I wonder if there are any clued up people out there who can please help me.
I'm looking for info on shoulder flashes, epaulette insignia, and whatever else may have been carried by 8th Army British and Commonwealth infantry in North Africa 1940-42. I confess I don't know anything at all about them, whether they carried an overall '8th Army' badge or individual unit badges or whatever.
I'm painting up some 1:72 plastics in the khaki drill shirts, shorts and tin hats, so no berets or blouses. Does anyone have the know-how for a pow-wow?
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job." – Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.
Check out any of the Osprey books that cover the Western Desert 1941-3, a lot of good reference photos in these.
For the classic 8th army infantry that you describe there were typically very few badges of any sort - unit, rank or otherwise on their shirts. That said rank badges were probably more likely added. You should do all this kit in various light khaki / sand colours, materials bleached out quickly.
Remember that nights in the desert were very cold, troops would have jumpers, coats, battledress etc and these seemed to have had more markings on them?
Note there are photos of New Zealanders at Tobruk & Essex Regt in full khaki battle dress and/or greatcoats. Also photos of Polish trips in battledress?..
There is evidence that tank men from 7th Armoured Division DID wear a black patch with red desert rat on their left shoulder, this would make sense as they were the original Desert Rats.
It was usual before a big offensive for units to remove insignia. Not that one could see what insignia there was anyway in a 20mm scale!
In winter units wore standard woolen BD. Even in summer, frontline troops often wore BD or drill trousers and jerseys because scrapes and cuts would become infected and flies. Some desert rats wore jerseys and cordoroys, which in some photos gives the Eighth Army the appearance of heavily armed gardeners.
My maternal grandfather served in North Africa and we have a photo of him in KD shirt with the 8th Army shield on the shoulder strap. Perhaps not everyday dress though as he was also wearing his SD Cap at the time. He was RA so I presume an army level unit from the badge rather than part of a division. He died when I was very young so never got a chance to get more info from him, if he would even talk about it.