Airborne Formation Patches
Second World War British Army formation badge for 1st Airborne Division and 6th Airborne Division (and, post-1945, 16th Airborne Division TA). The badge, depicting Bellerophon riding Pegasus, the winged horse, was designed by Edward Seago, the landscape artist. It was worn by all Airborne troops, in conjunction with the ‘Airborne strip’, a separate strip bearing ‘AIRBORNE’ in pale blue letters on a maroon ground (worn below the badge). There was no differentiation between 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions. Formation note: 1st Airborne Division first went into action in North Africa in 1942. 1st Airborne Brigade landed in support of 1st Army landings in North West Africa (‘Torch’). The Division then took part in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. The Division’s most famous action was at Arnhem as part of Operation ‘Market Garden’, the attempt to seize a series of bridges to breach the line of the Rhine in September 1944.
The Division’s final deployment was as part of the occupation forces in Norway where HQ became HQ Norway Command. 6th Airborne’s first action was on D-Day when they landed east of the Orne to seize the river and canal crossings and protect the left flank of the invasion. They were withdrawn to the UK in August. Their next deployment was in a ground role during the Ardennes battles over the winter of 1944-45 (‘Battle of the Bulge’). The Division’s next airborne action was the Rhine crossing in March 1945. With US 17 Airborne Division they formed XVIII US Airborne Corps under command of Maj. Gen. Matthew Ridgeway. Their role in this operation (‘Varsity’) was to seize the town of Haminkeln and the crossings of the River Ijssel around Haminkeln and Ringenberg, north of Wesel. They then advanced into Germany with the rest of 21 Army Group. Their post-war deployment was to Palestine, leaving in February 1948. When the Territorial Army was reformed in the UK in May 1947 a 16th Airborne Division (TA) was formed. This formation appears to have had a short life.