49th Infantry Division 1st Pattern Printed


49th Infantry Division 1st Pattern-Printed.

It has been suggested by collectors in Iceland that these 1st pattern printed versions (with the bear's head facing down) were made in Iceland by the Sparta boys clothing shop at Laugavegur Street, Reykjavik.

Although the Calico Printers Association of Accrington had the contract to supply cloth badges to the British army from1940, it is not inconceivable that local suppliers were approached to make insignia especially considering the great distances involved with re-supply. 

The Polar Bear badge was first introduced while the Division was in Iceland in 1942 by General Curtis with the Polar Bear having a 'head down' aspect (the first pattern). When the GOC changed to General 'Bubbles' Barker in 1943 he ordered that a new badge be designed that showed a 'more aggressive stance' of the Polar Bear (which is described as the second pattern Polar Bear badge).