Ordnance Insignia of the British Army

Miscellaneous Corps Formation Signs & Patches

Whilst it is true to say that the RAOC wore almost all of the major Divisional & Brigade patches, where a ordnance unit or headquarters staff were based. The listing of such RAOC units is well beyond the scope of this short reference. Reading the various corps history books will give the reader an idea of the wide range of RAOC units that existed. Shown here are examples of the more specific ordnance formation signs, and some major formations where RAOC troops were based.

With references to B.L. Morris’s ‘British Cloth Formation Signs’
(With Book-Chapter-Drawing reference numbers - i.e. BLM 1-1-1)

War Office Staff
While RAOC officers were employed at the War Office,
This is not an ‘Ordnance’ badge at all, but is included here to illustrate its usage.

Ref  BLM 1-1-1
Wire on a Red & Dark Blue Bullion Background, with the arms of the Board of Ordnance.
(Issued as Left or Right Facing sets) (Also produced in Embroidered & Printed versions)
Adapted by the War Office post W.W.II for personnel directly employed at the War Office.

War Office Controlled Troops or Establishments

Ref  BLM 1-1-2 Ref BLM 1-1-3
Left - 1st Pattern, Embroidered Kings Crown, On a Red & Dark Blue Background
Right - 2nd Pattern, Printed Queens Crown, On a Red & Dark Blue Background
(Both issued in Right & Left facing pairs)

Worn post W.W.II by Units and Establishments, which included Training Camps and Storage Depots.
This patch was worn by many UK based RAOC personnel.

53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division 'Combination Flashes'

Ref  BLM 1-

1st Pattern - With All Navy Blue Arms-of-Service strip, with " gap
2nd Pattern - With Red-Navy Blue-Red
Arms-of-Service strip, with 1" gap

The 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was the only British division in WWII to incorporate the Arms-of-Service strip into their divisional sign. The RAOC examples can be found printed onto a Khaki background or as pieces of felt stitched onto Khaki cloth. Both First and Second RAOC Arms-of-Service examples can be found with " or 1" between the divisional sign and AOS strip. The main RAOC unit being 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division Ordnance Field Park.

Reference: Information from & Article by Norman Wolden, The Formation Sign (Journal of the Military Heraldry Society) Jan-Mar 1998

Southern Command RAOC Troops

Ref  (BLM 1-7-21) & BLM 1-7-13
1st Pattern - Printed 5 White Stars on a Navy Blue Background.
2nd Pattern - Embroidered 5 White Stars on a Red-Navy Blue-Red Background.
(Both illustrated with matching RAOC 'Arms of Service' strip)

Unlike all the other UK Commands, Southern Command had a range of ‘Corps Troops’ Formation Patches based on 5 stars on a Regimental or Corps colours background. The RAOC example changed from all Navy Blue background to Red,Blue,Red background when ACI 2587 dated 27 Dec 1941 changed the RAOC’s Arms of Service strip colours. The only Regiment or Corps to have their Arms of Service colours changed.

(The Navy Blue example has been wrongly identified as AEC in some publications)
(Research is ongoing to confirm this further)

D-Day Beach Ordnance Groups

Ref  BLM 2-5-78
A 'Beach Groups' Red fouled anchor on a Olive Green printed disc with a red border
(Illustrated with
Embroidered 'BEACH ORDNANCE Shoulder Title)
This Beach Group patch was worn with a non-standard Red on Dark Navy Blue
“BEACH ORDNANCE” shoulder title by RAOC Beach Detachment personnel.

Beach Groups were made up of Support Arms with Infantry protection to provide front line support during the Normandy landing,
and were only intended to be active for up to six weeks. Personnel also had wide White Bands painted on their helmets.
Two RAOC Beech Detachments were deployed on each Normandy Beach Sector, comprising Ammunition & Stores Platoons.
The first detachment going ashore within hours of D-Day 0 hour, The second up to 12 hours later in reserve.

HQ 21st Army Group (GHQ and L of C Troops)
Later, HQ British Army of the Rhine

Ref  BLM 1-12-8
Embroidered Crossed Yellow crusaders swords on a Blue cross on a Red shield
When HQ 21st Army Group was redesigned HQ BAOR in August 1945 they adopted the same shield.

21st Army Group (GHQ and L of C Troops)
Later, British Troops in France

Ref  BLM 1-12-11
Printed Blue cross on a Red shield
After the cessation of hostilities at the end of W.W.II 21st Army Group Troops in France,
in the ‘ Rear Maintenance Area’ adopted the GHQ & L of C Troops shield.

British Army of the Rhine - BAOR Troops

Ref  BLM 1-12-9
Embroidered Single Yellow sword on a Red cross on a Blue shield
This patch is for BAOR Troops or Units who did not have any other formation sign to wear

As with the ‘War Office Troops’ patch in the UK,
these shields were worn by RAOC units and depots where no other formation sign existed.

1 Corps - RAOC
Ref  BLM 2-5-50
(Norman Wolden Collection)

1st Corps RAOC, Printed, White spearhead on a Red circle on a Navy Blue diamond

1 Corps landed in Normandy on D Day, and later formed the first static district of occupied Germany,
taking over the control of Rhine Province & Westphalia. 1 Corps had a number of ‘Corps Troops’ coloured insignia.
The RAOC adopting the Red circle on a Blue background. Very few examples of this patch have been seen.

The White spearhead on a Red diamond patch later being adopted for all 1 (BR) Corps troops.

Ref  BLM 1-3-1

1st Corps (1 (BR) Corps) White spearhead on a Red diamond patch

RAOC - Army Emergency Reserve

Ref  BLM 2-5-46
A Yellow sword pointing upwards on a shield divided vertically Red-Blue-Red
One of a range of Specialist ‘Corps Troops’ AER patches
Both Embroidered & Printed versions shown

First called the Supplementary Reserve (SA) later changing to Army Emergency Reserve (AER) Manned by selected National Servicemen, this formed the backbone of the reserve services until 1967 when the Territorial Army (TA) was restructured to form ‘Central Volunteer Reserve Headquarters’ (CVHQ) to manage Specialist Independent RAOC Companies. Manned both by Volunteers and Regular Reservists.

The following units were part of the RAOC Army Emergency Reserve and later TAVR:

1 Stores Company RAOC (Volunteers)
Amalgamated with HQ RAOC 44
Division & 4 Stores Company
to form 1 Stores Company RAOC (V) in 1967
Became 142 Vehicles Squadron Royal Logistic Corps (Volunteers) in 1993, Disbanded by 1998.

Ref  BLM 2-5-48 & 2-5-49

(Barri Morris Collection)

Left - Feltham Detachment, A Red rose, Green & Yellow leaves, Green & Yellow peacock,
Yellow sword with Green & White wings on a Blue shield. Two Brown bars,
Brown motto on White scroll with Brown border on White rectangle.

Right - Newport Pagnell Detachment, Two Blue lions with Red tongues, eyes & claws with two Blue bars below,
with Red and Black border on a Yellow shield.

22 Stores Company RAOC (Volunteers) Ormskirk
Amalgamated with
HQ's RAOC 42 & 48 Division, 2 & 5 Stores Companies and 20 Vehicle Company
to form 52 Transit Company RAOC (V) in 1967
Became 143 Transit Squadron Royal Logistic Corps (Volunteers) in 1993, Disbanded by 1997.

Ref  BLM 2-5-47
1st Pattern
(Norman Wolden Collection)
A Brown church picked out in Black with ‘ORMSKIRK’ in Black letters below on Green with a Blue sky.

2nd Pattern
Printed Black church with ‘ORMSKIRK’ in Black letters below, all on a White cloth background.

3rd Pattern

(Barri Morris Collection)
Printed White church picked out in Black with ‘ORMSKIRK’ in White letters on Navy Blue square.

M Comerford - July 2004