Fury as new Army regiment’s cap badge ‘identical’ to apartheid terror squad

·3-min read
The new Ranger Regiment badge has been likened to the one used by the Selous Scouts in the Sixties and Seventies - Ministry of Defence
The new Ranger Regiment badge has been likened to the one used by the Selous Scouts in the Sixties and Seventies - Ministry of Defence

The Army is facing a backlash among officers over a new cap badge “identical” to those worn by an apartheid terror squad.

Multiple officers privy to discussions about the beret for the newly formed Ranger Regiment have raised serious concerns that the badge may have been designed based on the one worn by the Selous Scouts, the disbanded special forces regiment from the Rhodesian Army.

The former unit fought black insurgent armies in the Sixties and Seventies as part of their quest to keep white-minority rule over what is now Zimbabwe.

One defence source told The Telegraph: “An officer said he had seen an email saying that it was actually based on the Selous Scouts. It’s almost identical to the Rhodesian Selous Scouts, which is controversial due to their involvement with an apartheid regime. 

“There’s obvious differences but it’s f— close and clearly based on it.”

The source added: “It sounds bad to me. Having a cap badge in this day and age with any connection to a racist regime whatsoever seems outrageous.”

It is understood that numerous officers have raised concerns with the new badge’s “connection to the Selous Scouts”, however they believe that the opportunity to prevent it from going into circulation will have passed as it will have already had the Queen’s approval.

The new badge on a Ranger Regiment beret - Ministry of Defence
The new badge on a Ranger Regiment beret - Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the badge for the Ranger Regiment, which was established as part of the Army’s Future Soldier concept, had taken its “inspiration and spirit” from the peregrine falcon.

The MoD added that the bird was “the most geographically dispersed bird of prey globally, operating in all environments including deserts, mountains and cities, and notably loyal to its partner”.

Everyone serving in the Ranger Regiment will wear a metal badge, irrespective of rank.

It will be made in a gunmetal grey colour that has been chosen for the Regimental beret and Stable Belt, taking inspiration from the peregrine falcon’s grey plumage.

The Selous Scouts’ metal badge was also designed on a bird of prey, the osprey, which was shown in an incoming strike pose with the banner beneath its claws.

Comparison with Selous Scouts ‘inaccurate’

The Ranger Regiment was born out of the Army’s pledge to turn infantry soldiers into elite fighters to tackle “high-threat” missions abroad.

It will be part of a Special Operations Brigade that will work in support of Special Forces in high-threat environments.

Over the next four years, a share of £120 million will be invested into the unit, which will undertake roles traditionally carried out by the Special Air Service and Special Boat Service, such as training, advising, enabling and accompanying partner forces from foreign countries.

An Army spokesman said: “The Ranger Regiment cap badge has been designed around the peregrine falcon. Any comparison or association to the osprey depicted in the Selous Scouts’ cap badge is completely inaccurate.

“The Ranger Regiment is very proud of its new cap-badge which takes inspiration and spirit from the peregrine falcon; fast, agile and fiercely loyal to its partner, it operates around the world in all environments including deserts, mountains and cities.”

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