Thursday, April 8, 2021

Daphne du Maurier and the Maroon beret

Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning, DBE (1907 –1989) was an English author and playwright. She also was the wife of Major-General Frederick Browning.

A popular story is that the maroon colour of the British Airborne Forces was chosen by Browning, after his wife suggested that he use the colour which made up part of his horse racing colours. However, in a letter, now in the British Airborne Assault Archive, she wrote that this was untrue. Whatever its origin, the maroon beret was adopted by the British paratroopers in July 1942. Initially it was adorned with an Army Air Corps badge. This was replaced with the Parachute Regiment badge in 1943.

It was during the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) that the Germans in the Africa Korps began to refer to members of the British Parachute Brigade as Rote Teufel (Red Devils) after their maroon berets and their fighting skills.

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