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The only other badge I can think of is an early No.4 Cdo badge -

Thanks Guy.
I could 'see' a sheep but thought it had irs head down. I'd looked at QRR but it didn't look right.
Great work, thank you again.

Hi Christophe,

I see now that you were not talking about a formation patch as I thought, but a shoulder title - the curved cloth badge at the very top of the shoulder...

I have not seen a SS Brigade shoulder title but I have seen quite dreadful reproductions of First Commando Brigade titles!

christophe wrote:Do you think the fighting units had the "commando" badge and the members of the HQ the "SS" badge?

The Commando units did have shoulder titles with 'Commando' on - but they were told to remove them before going into battle. Had they been taken prisoner wearing that title they would have been executed under Hitler's Kommandobefehl...
The term SS Brigade (Special Service Brigade) was dropped and replaced by Commando Brigade in December 1944.

The photo of the statue of Bill Millin has the Combined Ops badge facing the wrong way - the Tommy Gun should always face forward.


hi Pete, I meant Pat Churchill in my email the other day - but I put Frank - who is, of course, Pat's son...


Hi Christophe,

I think the badge you are talking about is a formation patch for the Special Service Brigade HQ...

see below:

Kevin, the badge you pictured is a Commando Association cap badge - not unlike the No.2 Cdo Officer's cap badge, the difference being the word 'COMMANDO' across the top.


Hi KH,

Again not my subject really but I had a quick look and came up with this information...


Just a reminder to all CVA Associate Members that your elected representative, Phil Spring, would like to hear from you...

The 2018 AGM of the CVA is swiftly approaching and, as your voice, Phil needs your feedback...



Does James Thomas have any idea which regiment Bob Tout was in - his cap badge is certainly not that of the French Commando Troops - neither is that of the commando on the far right.

Greatcoats were not worn by commandos, however there are photos of Norwegian commandos wearing greatcoats at Westkapelle - the sergeant on the left isn't a French commando (cap badge) but it is just possible that he is a Norwegian commando.

Thanks Guy.

It amused me to see there was only Other Rank in the team - it reminded me of a young Flying Officer who was posted in to RAF Brampton when I was serving there in the late 70's.

This young officer, who eventually went on to achieve the rank of Air Commodore, decided that he couldn't join the RAF Brampton Cricket Team - as there Airmen (ORs) in the Team...


Hi Nina,

Once again, thank you for the photos - we know exactly what the memorial is! It's the 1 Commando Brigade Monument, Amfreville, Normandy. And as we do have some photos of it already, your father's photos will compliment them very nicely...

Just to clear up any confusion, there were four Special Service Brigades but, because the names were abbreviated to S.S. Brigades, it was decided to change them to Commando Brigades...



Thanks to the input of DannyL and Guy, I think it is fair to say that your father served within the Intelligence Section of 1 Special Service Brigade HQ.
A number of commandos who can be seen in the group photo with your father, can also be seen in other photos - which we believe to be of 1 Special Service Brigade HQ.

For comparison I have numbered the commandos in the group photo and include the links to the photos with some of them in...

#1 & #2 are in this photo

#6 is on the far left of this photo:

With a bit more time and with closer scrutiny I'm sure we'll find more...


attached are two photos of a WWII Royal Signals cap badge - on the second photo I have'removed' the outer circle...


There aren't many clear photos of the cap badge but I think this one may give you a clearer idea...

Hi Antoine,

I'm not an expert on insignia but as I understand it, during WWII some members of the Royal Corps of Signals took it upon themselves to 'adapt' the cap badge.
As you say, the brass outer circle was removed.

I attach a photo of the intact cap badge (King's Crown) and you can see that if the outer ring is removed there would be no scroll & motto...

I believe the current cap badge of Jimmy and scroll and motto (as you've included above) was introduced in 1946...


Hi Katie,

Welcome to the CVA Website and Forums. I hope we can help you find out about your grandfather.
You say, 'from what I gather, he was a Royal Marine Commando...'

The thing is, in WWII not all Royal Marines were Commandos (as they are now).
It could be that he was a Royal Marine but he may not have been a RM Commando...
Your mum said he talked about Egypt and you mention the name Sphinx - HMS Sphinx was the name given to a RN accommodation camp in Alexandria, Egypt, from April 1941.

As a brief explanation there now follows a short history lesson...

The Royal Marines can trace their roots back to 1664, however, this body of 'sea soldiers' was not known as The Royal Marine until 1755. At this time they were, basically, ship borne light infantry troops.
Around 1804, there was a need for artillery trained soldiers to man the 'bomb ketches' thus the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) was established. As their uniforms were the blue of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, this group was nicknamed the "Blue Marines" and the Infantry element, who wore the scarlet uniforms of the British infantry, became known as the "Red Marines".

In 1855, the Marine Infantry forces were renamed Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI).

In 1919, the 6th Battalion RMLI mutinied and was disbanded at Murmansk.
The RMA and RMLI were amalgamated on 22 June 1923.

In 1940 the first Commando Units were established - but these were made up from individual volunteers from all the regiments & Corps in the Army
In May '42, Mountbatten requested permission be granted for the Special Service Brigade ( later to be known as Commando Brigade) to wear distinctive headdress. In October the same year, permission was granted "for the wearing of a green beret by personnel of the Special Service Brigade..."

In early 1942, Churchill wanted more Commando units to be formed and queried why there was so many Royal Marines on the HBL (Home Base Ledger) - personnel serving within the UK.
In February 1942, a unit known as The RM Commando was formed, it was briefly known as "A" RM Commando before being designated 40 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines. It was the only Royal Marine Commando formed entirely from volunteers as with the Army Commandos.

On 8 July 1943, His Majesty The King gave his approval for the issue of a blue beret to be worn by Royal Marines.
From 14 August 1943, all RM officers and Other Ranks serving in Special Service Force will wear a green beret in lieu of the RM blue beret.

A further eight RM infantry Battalions were converted, as a whole unit, to become RM Commandos - the last, 48 RM Commando, finishing a shortened commando course days before D-Day.

Because of the expansion of the Special Service Force, four Special Service Brigades were formed. Each consisted of four Commando Units - usually a combination of Army & RM Commandos [eg 3 SS Brigade consisted of: No.1 Commando, No.5 Commando, 42 RM Commando & 44 RM Commando] These Special Service Brigades were later changed to Commando Brigades.

At the end of hostilities the, irregular, Army Commandos were disbanded and the commando role was handed to the Royal Marine Corps. Gradually all RMs underwent Commando training until, in 1964, all Royal Marines had been commando trained and the title RM Commando was dropped and all personnel were now entitled to wear the coveted green beret...

So what about your grandfather, Bernard Murray...

Well the only way to find out about him is to read his service records. Unfortunately we, the CVA, are not privy to WWII records - the only custodian of WWII Service Records is the MoD! The good news is that your family can apply to the MoD for a scan of the original, handwritten service records of your grandfather.
There is a one off fee of 30 and you'll need a copy of your grandfather's death certificate and to fill out two forms but you will find out more info and give you a better idea of what your grandfather did and how to build on your research...

Here are the links to the forms that you'll need - they are fairly straight forward but should youneed any help - than we're here to help...

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