I am not really a collector of patches or insignia, however is a likely candidate comes up for a pound or two I will often take a punt and hope I have picked up something military later. Last week I found this little patch in a box for £1 and despite not having a clue what it was it came home with me:A few minutes research indicated that it is the brigade patch for the 73rd Independent Infantry Brigade. The brigade activated during World War II, in late March 1941, and initially consisted of infantry battalions raised for hostilities-only and, aside from a few Regular and Territorial soldiers, was composed almost entirely of conscripts and wartime volunteers. In December 1942 the battalions were posted elsewhere and the brigade ceased to be an operational formation, although the headquarters remained in existence until 19 July 1943, when it was finally disbanded.
The brigade served under various commands throughout its short existence: GHQ Home Forces from 19 June and 2 July 1941, the Devon and Cornwall County Division between 3 July and 30 November 1941, VIII Corps between 1 December 1941 and 12 December 1942, and Southern Command from 13 December 1942 and 18 July 1943.
Order of battle
The 73rd Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:
- 18th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (from 27 March 1941, left 17 May 1941)
- 9th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers (from 3 April 1941, left 17 May 1941)
- 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (from 3 April 1941, left 17 May 1941)
- 7th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment (from 19 July 1941, left 21 September 1942)
- 6th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (from 19 July 1941, left 9 December 1942)
- 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (from 19 July 1941, left 11 December 1942)
- 2nd Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment (from 22 September 1942, left 8 December 1942)
The following officers commanded the brigade during the war:
- Brigadier W. Robb (from 24 March 1941 until 18 June 1941)
- Brigadier J.A. Campbell (from 18 June 1941 until 10 October 1941)
- Brigadier A.de L. Cazenove (from 10 October 1941)
Fifteen gold bezants (small circles) on a black shield with a gold border superimposed on a vertically positioned white sword with gold hilt, point down, all on a blue ground.
The badge is based off the coat of arms of Cornwall, with the sword representing Excalibur from the legend of King Arthur.