New Zealand UN Beret

When on peacekeeping duties, soldiers retain their national camouflage uniforms and most of their insignia, but replace their headgear with a UN blue beret and enamelled white badge:

There are numerous different manufacturers of these berets from around the world, but this example was made in New Zealand and has imperial sizing, suggesting it was made some time ago:

The beret has a fabric band around it, rather than leather, with a piece of cord through it to allow a little bit of adjustment to the sizing:

The badge itself is secured on with a pin and is a large version of the United Nations insignia in gold and white enamel:

In 1956, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) was established as the first UN peacekeeping operation. Troops from different countries wore their national uniforms and added distinctive UN arm bands and shoulder patches to identify them as UN peacekeepers. According the the UNEF I Background website, “The blue beret and helmet were created by Secretary-General Hammarskjöld during the formative days of UNEF”. Urquhart writes, “What was needed was distinctive headgear easy for a distant sniper to recognize. A UN-blue beret seemed to be the answer, but it was impossible to procure enough berets in time. American plastic helmet-liners, however, were available in quantity in Europe, and were ready, spray-painted UN blue, in time for the first UNEF detachments to wear on their entry into Egypt” 

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