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Insignia

This is an original 1st Armoured Division patch made in the UK during the war. The details of the helmet are generally well done on the
examples in my collection. They were typically worn with either the wool border cut down as in this example, or left with a wool rectangle the size of the patch. 



Below is my original 10th Dragoons patch which was worn    
on the right shoulder. The material is a wool felt with cotton thread embroidery.
The white cross is representative of Scotland.
The shield in center is from the town
of Lanark where the regiment trained. The soldiers were very proud of the bond formed
between their adopted Scottish families during their training for the invasion of continental Europe.
                                                                                 

                                                             

This is the insignia representative of the lance pennon of the regiment. On service dress uniforms
 it was worn on the lapel.
For battle dress patterns the orange portion was aligned with the bottom
edge of the collar. It is made from three pieces of
wool felt, all sewn together at the same level.
This original challenges my concept of the red color associated with the regiment.
I would like to
know if this example has suffered from dye fading over the years. It is also possible that different
tailors had access
to slight color variations which may also account for the difference.




    The shoulder knot appears to have varied in design and construction. This particular example
was retrieved from the uniform of a Senior Staff Sergeant. It is made from a single polished
cotton cord. All knots and loops remain intact as intended by the original owner.
    There is some damage about three inches above the main knot. I have also seen originals that had
multi-strand braids.




Uniforms

Here is an example of the denim utility battle dress uniform. This was originally meant to be worn over the wool BD during dirty work. The Poles and British alike however found it more suitable for wearing during warm temperatures. It should be remembered that unlike the U.S Army, summer uniforms were not general issue to British, Canadian, Commonwealth and Government in Exile troops. That being said, the denims were the uniform of choice during the hot August days during the battle of the Falaise Gap. This corporal wears a pair of private purchased sun glasses which are not part of the standard uniform.


Below is a picture of a Dragoon from the summer of 44. Notice not only is he wearing his denims without the wool battledress beneath, but he's also using captured German binoculars and pistol case. Being a utility working uniform the denims are generally devoid of any insignia. Sometimes the Poles did put their national titles on the sleeves however this was not mandatory. Scan and caption from General Maczek Polish Cultural Foundation Ltd, London 1991.


Service Dress Uniform

The service dress uniform was a privately purchased garment generally reserved for officers but sometimes worn by very senior enlisted men. This was basically a uniform to be worn while in garrison, around the office or when ceremonies or reviews required attire more formal than the standard battle dress uniform. Being a privately purchased and tailored uniform there was a certain amount of leeway allowed in the officer's mode of dress. For example, the Dragoons considered themselves members of the cavalry harkening back to prewar days. That being the case Dragoon, Lancer and other armoured officers often chose to wear riding breeches of Bedford cord with brown riding boots instead of the standard straight leg trousers to associate themselves with their mounted days. The tunic illustrated in the photo is from the early part of the war before the "austerity" pattern of service dress was made. The upper pockets are scalloped and pleated, these extra refinements were generally done away with as a means of conserving the precious barathea wool material. The Sam Browne belt was often omitted during the later days of the war and replaced with a cloth belt the same colour as the tunic. The regimental badge was worn centered on the left, breast pocket on both SD and BD uniforms by all ranks within the regiment after having served an honourable one year with the unit during peace time or 30 days during war. In addition, a black braided cord was worn on the left should by members of the regiment.



Pictured below is an original photo of Jan Karcz  in service dress from 1941. This was taken upon his transfer into the Polish army as an officer cadet. Notice he is not yet wearing his regimental collar pennons or any unit insignia to distinguish him as a member of a particular regiement. He is however wearing privately purchased Polish eagle buttons on his tailored tunic. He also has a black cloth eppaullette on his left shoulder. That combined with his distinctive Polish rank insignia show that he is not a member of the British or Commonwealth forces.



Winter Tanker Suit

This is an example of a Dragoon driver standing beside a White M3A1 halftrack attempting to get his bearings.  The camouflage suit was an adaptation of the "Oversuit, tank crews" which came into widespread use first in 1943. The original colour was tan and was widely known as the "Pixie suit." After receiving feedback from the troops in the field the British designed and produced the cammo pattern in late '44. It saw limited use during the last hundred days of the war.

In addition to the points referenced in the photo, notice also the later pattern tanker holster. The early war drop style was abandoned as it tended to get caught on protrusions whilst maneuvering inside the confines of an armoured space. Our driver has also decided to not wear the '37 patter shoulder braces for the same reason. Inside the holster is an Enfield No2 MkI * .38 caliber revolver. This was also known as "the tanker model" as it was manufactured without a hammer. To cycle and fire the weapon now required a double action when pulling the trigger. The result was that the weapon wandered during this cycle and was generally useless for hitting a target.
Below is an original photo of 1st Armoured Division members wearing their pixie suits during the German surrender of Wilhelmshaven in 1945. Scan and caption taken from General Maczek Polish Cultural Foundation Ltd, London 1991



  



 

Officer vs Enlisted Uniforms

     This photo shows the differences between the officer's and enlisted battle dress and web equipment. Both men wear the standard Canadian produced P37 uniforms. The material is the same however the officer at left has taken his tunic to a tailor or seamstress to open the neck closure area and add lapels to expose his necktie. Until 1944 the King's Regulations forbade enlisted and NCO's from wearing neckties in uniform. The Polish troops however were not subject to those guidelines and so many privates and NCO's wore neck ties when off duty or in their "walking out" uniforms for excursions on the town. In addition to the notations in the picture it should also be mentioned that Dragoon troopers being vehicle borne, did not generally wear their small packs (back packs) or entrenching tools on their person.



Cold Weather Outer Wear

     The photo below shows a Dragoon trooper standing in the ring mount of his White M3A1. His outer garment is an issue leather "jerkin." This leather vest was lined with OD wool and closed with four plastic buttons. The thick leather stopped the wind from cutting through the wool BD top. The advantage of the jerkin was two fold in that it kept the wearer much warmer but also provided greater freedom of movement than that of the cumbersome overcoat.





     


    
     The picture above shows a two man Dragoon Bren team. The #2 gunner is wearing the standard issue enlisted P37 overcoat mentioned in the previous paragraph. This coat was double breasted and carried the same regimental markings as the battle dress tunic with the exception of the black shoulder knot. The rear of the coat was sewn with an expandable vent in the back to allow for more movement. The tails of the could be buttoned from the small of the back, straight down for added warmth. While these coats were very warm their extreme weight made them somewhat impractical.