Can you help me identify these WW2 Medals and beret?

Discussion in 'Medals' started by xenophon2012, May 22, 2012.

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  1. Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of ARRSE,

    Please may I enlist your help in identifying some medals and a beret of my Grandfather who fought in WW2.

    Medals first.

    I have identified 4 out of 5 medals. In order (L to R): 1939-1945 Star, North Africa Star, Italy Star, Unknown medal, 1939-1945 War Medal.

    Can anyone identify the unknown one?

    We think it might be the Defence Medal but the colours do not correspond, this medal has yellow in the ribbon, yet the Defence Medal does not?

    My Dad Photo from Army 001.jpg

    Also, we have this photo of Grandad. We are puzzled to why he is wearing a light coloured beret with his Royal Engineer badge? My husband says that Royal Engineers wear a navy blue beret and think it may be an early SAS one? There is a rumour within the family that he was in the early SAS but no one knows for you. We would like to find out if there are any other reasons he would be in North Africa with this coloured beret?

    Grandad WW2.jpg

    Many thanks for your help

    Wife of Xenophon2012
     
  2. Looks like the defence medal. Have you the actual medal or just the picture?
     
  3. Personally I would say it is the defence medal without a doubt. If you are just looking at the picture, the yellow is just the way the photography is. If you have the actual medal with yellow in it, then things could get interesting.
     
  4. Thanks for the response.

    Firstly, we don't have the medals anymore as they were taken away never to be seen again by one of his girlfriends in his later years. We only have that photograph to show what medals he has. We think it it the Defence medal but the colours just don't seem right. We have looked up on various website and can't find anything that looks like it, other than the Defence Medal. Was asking incase it was an esoteric medal awarded for something else (we know he continued to serve after the end of WW2).

    We are certain that he was a Royal Engineer as we have his service record card as well as some memorabilia from his time in North Africa which has Royal Engineers written all over them. He never spoke to anyone about his time in WW2 or anything he did, just that he knew lots of people who were killed (like many WW2 veterans did for sure). It was only a passing comment from his brother to my father years ago that he was in the 'early SAS'. By all accounts he was a very hard tough man, raised in in Glasgow, fought in WW2 and eventually retired in Borehamwood.

    Thanks for your comments

    Wife of Xenophon2012
     
  5. Weren't most berets khaki during WW2?
     
  6. I think it's the Defence Medal. Here's my Grand-dad's mini's:
    [​IMG]
    I think the Defence Medal is the one next to the Italy star.
     
  7. I would agree about the Defence Medal, the yellow colour may just be a combination of a poor quality colour picture?
     
  8. the order is right as well for the defence medal - just before the war medal.
    If you have his service number then you can get his units from MOD - obvious maybe, but thought i would mention it.
     
  9. We've submitted a request to the records office for his full service record but we are waiting for a reply (been waiting nearly a year).

    Thanks very much for all the comments - having looked at almost every medal ribbon going we think this can be the only option. It really helps to know that it is in the correct position (prior to war medal).

    Thanks again.

    Can anyone shed any light on the beret? Why is it a light coloured one? Would certain units have a different colour to the rest of the Royal Engineers?
     
  10. It's a Defence Medal for certain. It's difficult to ascertain colours from b/w images, but he's not RAF, that's for sure. He might possibly have been an attached arm to one of the cavalry regiments - some of whom wore odd-coloured berets and beret-like caps. The army in general did not wear berets at that time, so it could be narrowed down. It could, however, be a maroon beret. I must admit it does look rather like an SAS beret and it's certainly possible - even with an RE badge. I don't know what the protocols regarding 'badging' within the fledgeling regiment was at that time, but I'm sure someone will be able to assist. SASRA might be worth approaching on this.
     
  11. Could well be maroon.
     
  12. Thanks very much.

    We are in the process of writing to the SASRA but just wanted to make sure we weren't wasting our time with them, e.g. another more regular unit wore a similar beret.

    Thanks to you and everyone for your help and advice.
     
  13. When berets were first introduced as general wear for the Army (replacing the GS cap and the FS cap), they were all khaki (aside from Paras and Tankies). I think the picture just shows him wearing one of these first berets.

    The medal in questions is without doubt a Defence Medal - it's just dodgy old style photo printing that's given it the yellow tinge.