Craig's Shoulder Flashes

During the 1980s and early '90s, SADF/SANDF members wore metal shoulder flashes on step-out tunics to identify the wearer's unit and, in some cases, the wearer's company. Cloth flashes had previously been worn sewn onto tunic sleeves.

The equivalent shoulder flash worn on field dress ("Browns") in public was a flexible plastic slip-on shoulder flash (also referred to as a "nutria" or "tupperware" shoulder flash).

Due to the vast number of reproductions of the metal flashes and the silly prices charged for metal flashes, I do not actively collect these items, although I gladly accept any that come my way. Instead, I focus on the "tupperware" items (of which reproductions are increasingly being produced as well) and have a substantial collection of these.

Below is a list of most of the slip-on shoulder flashes that I have in my collection.


Chiefs of Staff of the SA Defence Force

Chaplain General
Chief of the SADF
Chief of Staff Intelligence (II)
Chief of Staff Operations (III)
Chief of Staff Logistics (IV)
Chief of Staff Finance (V)
Chief of Staff Planning (VI)
Defence HQ Personnel Unit (Mike Evert listed this as SA Army HQ)
Quartermaster General HQ
SANDF – All Army Units (Pride of Lions)

SADF Training Units

SA Military Academy
SA Army Women's College
SA Army Battle School
Ordnance (Service?) School (Kygbehoeftesskool)
Personnel Services School
Catering School (ME listed as Catering Corps)
Army College
Army (Military) Gymnasium (1st type style)
Army (Military) Gymnasium (1st type style), embroidered
Infantry School
Jozini Training Base
1 Special Training Unit
SADF Dog Centre
12 SAI (Combined Dog and Equestrian Unit)
Artillery School
Anti Aircraft School
School of Armour
School of Engineers
11 Commando / Intelligence School
Technical Services Training Centre
Provost School
Intelligence College
(10 AA Regt?) Artillery Air Defence School
SAMS College (Old)
SAMS College
1 Parachute Battalion (green type)
1 Parachute Battalion (maroon type, maybe 'restrike')

Joint Operations

Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre

SA Army

SA Army Command HQs and Military Area HQs

SA Army HQ (2nd type)
Western Province Command HQ
Eastern Province Command HQ
Natal Command HQ
Northern Cape Command HQ
Orange Free State Command
North Western Command HQ
Witwatersrand Command HQ
Northern Transvaal Command HQ
Eastern Transvaal Command HQ
South West Africa Command HQ
Walvis Bay Military Area HQ (Walvis Bay Cmd)
Gauteng Command HQ
SA Army Signal Formation
SA Army Engineer Formation (Dir Engineering/Genie?)
SA Army Logistic Command
Soutpansberg Military Area
Sector 20 HQ SWA

Division and Brigade HQs

7 Infantry Division (Mike E has 7 SA Division)
7 Motorised Division (Mike E has Brigade)
71 Motorised Brigade
72 Motorised Brigade
73 Motorised Brigade
8 Armoured Division (Mike E has Brigade)
81 Armoured Brigde
84 Motorised Brigade (Mike E has Armoured Brigade)
43 Mechanised Brigade
44 Parachute Brigade
27 Motorised Brigade (?) Embroidered slip-on

Commando Group HQs

Group 1 HQ
Group 2 HQ
Group 4 HQ
Group 7 HQ
Group 8 HQ
Group 9 HQ
Group 10 HQ
Group 11 HQ
Group 15 HQ (Mike E shows as Group 35)
Group 16 HQ
Group 17 HQ
Group 19 HQ
Group 20 HQ
Group 23 HQ
Group 25 HQ
Group 28 HQ
Group 29 HQ
Group 31 HQ
Group 35 HQ
Group 39 HQ
Group 40 HQ
Group 41 HQ Cloth
Group 41 HQ
Group 42 HQ
Group ?? HQ

Special Forces

1 Reconnaissance Regiment
5 Reconnaissance Regiment
5 Reconnaissance Regiment
5 Reconnaissance Regiment (prototype, cloth)
Special Forces Vehicle Depot

44 Parachute Brigade

101 Air Supply Company (1st type)
101 Air Supply Company (2nd type)
44 Maintenance Unit

Cape Corps

SACC Infantry Battalion (later 9 SAI?)
2 SACC Infantry Battalion
SACC Service Battalion
SA Cape Corps Maintenance Unit

Infantry Units

State President's Guard
State President's Guard
National Ceremonial Guard
1 SAI Bn (3rd type)
2 SAI Bn Grp
3 SAI Bn
4 SAI Bn
5 SAI Bn
6 SAI Bn
7 SAI Bn
8 SAI Bn
9 SAI Bn (Prev SACC?) Cloth, prototype?
21 Battalion
31 Battalion
32 Battalion
51 Battalion
53 Battalion
55 SAI Battalion
61 Mechanised Infantry Battalion Group
111 Battalion
115 Battalion (KwaNdebele Defence Force?)
118 Battalion (but Cmdo colours and Grp Cmd Bar)
121 Battalion
151 Battalion
Regiment Algoa Bay
Regiment Botha
Cape Flats Regiment
Cape Regiment
Regiment Christiaan Beyers
Congella Regiment
Regiment Dan Pienaar
Regiment De Wet
Donkin Regiment
Regiment East Rand
Regiment Groot Karoo
Regiment Hillcrest
Regiment Hoėveld
Kaffrarian Rifles (Buffalo Rifle Volunteers now?)
Regiment Northern Transvaal (1 Battalion)
Regiment Piet Retief
Regiment Paul Kruger
Regiment Pretorius (Mike E & Colin O have Hercules Cmdo)
Regiment Schoonspruit
Regiment Springs
Regiment Uitenhage
University of Pretoria Military Unit
Van der Bijl Park Regiment (Ex Cmdo)
Regiment Wynberg (Wynberg Battalion?)

Armoured Corps

1 Special Services Battalion
2 Special Service Battalion
2 Light Horse Regiment
Umvoti Mounted Rifles
Regiment Pretoria
Regiment Vrystaat

Artillery and Anti Aircraft

4 Field Artillery Regiment (2nd type)
7 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
14 Artillery Regiment
26 Field Artillery Regt
Cape Garrison Artillery
Potchefstroom University Regiment
Transvaal Staatsartillerie


Western Province Command Signal Unit
Eastern Province Command Signal Unit
Southern Cape Signal Unit
Natal Command Signal Unit
North Western Command Signal Unit
N Transvaal Command Signal Unit
1 Signal Regiment
2 Signal Regiment
3 Electronic Workshop
5 Signal Regiment
SWA 6 Signal Regiment
SWA 6 Signal Regiment (metal on t/ware, as worn)
Army Battle School Signal Unit

Engineer Corps

Publication and Map Depot
1 Publishing and Printing Unit
1 Construction Regiment
1 Engineering Regiment (Squadron?)
2 Field Engineers Regiment
2 Engineer Squadron
6 Field Engineers Squadron
10 Engineers Squadron
15 Field Engineers Regiment
19 Field Squadron
35 Field Engineers Support Unit (1st type)
35 Field Engineers Support Unit (2nd type)
47 Survey Squadron
Witwatersrand Engineers Regiment

Technical Services

Eastern Province Command Workshop Natal Command Workshop North Western Command Workshop Witwatersrand Command Workshop Northern Transvaal Command Workshop 101 Workshop (Northern Command Workshop, Grootfontein?) 30 Field Workshop (later type) 31 Field Workshop 31 Field Workshop (Later?) 61 Base Workshop Gauteng Command Workshop

Quartermaster General

91 Ammunition Depot (QMG)
93 Ammunition Depot (QMG)
97 Ammunition Depot (QMG)
5 Base Ordnance Depot (QMG)
1 Military Printing and Film Unit (QMG)
5 Military Works Unit (QMG)
SADFI/SAWI (QMG 2nd type)
6 Supply and Transport Depot (QMG)
11 Supply and Transport Depot (Post-QMG?)
16 Supply and Transport Depot (QMG)
19 Supply and Transport Depot (QMG)

Maintenance Units

Western Province Command Maintenance Unit
Eastern Province Command Maintenance Unit
Natal Command Maintenance Unit
OFS Command Maintenance Unit
North Western Command Maintenance Unit
Witwatersrand Command Maintenance Unit
Northern Transvaal Command Maintenance Unit
1 Maintenance Unit
3 Maintenance Unit
5 Maintenance Unit
6 Maintenance Unit
8 Maintenance Unit
10 Maintenance Unit
16 Maintenance Unit
19 Maintenance Unit

Military Police / Provost

WP Command Provost Unit
EP Command Provost Unit
Natal Command Provost Unit
OFS Command Provost Unit
North Western Command Provost Unit
Witwatersrand Command Provost Unit
Northern Transvaal Command Provost Unit
Far Northern Transvaal Command Provost Unit
Eastern Transvaal Command Provost Unit
Gauteng Command Provost Unit
7 Division Provost Company
Witwatersrand Command Detention Barracks

Miscellaneous Units

1 Military Town Management (Mike E has SAWI)
7 Division Mobilisation Centre
11 Field Post Office Company (2nd type)
81 Technical Stores Depot
83 Technical Stores Depot
84 Technical Stores Depot
93 Ammunition Depot (Post QMG)


Alberton Commando
Atlas Commando
Bloemfontein Commando
Boshof Commando
Bothaville Commando
Brandfort Commando
Bronkhorstspruit Commando
Cachet Commando
Caledon River Commando
Carolina Commando
De Aar Commando
Drakensberg Commando
De Mist Commando
Durban North Commando
East London Commando
Ermelo Commando
Frankfort Commando
Ficksburg Commando (1st type)
Fouriesburg Commando
Germinston Commando
Graaff Reinet Commando
Griqualand East Commando
Hantam Commando
Harrismith Commando
Hoopstad Commando
Hopetown Commando
Irene Commando
Jacobsdal Commando
Kalahari Commando
Kempton Park Commando
Kirkwood Commando
Klerksdorp Commando
Koppies Commando
Kroonstad Commando
Kruger National Park Commando
Ladybrand Commando
Lindley Commando
Lionshead Commando (1st Style)
Midland Commando
Modderfontein Commando
Mossel Bay Commando
Munitoria Commando
Naschem Commando
Northam Commando
Oranje Commando
Oribi Commando
Outeniqua Commando
Overberg Commando
Parys Commando
Phalaborwa Commando
Phillipolis Commando
Port Elizabeth Commando
Potchefstroom Commando
Pretoria East Commando (Mike Evert has Pta West)
Recife Commando
Reitz Commando
Rietfontein (was Edenvale) Commando
Sand River Commando
Sasol Commando
Schanskop Commando
Schanskop Commando
Secunda Commando
Senekal Commando (2nd type)
Sishen Commando
South Coast Commando
Standerton Commando
Springs Commando
Stellenbosch Commando
Swartland Commando
Swellendam Commando
Tugela Commando
Tygerberg Commando
Umkomaas Commando
Virginia Commando
Volksrust Commando
Vrede Commando
Walvis Bay Commando
Weenen Kliprivier Commando (2nd type)
Welkom (ex-Goudveld) Commando
West Coast Commando
Wonderboom Commando
Zeerust Commando

SA Medical Services

The SAMS did/do not generally wear shoulder flashes but the units below typically operate and function alongside Army units and so were granted authority to wear the flashes for purposes of uniformity.

Medical Units

1 Medical Group Battalion
2 Medical Group Battalion
3 Medical Group Battalion
4 Medical Group Battalion
5 Medical Group Battalion
6 Medical Group Battalion
7 Medical Group Battalion

SA Air Force

Air Force units have apparently never been granted authority to wear shoulder flashes but the items below are genuine, period items and might have been worn on a trial basis or on the authority of a local base commander.

Airforce Security SAAF 509 Security (Protection) Squadron

Company flashes (only some listed)

101 Battalion
101 Battalion, Delta Company
101 Battalion, Charlie (?) Company
101 Battalion, Alpha Company
101 Battalion, Bravo Company
101 Battalion, Echo Company

Non-SADF Shoulder Flashes

SA Police

State President's Guard
Dog Unit
Air Wing
Special Guard Unit
Flying Squad, Johannesburg
Flying Squad, West Rand
ISD, 4
ISD, 12
Unit 36 (Small pocket/breast flash)

SWA Police / Koevoet / Namibian Police

Koevoet OFINO
Namibia Police

Transkei (Homeland Era)

Transkei Police
Transkei Equestrian Centre
Transkei Defence Force
Transkei Defence Force
Transkei Defence Force (embroidered)
Transkei Special Forces

Bophuthatswana (Homeland Era)

Bophuthatswana Defence Force
Bophuthatswana Logistics ?
Bophuthatswana Services School ?
Bphuthatswana/Venda ? Signals?
Bophuthatswana Signals HQ Company flash ?
Bophuthatswana Signals D Company flash ? (Velcro)
Bophuthatswana HQ Company ?
Bophuthatswana A Company ?