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
British Army Cap Badges of the Second World War
By Peter Doyle and Chris Foster
Shire Collections (
ISBN 9780747810919
RRP GBP £14.99

Following on from their outstanding success with a similar book on First World War cap badges the authors have produced another volume on Second World War cap badges. The first volume was an excellent reference work and the second volume on Second World War cap badges is equally as good.

Cap badges are a vital form of insignia used by the British Army and they are used to identify military units. They embody the regimental “esprit du corps” and often reflect hard earned battle honours. Cap badges are very collectable and they are also very important tools for military history researchers and family historians.

A photograph of a soldier may display his cap badge and if it does so, then this information can prove to be very important as it indicates a service persons’ unit. Therefore the unit’s activities can be researched in order to give background data on the person photographed.

The development of the cap badge has a rich and varied tradition. This superb book describes and illustrates, in high quality colour images, the principal cap badges worn by the British Army in World War 2. There were numerous amalgamations, war-raised formations and special forces which only serve to enhance the wide array of cap badges. As such cap badges from this period have a surprising range from those worn by previous generations of soldiers. Like the first book, this volume contains many contemporary photographs and illustrations of the badges in use.

The purpose of the book is to describe and illustrate the main types of cap badges worn by the British Army in World War 2. It is targeted at both the historian and collector and as a companion to the first volume. The book reflects the many changes experienced by the Army in the run-up to the Second World War.

The army of 1939-45 was vastly different from that of the 1914-18 conflict as lessons had been learned from the latter and the newly introduced concept of mobile warfare was vitally important. The horsed cavalry regiments were transferred to armoured services or in the case of the yeomanry the artillery. New equipment, uniforms and headwear and new philosophies for wearing insignia were all gradually brought in. These issues are eloquently described in the narrative.

In short, this book is an outstanding guide, like the companion volume, for the recognition and identification of British Army cap badges of World War 2. For any serious collector or historian it is an essential “must have” edition to add to their library.

March 2012