Beret Cap Badges and Backing Patches in Northern Ireland

needlewaver

War Hero
It was a mixture for us. We wore black painted cap badges in NI on the first couple of tours I did but on my third and last one, they were left unpainted.

This was in the seventies from 73 to 77. The battalion then buggered off to Hong Kong for a couple of years but on it’s return to NI in the early eighties, unpainted cap badges were again worn.

Didn’t everybody then start wearing helmets at some stage in the early eighties?
We had a Colour Serjeant Provo in Germany who must have been on Long Service; i seem to recall that he was from the "old" 2 RGJ, as he always wore a black capbadge, and apparently that was their gig?
 
Blackened cap badges on my first 2 tours.

Didn’t everybody then start wearing helmets at some stage in the early eighties?
Would probably been the latter part of the 80's after steel topies were replaced.

Cutting about W. Belfast for 4 months with one of them on your napper would have been a f***ing nightmare.
 
We had a Colour Serjeant Provo in Germany who must have been on Long Service; i seem to recall that he was from the "old" 2 RGJ, as he always wore a black capbadge, and apparently that was their gig?
I was in 1RGJ. I’ve heard that in the past but I never came across it when I was in the mob. The few times I came across 2nd Battalion guys, at depot etc, everybody was wearing the silver badge. Check out “RGJ Photos” on google and in the 2nd Battalion section, all the cap badges are silver except when in NI.

It is a fact though that the 2nd Battalion was descended from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps who’s cap badge was a black one.

I think you will find that some individuals when they could just did it to be different using their KRRC roots as justification. It was a bit like wearing the cap badge over the left ear. Many Riflemen in all three battalions did it because they were never picked up on it.

Strictly speaking, like the rest of the army, they were supposed to wear it over the left eye.
 
The RCT had cloth cap badges any, nothing to do with their extensive patrolling in the badlands of NI. :roll:
 
Certainly on my first tour (88-89), we wore berets with a blackened cap badge on rural patrols. ISTR usually wearing helmets when patrolling the town, but sometimes (just for s***s and giggles) we would wear Beret and Hackle.
Helmets seemed to be the norm after that. We had DZ flashes on our helmets, but I can't remember exactly when that started, sometime around the mid nineties.
 
The RCT had cloth cap badges any, nothing to do with their extensive patrolling in the badlands of NI. :roll:
Just who was it driving Saracens in rural areas then?8O
 
Blackened cap badges on my first 2 tours.



Would probably been the latter part of the 80's after steel topies were replaced.

Cutting about W. Belfast for 4 months with one of them on your napper would have been a f***ing nightmare.
‘86 - ‘88 we wore berets in Belfast unless you were top cover, driver or Rover Gp as I recall.
 
Didn’t everybody then start wearing helmets at some stage in the early eighties?
As I recall berets were worn on normal patrols throughout most of the Troubles, with the exception of riot situations (when "NATO" riot helmets, which replaced the Mk 4 helmets from about 1972 I think, were worn) or as top cover in Land Rovers.

I seem to recall the routine wearing of helmets didn't start until the introduction of the Mk 6 in about 19876/7 perhaps. A big thing was made at the time of the 1994 ceasefire when routine patrols stopped wearing helmets and started wearing berets, the media made this out to be a huge step in de-escalating the conflict, presumably unaware that this is how the British Army patrolled throughout the worst of the Troubles, even in South Armagh.
 
Just who was it driving Saracens in rural areas then?8O
It was of course RCT drivers. That said in Crossmaglen in 1973/74, we travelled either by helicopter or walked (often running) when we left the base. The roads were considered too dangerous for routine patrolling using vehicles.

There were a couple of exceptions to that rule. Firstly in the middle of the tour, a couple of stripped down land rovers were driven into the base and we patrolled all over the area in them. We kept them for two weeks and then we got rid of them and went back to walking and catching rides in helicopters.

The drivers were Green Jackets.

Secondly there was a saracen on the base manned by an RCT driver but the vehicle only ever left the base on probably three occasions that I can remember on that tour. The driver had probably the easiest NI tour that I can imagine.

That said, it mostly wasn’t anywhere near as cosy as that generally for RCT drivers. in 1981, a Saracen callsign 42F with four Green Jackets and an RCT driver were killed by a culvert landmine not far from Bessbrook while out on a patrol.

Every year, we remember the four Green Jackets and we remember the RCT driver, Dvr Paul Bulman, as one of our own because he lost his life with them on that day.
 
Beret badges? The 1st Indian Horse din' need no steenkin' beret badges!
 
Secondly there was a saracen on the base manned by an RCT driver but the vehicle only ever left the base on probably three occasions that I can remember on that tour.
I am sure that our RCT chap volunteered for foot / mobile (land rover) patrols when the Saracen was not required. (I am thinking Rosemount and just one Saracen based there - more often used to transport arrestees than anything else iirc).
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
There was an experimental RA woven cap badge by one regiment but it was swiftly dropped
 
Just who was it driving Saracens in rural areas then?8O
Let’s not get into big timing, troggy, trog, trogster, sat in a cab is not patrolling, otherwise the milkman and postman would be patrolling.
 
I am sure that our RCT chap volunteered for foot / mobile (land rover) patrols when the Saracen was not required. (I am thinking Rosemount and just one Saracen based there - more often used to transport arrestees than anything else iirc).
How did you put up with the constant whining?
 

Smeggers

ADC
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
We did? I did an 8Bde tour in '81 none to be seen then.
Scaley cloth cap badge circa 1978-80
royal-signals-on-blue-circle-queens-crown-woven-other-ranks-cap-badge.jpg
whoever thought of putting them on a circle was an idiot of the first water. Surely it would have been better on a triangle. Those of us that had these miserable excuses for badges, used to cut them to the shape we wanted. Unfortunately, there were several shouty people who didn't like the look of them and we were ordered to get a proper "Jimmy" on our berets. The trouble with "Jimmy" was, he got caught up on everything from cam-nets to suspender belts. The badge got broken at the ankle so often, you couldn't glue them and had to pay a visit to the QM.
 

ColdWarWorrier

Old-Salt
It was of course RCT drivers. That said in Crossmaglen in 1973/74, we travelled either by helicopter or walked (often running) when we left the base. The roads were considered too dangerous for routine patrolling using vehicles.

There were a couple of exceptions to that rule. Firstly in the middle of the tour, a couple of stripped down land rovers were driven into the base and we patrolled all over the area in them. We kept them for two weeks and then we got rid of them and went back to walking and catching rides in helicopters.

The drivers were Green Jackets.

Secondly there was a saracen on the base manned by an RCT driver but the vehicle only ever left the base on probably three occasions that I can remember on that tour. The driver had probably the easiest NI tour that I can imagine.

That said, it mostly wasn’t anywhere near as cosy as that generally for RCT drivers. in 1981, a Saracen callsign 42F with four Green Jackets and an RCT driver were killed by a culvert landmine not far from Bessbrook while out on a patrol.

Every year, we remember the four Green Jackets and we remember the RCT driver, Dvr Paul Bulman, as one of our own because he lost his life with them on that day.
By 1979 the Saracens at XMG had been fitted with anti-RPG mesh. One was kept at HMP Maze (Long Kesh) as a replacement if needed. The one at XMG was due for major servicing so the plan was to drive down late at night swap them over in the wee small hours and drive back under cover of darkness.

Our Tp SSgt decided he was the only one with enough experience to do the driving despite not having done any pre-tour driver training and not having driven a Saracen for many years (it was also the only time we saw him outside Long Kesh during the whole tour).

Anyway, super-experienced Saracen driver managed to stick the thing into a ditch on the way back, sparking a massive security operation to allow it to be recovered from bandit country in daylight. Cheers, Staff!

A962A38B-F17C-4C30-9F8A-B44FD909EA32.jpeg
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Scaley cloth cap badge circa 1978-80
View attachment 477855whoever thought of putting them on a circle was an idiot of the first water. Surely it would have been better on a triangle. Those of us that had these miserable excuses for badges, used to cut them to the shape we wanted. Unfortunately, there were several shouty people who didn't like the look of them and we were ordered to get a proper "Jimmy" on our berets. The trouble with "Jimmy" was, he got caught up on everything from cam-nets to suspender belts. The badge got broken at the ankle so often, you couldn't glue them and had to pay a visit to the QM.
I remember seeing lots of officers cutting about with those in BAOR
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Are you sure they weren’t the normal embroidered badges? I never had one of those cloth ones, nor the metal either.
Could be I just recall them being cloth, now you say I think your right, they may even have been wire on cloth.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top