Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of Allied Special Forces Insignia 1939 - 1948
Peter Taylor
Pen and Sword (
ISBN 9781781591239
RRP GBP £14.99


In the early years of World War 2 the Allied political leaders and military commanders realised that national morale could be restored by undertaking offensive actions against the Axis forces. The British had suffered humiliating defeats and morale was at an all-time low. In 1940 the British decided to go on the offensive with Churchill’s stirring “set Europe ablaze” speech.

The British were at this time unprepared for an all-out offensive so unconventional solutions and action was required. Hence the Allied Special Forces were born. A plethora of these forces were created each with a different role and task in mind. Some of the forces such as the Special Air Service (SAS) and the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) became household names but there were many others who were less famous.

These forces had their own identities and insignia and this book aims to catalogue them. Some of these badges can present elusive challenges for military badge collectors and others are far more readily available. This catalogue is undoubtedly the best reference volume on the subject and its coverage is extremely wide.

Given that some of these forces only existed for a short period of time the author has done a splendid task of locating examples of insignia and photographing them. The volume is an indispensable guide for any collector, military or special-forces enthusiast.

It is difficult to praise the author sufficiently as his work has yielded an outstanding reference manuscript. I found this book extremely interesting as it presents the insignia of all Special Forces associated with the Allied cause. It contains data on both the popular ones and those which are little known about. The numerous photographs enable the identification of badges and this work is undoubtedly the book to have on this subject.

July 2013