South African Naval Trade Patches

Like the Royal Navy, the South African Navy used trade patches to indicate which branch or specialism their ratings were qualified in. Although the basic principle was the same, the actual designs of the badges used differed from RN practice. Most South African sailors were issued with several different sets of uniform, including a dark blue winter parade uniform, a white summer parade uniform and a blue working uniform analogous to the RN’s No8 uniform. A rating would wear his trade patch on each order of uniform and so they were manufactured in different colours. Today we are looking at two sets of badges, the first embroidered in gold thread on a dark blue patch for wear with the winter parade uniform:

The second set are embroidered in blue thread on a white background for wear on the working uniform:

This badge is for a Sonar-Torpedo Man, with the W indicating a specialism in weapons. These are for the second of three levels of qualification that a man could earn. The trade patch can be seen on this poster of South African naval ranks and insignia:

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