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The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

Article about: Hi Jelle, that is a great example. Very nice! Cheers, Ade.

  1. #1

    Default The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Hi Guys, I think this has to be the most famous item of headgear worn by the British Army. Now copied by almost every other modern army in the world for their Airborne Forces!

    The story behind it adoption in 1942 is well known but perhaps is worth repeating here. Prior to this date the new Airborne Forces had worn the FS cap or head dress of their former Corps. However General "Boy" Browning was keen to introduce a new distinctive item of headgear for this new force. His family used a blue and maroon - red racing colours for their jockeys. A parade was organised with prototype berets in different colours. Browning's wife the famous novelist Daphne du Maurier was said to have picked the red beret. How true it all is, I don't know? But it makes a good story.

    Here is an original beret from my collection. Worn by all British Airborne forces and not just the Parachute Regt.

    If you intend to buy a red beret study these pictures well or any other WW2 British beret. They are all made the same way. These berets are very popular with collectors. Fakes and alterations abound!

    Cheers, Ade.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Here is my most treasured item. This very beret was worn by my friend Don Turner at Arnhem in Sept 1944 while serving with the Pathfinders of XXI Indep. Para. Coy.

    Being so well used the weave pattern is easily seen on the crown.

    Cheers, Ade.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Here is that very beret in wear in 1942 by Don.

    Cheers, Ade.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Another showstopper Ade ! How do you follow that !! Respect to Don , and his beret ,

    cheers Al

  5. #5

    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Hi Al, glad you like it.

    I will pass on your regards to Don. I will be seeing him at the XXI Pathfinder Reunion next month. I am an honourary member of their association and their Newsletter editor.

    I also have a few other small items of Don's which he has kindly given me. He still wears his original cap badge.

    Cheers, Ade.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Ade , Don hasn`t changed a bit

    cheers Al

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Great posts Ade probably one of the most iconic pieces of British headgear , and a very hard earned piece

    My original still has pride of place i still remember what it took to get it,

    Don still looks fit as a fiddle

    regards

    Paul
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Ade,
    Remembering back a while, .. was Don the owner of that FS knife that disappeared then turned up again ??

    Was there a result in it's return ?

    Gary J.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Hi Gary, yes that's right. It was not returned as of when I last spoke to Don.

    Cheers, Ade.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The WW2 British Airborne Forces Red Beret

    Apart from the fact that you got the second from Don himself,both berets are real gems!Berets as early dated as these and in this nicely worn condition are today almost impossible to find and very expensive if one turns up at all.Here are mine,not half as nice as yours but hope you like them anyway.
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