SAS and red berets

During WWII am I correct in thinking the SAS wore red berets in Europe? or was it just the Belgians and French?

I can remember many years ago making up a tamiya model kit of SAS jeep and the paint instructions said red berets. I'm sure I also saw a programme about Operation Bullbasket where the re-enactment scenes showed the Troopers wearing red berets.
 

AT55

LE
I think they did. I recall that the NZSAS were still wearing the red beret until the mid eighties.
 

mick_sterbs

War Hero
In fact the cover of Gentleman Jim
SAS original, has a white beret on it

well my copy does and no, its not sun faded
 
;

I thought I had seen something similar in history books, a quick bit of googling reveals an interesting extract which does mention the SAS wearing red.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
IIRC, the SAS Bde in UK prior to D Day was part of the Airborne Army, and this was one of the points of contention between SAS and the Airborne types. The originals from Africa were used to doing their own thing and not conforming to sartorial direction from above. The Airborne brass won, and cherry lids all round for the holligans was the result.

The Regt(?) in the Med was still wearing sandy berets though.
 
To add to the above, orginally the SAS did inded wear white berets but so did some french para unit in North Africa which led to the odd post beer scuffle, so they then adopted the sandy job.

Themanwho has detailed the whole maroon beret bit, I do remember seing a picture in NW Europe of one of the Regts lined up where half wore maroon whlst the rest wore the orginal sandy beret. Also about this time the whole wings on chest issue was scuppered as well
 
The SAS wore White, but so did the SAS who were later became the Paras but called SAS during the early stages....

I am pretty sure the Belgian SAS wore red too.

No2 Commando SAS (or II SAS) became the training cadre that formed the Parachute Regiment, as we know it today. Bearing in mind that a lot of regiments were "parachute regiments" during hte war.

When the SAS were originally reformed in 1946 (with the Artist's Rifles) they wore Red too.
 
Themanwho said:
IIRC, the SAS Bde in UK prior to D Day was part of the Airborne Army, and this was one of the points of contention between SAS and the Airborne types. The originals from Africa were used to doing their own thing and not conforming to sartorial direction from above. The Airborne brass won, and cherry lids all round for the holligans was the result.
The Regt(?) in the Med was still wearing sandy berets though.

Program on Sky Military last night on Paddy Mayne confirmed this.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Well if it's on Sky it must be bolllocks so I unreservedly apologise for being so wrong!
 
Weren't the Paras and the SAS originally part of the Army Air Corps and was the Red Beret not the Original AAC headrest.
That is until post WW II when the Paras nicked the Red Beret and the AAC settled for PowderPUFF Blue ?
john
Young Will was told the above when as a baby REME he served with his first AAC unit.
 
AT55 said:
I think they did. I recall that the NZSAS were still wearing the red beret until the mid eighties.

it was more of a dark-purplely-maroon thing, with a jutting jaw and staunch attitude it was just the thing for strutting around burnam camp impressing young sprogs.
 
jonwilly said:
Weren't the Paras and the SAS originally part of the Army Air Corps and was the Red Beret not the Original AAC headrest.
That is until post WW II when the Paras nicked the Red Beret and the AAC settled for PowderPUFF Blue ?
john
Young Will was told the above when as a baby REME he served with his first AAC unit.

Yes, with a couple of corrections.

RED berets are worn by the RMP, the true colour is Maroon. The Maroon beret was the beret of the Army Air Corps.

All "airbourne" units were brought under the remit of the Army Air Corps during WW2, however, this did NOT include the SAS as a whole.

The reason you sometimes see SAS guys wearing the maroon beret during WW2 is because they were attached to units that were part of the Airbourne assault that included the Paras, all of the other airbourne units and the GPR. They wore the SAS cap badge with their attached units beret.

After the AAC and the GPR were disbanded, the Parachute Regiment adopted the maroon beret and carried on the tradition that has now permeated within the Air Assault units.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a veteran SAS guy at Arnheim for the last 2 years, he wears the maroon beret as it was the one he had on when he dropped due to being attached to the AAC at the time. He was 1 intake away from being an "original".
 
The Free French SAS wore a black beret with a cut-off para reg insignia (no crown) until November 1944 when they then switched to maroon beret with SAS cloth badge.
 

Eggbanjo

War Hero
Aunty Stella said:
jonwilly said:
Weren't the Paras and the SAS originally part of the Army Air Corps and was the Red Beret not the Original AAC headrest.
That is until post WW II when the Paras nicked the Red Beret and the AAC settled for PowderPUFF Blue ?
john
Young Will was told the above when as a baby REME he served with his first AAC unit.

Yes, with a couple of corrections.

RED berets are worn by the RMP, the true colour is Maroon. The Maroon beret was the beret of the Army Air Corps.

All "airbourne" units were brought under the remit of the Army Air Corps during WW2, however, this did NOT include the SAS as a whole.

The reason you sometimes see SAS guys wearing the maroon beret during WW2 is because they were attached to units that were part of the Airbourne assault that included the Paras, all of the other airbourne units and the GPR. They wore the SAS cap badge with their attached units beret.

After the AAC and the GPR were disbanded, the Parachute Regiment adopted the maroon beret and carried on the tradition that has now permeated within the Air Assault units.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a veteran SAS guy at Arnheim for the last 2 years, he wears the maroon beret as it was the one he had on when he dropped due to being attached to the AAC at the time. He was 1 intake away from being an "original".

I refer the honourable gentleman to the following post (from several years ago) regarding the AAC and who came first :wink:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/p=77057.html#77057
 
G

GLESGA-NED

Guest
The SAS tree jumpers also wore maroon berets in the Malayan emergency in the 1950s.
 
The SAS started wearing the maroon beret when both regiments moved to the UK in early 1944 and come under the command of Airborne Forces. As several posters have stated it was not popular and the beige beret made reappearances on the heads of several old hands. However the beige beret was not officially readopted until 1957.
 

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