous.

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Old 08-11-2017, 01:01 PM   #5
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Interesting info, for the "2nd" Pilot in a glider, he recieved a different badge:



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Old 08-11-2017, 01:03 PM   #6
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Worn by the Glider Pilot Regiment during World War II

Last edited by Temujin : 08-11-2017 at 01:06 PM.
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