~ COMBINED OPERATIONS INSIGNIA ~
IN DAY TO DAY USE
On this 'Combined Operations Insignia In Use' page
you'll find a wide variety of examples of the Combined Operations Insignia in
use from the 1940s to the present day. If you have any examples you're happy to
share, please send them in with a brief note for possible addition to this page.
Also of possible interest are;
History of Insignia,
Insignia Specimens &
Lt D A Grant
George Smith, Stoker 1st class, C/KX571807. Stoker Smith served on
landing craft in WW2 including in Burma. He was so proud of his service in
the Combined Operations Command that he made his own shield which
stood above a passage door for all to see.
It now sits proudly in my dining room and often causes comment and
questions particularly from youngsters.
Stacey Davies, Granddaughter.
L Gooch, US Navy. The American version of the
Combined Operations badge can clearly be seen in this wartime photo high on
James' left arm. James originally joined the United States Navy in 1933, and
after 4 years service returned to Oklahoma where he opened an auto parts
store. He re-enlisted in 1939 serving on the USS Charles S. Sperry DD-967 as
a gunner's mate and on other ships working as a postal clerk and achieving
the rank of Chief Postal Inspector. He retired from the US Navy in 1974 as a
Master Chief with 39 years of active service to his country
Operations; The No. 1 Navy Ball Team 1944 at Comox, British Columbia. Note the Combined Ops badge on
Back row, left to right: Unknown, E.
Chambers, Alec Bruce,
George Hobson & Chuck Rose. Front row, left
to right: Unknown,
Jim Malone, Doug
Harrison, Art Warrick & Joe Spencer.
Thomas Arnold John Jones (Arnie) No. KX 525510 Stoker 1st
Class 1943 - 46 who served at HMS Cricket (Landing Craft
Base, Burseldon) and HMS Hornet (Independent Command,
Gosport), RN Bases and on MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats) as part of
Coastal Defences. The little girl in the picture is my sister, although
poorly at the time, she celebrates her 70th birthday this year. I'd like to
thank the members of RN Coastal Defence Veterans (London Branch) for
leading me to your excellent site. I intend to help with awareness and
contributions to the Combined Ops Memorials, great to know how many people
are involved! Will ye no come back, yes we will !! Best Wishes, Chris
John Rufford Hodgett broadcasting on Radio Gibraltar.
His son writes; My father spoke little about his war service but I
believe he was part of a mixed group of men that set up communication
posts in France. One year around D-Day, while we watched the movie "The
Longest Day," he said his lot wore a white band around their helmets. I
think he was in the Sherwood Foresters. He was born in Keyworth, near
Nottingham and died age 70 in 1993. John Hodgett.
ex W Commando
writes from Canada; Many years ago
before I became aware of the existence of either the RN Commando
Association and crest or the Combined Ops. Association and Crest, I
designed, and had made, the one I now wear on my blazers. See Bills
message at the bottom of the RN Commando
taken at the 'Montgomery Club' Brussels on Wednesday March 15th 1945
showing Commandos on a two day respite from the snow covered Holland
Jack 'taffy' Bennett
of No3 commando. His
Louisa Davies, & Ross Morgan from
Caerphilly, South Wales,
taken on Sunday,
June 6th, 2004 at Benouville during the 60th
Note the Combined Ops Insignia proudly displayed in his memory.
Sgt L G (Les) Ellis DCM, 1942/43
in England. Front left in the photo,
he was an
instructor at the 2nd Division Sniper School with
the Royal Regiment of Canada. The CO patch is clearly visible on his left
arm. A 2nd CO patch (just visible)
is on the left arm of the
servicemen in the back row 3rd from the left.
Instrument Section at RAF Dundonald
in Ayrshire, Scotland. 516 Squadron was attached to Combined Operations and
this may be the only plane ever to bear
the Combined Operations insignia. See
516 Squadron for information about the
squadron's role in Combined
Commando Guard of Honour.
No 9 Commando,
which was part of No 2 Commando Brigade, Headquarters, Mediterranean Theatre
provide the guard of honour on the 6th April 1945. They are wearing a
black feathered hackle in their Green Beret with the round version of the
Combined Operations red design on dark blue, with a shoulder title of white
letters on black.
Army Wear Combined Ops Badge. Extract from official WW2 records held at the Public Records Office, Kew,
London. 19th Sept 1942 - US Army are now wearing their own version of the
Combined Operations Badge, which is very similar to ours. These were worn by
members of the Engineer Amphibian Corp. These badges were produced with the
American Eagle replacing the original; embroidered in yellow on a light blue
backing. Photo shows
delivered on Omaha Beach on
D-Day + 2 or 3.
Combined Operations insignia are
left upper arms
and on helmets.
Les Ellis DCM CD
wearing his many medals with pride including the coveted Dieppe Bar (with
the Combined Operations Insignia) on his Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.
Lance Corporal Ellis earned the Dieppe Bar and the Distinguished Conduct
Medal in the Dieppe action at Puys on August 19 1942. Les was born in Ogmo
Vale, Wales, UK and lives in Ontario, Canada.
LAC Karl Work
in England shortly before his return to Canada in 1945.
on Fighter Direction Tender 217off the Normandy beaches. The FDTs provided
radar cover, intelligence gathering and fighter direction until land based
mobile radar and communications units established themselves in Normandy.
Click here for the full story of FDT 217 and her sister vessels FDTs 13
and 216. Insignia on
Leading Seaman, Harry
‘Dusty’ Millar, was a Gunnery Instructor at HMS Armadillo between
1943 &1945. Harry's son Robert said, I've been living in Australia for
the past 33 years and hope that somebody might remember him from those
days. Sadly my father died in December 1988 and seldom spoke about the war. If
you have any information likely to be of interest to Robert you can contact him
Harry taken outside his parent's home in Bannockburn c 1943.]
Henry John Clifford Elcome, known as Cliff to his friends
in 1943/44. He joined the
RAF in 1942 as a 'Volunteer Reserve,' later volunteering for the
RAF Servicing Commandos. He was
posted as a Leading Air Craftsman (LAC) to 3204 Unit where he took part in the
Sicily/Italy invasions. When the unit was disbanded in February 1944 he returned
to the UK to serve in the 2nd-Tactical Air Force at various UK bases.
H .Ware. Photo taken July 1944 whilst serving with No.16 Royal Navy beach
signals section. [Photo and information courtesy of Michael Whittaker.]
Officer Richard Hamer. Unit Unknown.
[Photo and information courtesy of Michael Whittaker.]
Harold R. Smith,
Leading Seaman, RCNVR had this photo
taken in the spring of 1944. He was about 23 years old. He had been wounded
during the landing at Reggio [Italy] and was back in Canada at the time of this
photo. He volunteered for the RN Commandos in 1942 and was assigned to
LCI(L)115. He was one of two Canadians (the other being the Captain) on the
ship. He had been in action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy before being
wounded while his ship was reloading for a return trip to the landing beaches at
Reggio. He now lives on Vancouver Island in Courtenay, B.C., Canada with his
wife who he married in 1944.
wedding photo taken in
May 1943 at the Metro Studios, High Street, Slough. During WW2 he served in the
Royal Navy under the Combined Operations Command. From information provided by
his grandson, Keith Chilton, it's likely that his granddad served on landing
craft ferrying soldiers to the beaches of Normandy, although it's known that he
took a Landing Craft Tank to Scotland around the time he was demobilised. If
anyone remembers Christian Chilton please contact us
R H Barnwell.
Royal Navy Commando shoulder
title on a JWH (Jersey Wool Heavy standard issue pullover) of a
serving RN Commando Chief
Medic - one of only six still serving in November 2014.
Click here and scroll down to
item 13 for more information.
rating's square rig top and collar. The collar is named to a K PENNY
but there are no marking or name on the square rig.
historic navy hammock reposes in the Esquimalt Navy Museum, Vancouver
officer, James Robertson, borrowed a hammock in 1943 while aboard the SS
Silver Walnut on a trip from the UK to the Mediterranean, via South
Africa. He embellished it with the names of his Canadian companions and
the Combined Operations badge, over a maple leaf. Over 40 years later, he
returned the hammock to the Canadians at a ceremony in Australia. Click
on images to the right for more information.
Combined Operations ring which most likely
belonged to a US serviceman who served in the Pacific in WW2. Was it a
one off or are there any others?
[Photo and information Courtesy of
possibly a ship's badge, which includes the Combined Operations Badge in the
middle. It is is in the centre of a wooden tray which I found at a Militaria
Fair. On the back was a small piece of paper with the letters COSD,
perhaps a clue to who would have used this design. Yours sincerely, Terry
Combined Operations Tie Pin or Brooch. This
well made silver brooch or tie pin has a couple of unusual features - the
gun and the bomb like objects below the eagle's wings. If you recognise the
design or can shed light on the significance of the unusual features please
contact us. (Courtesy of Mr A Rees). Kevin Eaton suggests "the
gun in the eagle's talons is a pump action shotgun. Combined with the anchor
I'd say it's very possible something to do with a boarding party.
Even now, lots of boarding teams have
shot-gunners attached since the ammo is generally safer around bulkheads
compared to high velocity rounds which can ricochet. (9/13)
Combined Ops Badge. The silver Combined Ops badge in the left image was purchased at a military fair
in Belfast but its provenance before that is unknown as is its purpose. It may
have been a sweetheart broach or pendant from around 1943, which is supported by
wear marks of a neck chain or cord. Is it unique or are there other examples? A
slightly amended version (2nd image) will repose in the Commando museum in the Spean Bridge
Hotel, not far from the famous Commando Memorial. If you have any thoughts
about this badge, please get in touch. [Link in page banner.]
Certificate made out to 14870625 Sgt E J Timms. (R. Signals.) confirming
that he served in Commandos from July 1945 to November 1945. The
certificate was signed by Laycock, then Chief of Combined Operations, on
the 8th November 1945. [Courtesy of his son, Dr Alan Timms.]
bought at a car boot sale. On the inside of the lid, inlaid
into the wood, is a Combined Operations insignia with the inscription '9
Commando, 14 August 1944, Sorrento.' At the top are
the initials G.R.B. I would really like to find out more information
about the soldier concerned. Can anyone help or offer advice? Shaun
battle dress tunic.
He was a
member of a small Canadian Commando Unit designated 'W' Commando. This is
his with the round CO badge which was worn by all ranks.
75 Christmas Card. It's Christmas 1945 and Headquarters ship, LCH
75, was on its way to Norfolk, Virginia after being recalled while steaming
eastwards in the Indian Ocean. When she dropped anchor in Aden, Austin
Prosser, gunnery officer and watch keeping officer, sent a copy of the ship's Christmas Card to his parents in England.
Click here to read Austin's account of his wartime service and to see
the inside of the card.
DUKW nearing completion (working lights
still to be added). It
has a fully operational 6 wheel
drive/differential system, steering,
propeller and rudder.
It is fitted out as a WW2 Royal Marine amphibian.
Petiville, France. Under the command of Lt Col Peter Young, No3 Commando,
1st Special Service Brigade, liberated Petiville on August 17th 1944.
The Combined Operations insignia can be seen
centre of the memorial.
[Photo courtesy of Bernard & Fay Robins.]
Ultimate Act of Remembrance! I'm a tattoo artist in
Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham. I tattooed the Combined
Operations Insignia on the right forearm of 78 year old Mr `Dicky` Bird.
He took part in the Normandy
landings on June 6th, 1944
and Walcheren in early
November, 1944. I was so taken by this
extraordinary character that I did a search for the best insignia I could
find and landed upon your site. It was his first
ever tattoo and he said he most definitely plans to have another on his left
forearm. May I commend you on a most informative & enjoyable website.
Thanks. Jon Davis.
1945 at RAF Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland. This locally
prepared festive poster from Christmas 1945 celebrates the successful
conclusion to WW2. If you'd like to read about RAF Dundonald, which was part
of the Combined Training Centre, read about
Beach Commandoes, Ardentinny, Argyll, Scotland. This memorial is sited outside the old
regulating office at HMS Armadillo at Ardentinny. It is now a picnic site.
More photos of this re-located memorial at
Funnel Badge of the Royal Fleet
Auxiliary's Sir Tristram taken in June 2004. The legacy of WW2 Combined
Operations lives on!
of the Commander UK Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR)... a Royal Marine
Lt General. His staff wear the badge on their right arm in black on green;
2) the funnels of all UK Amphibious Shipping, HMS Fearless L10 and
Intrepid L11 (now decommissioned), HMS Ocean L12 (LPH), HMS Albion L14 (LPD)
and HMS Bulwark L15 (LPD) and all the RFAs - Sir Tristram, Bedivere, Galahad
etc. as per your example immediately above.
[Information and photo
courtesy of Sgt Tom Clow RM, LCU Coxn.]
UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters, based at High Wycombe. The JFACHQ was formed in Apr 2000, adopting a variation of the Combined
Operations badge as already used by the deployable Joint Force Headquarters
at Northwood. Since formation, the JFACHQ has deployed on operations
including PALLISER (Sierra Leone), ORACLE/VERITAS (Afghanistan) and TELIC
(Iraq). This shoulder patch is currently (May 05) used
by the UK Joint Force Air Component Headquarters. A new patch, more recognisable as unique from the JFHQ,
is under development although it will retain the Combined
Operations badge as its centre piece. [ND]
at Ouistreham, Normandy to the Royal Navy and Royal
It reads "In memory of the British Royal Navy and Royal Marine Crews,
especially those who gave their lives or were wounded, who served in more
than 4000 landing craft, ships and barges which transported the Allied
soldiers and their equipment to Normandy, or supported them with their guns
and rockets from D Day, June 6th 1944 to the end of the Second World war in
Europe on May 5th 1945."
Medals with Insignia
Burma Star ribbon, Atlantic Star ribbon
with rosette and South Africa War Service Medal ribbon. The rosette with the
Atlantic Star, is worn when ribbon alone is worn and indicates the
recipient was also awarded one of two possible clasps for the medal: 1)
Air Crew Europe - Awarded to RAF and Commonwealth aircrew Atlantic Star
recipients who subsequently qualified for the Aircrew Europe Star and 2)
France Germany - Awarded to Atlantic Star recipients who subsequently
qualified for the France Germany Star. Only one clasp could worn.
We are grateful to
Jeff Hannan of Warrington for an explanation of the ribbons
The South African
War Service Medal is a little unusual to see as it was awarded for
unpaid voluntary service of 5 or more hours per week, in or
outside South Africa, in one or more of the officially recognised
original enquirer referred to as "The Combined Operations Medal" is the
only example I have ever seen of what I believe to be a WWII Combined Operations sweetheart brooch worn by wives, mothers
Canadian Volunteer Service
particular medal has the Dieppe Bar with the Combined Operations Insignia. The bar
was awarded to those who
took part in the Dieppe Raid of August 19 1942.
ranks and branches of the Canadian Armed Services were eligible
for the CVSM on honourable completion of 18 months total
voluntary service between 3/9/39 and
1/3/47 while on active service. On this particular example there
is also the Overseas Service Bar
which was awarded to those who spent at least two months overseas.
The inscription reads 1939 CANADA 1945 around the top and
VOLUNTARY SERVICE VOLONTAIRE around the bottom.
Combined Operations badge is still in use today as this e-mail and the funnel
badge above confirm.
The Combined Ops
badge is currently worn by the staff of the
Force Headquarters (JFHQ) which is the deployable element of the UK's
Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) based in Northwood. This explains why it is
worn by a large variety of cap badges and all three
services. PJHQ staff wear a similar badge, smaller but on a square background of
the three colours of the Services (i.e.
Dark Blue for Navy, Red for Army and light blue for the RAF). I know - I used to
information on the post war period will be warmly welcomed. Use the 'contact us'
link at the bottom of this page.
There are around 300 books listed on
our 'Combined Operations Books' page. They, or any
other books you know about, can be purchased on-line from the
Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). Their search banner link, on our 'Books' page, checks the shelves of
thousands of book shops world-wide. Just type in, or copy and paste the
title of your choice, or use the 'keyword' box for book suggestions.
There's no obligation to buy, no registration and no passwords.
Elsewhere on this
website read about the badges
design and development,
see specimens in close-up
and a short biography of the
badge's designer, Lt D A Grant.