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War & Decline

The Second World War

Allied flags

20th Century

A Union Flag and a Free French Flag which were collected by Cecil Riding during his time in occupied France during World War Two. The flags are small and were probably badges sewn onto clothing. 


The Free French flag was the flag of France with a Cross of Lorraine. This was chosen by General Charles de Gaulle to support the people of the Nazi occupied Lorraine region of France. The cross had also been used by Joan of Arc and was symbolic of French patriotism.


Captain Cecil Riding (Jock) grew up near Lockerbie in Dumfriesshire.  In 1940 he joined the Coldstream Guards before transferring to the Highland Light Infantry in 1941.  In February 1944 Cecil Riding was selected for the newly formed Special Air Service (SAS) and was posted on special duty throughout occupied Western Europe in 1944 and 1945 for which he was awarded the Military Cross.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:2012.18.24, 26
Digital Number:
Dumfries & Galloway Council