Book review: Badges on Battle Dress Vol 1 & 2

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We’ve seen some fantastic books from small publishers but nothing on the scale of this two volume work from Jon Mills, published through his own company.

Author: JON MILLS

Reviewed by: Duncan Evans

 

We’ve seen some fantastic books from small publishers but nothing on the scale of this two volume work from Jon Mills, published through his own company. This is a 1,200+ page, illustrated guide to the cloth insignia and badges worn by British armed forces from 1939 to 1967. Yet, having said that, it starts with WWI, though this is not as comprehensive as David Bilton’s Badges of Kitchener’s Army.

There’s even a chapter on between the wars, before we get to the main meat of the book, WWII and onwards. The format is an introduction and explanation of a set of badges, whole pages with photos of them, contemporary photographs showing them being worn, and then a list of all the badges what number they are in that section. It means to find a specific badge you need to refer to the listing for the illustration number, then thumb back a few pages until you find. It does keep related items all together and the photos of the badges are both clearly presented and nicely laid out.

 

The scope of all this is quite astonishing, covering everything from armoured forces and the battle dress of France and Norway, to Commandos, the ATS and military nurses, war in the middle east, post-war Africa, the Territorials and the Army in the nuclear age. The clearly accessible format means you can jump in and research specific areas of interest with relative ease. In fact, the only complaint is that the general typography design is a little dated, but this criticism borders on the churlish set against the magnificent production standards. All the pages are printed on high quality, glossy paper, with colour throughout. Yes, it costs £150 plus £14 postage for the two volumes, but this is a tour-de-force of publishing, an absolutely majestic work that any serious British Army cloth insignia collector needs to own. Enquiries can be made at bob19391967@yahoo.co.uk.

 

• Wardens Publishing
• 1,308 pages • Hardback • £150

 

As reviewed in The Armourer June 2019

 

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