Rank & Appointment Insignia

Chris Brooker's CEF Guide

Cap Badges


Corps & Services 1939-1945

Mounted Units 1939-1945

Collar Badges


 Metal Shoulder Titles

 Slip-On Shoulder Titles 

Buttons 1939-1945

Formation Patches
C.E.F. Troops  
1st Canadian Army

Canadian Military HQ

1st Canadian Corps

2nd Canadian Corps

Atlantic Command

Pacific Command

1st Canadian Division

2nd Canadian Division

3rd Canadian Division

4th Canadian Division

5th Canadian Division

6th Canadian Division

7th Canadian Division

8th Canadian Division

1st Armoured Brigade

2nd Armoured Brigade

3rd Armoured Brigade

Misc. & Foreign 1939-45  
Postwar .


Miscellaneous Insignia

Active Service Badges

Good Conduct Chevrons

Instructors Badges

Tank Badges
NCO Corps Badges
Service Chevrons
Wound Stripes
National Insignia

Special Distinctions


3rddivmini.gif (1088 bytes)3rd Canadian Division Formation Insignia

Battle Patches were originally adopted in the summer of 1916 in time for Canadian participation in the Battle of the Somme. The patches were created as an aid to command and control of fighting troops in the battle line and extended later to other elements of the division. Originally placed on the back of tunics, just below the collar, the patches were quickly moved to uniform sleeves. The division was represented by a French-Grey rectangle 3 inches wide by 2 inches tall, while individual units were further designated by coloured geometric shapes worn in conjunction with the divisional patch.1

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Divisional patches for the Third Division were originally white in colour, then changed to black and finally to French-Grey.

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Artifacts and images courtesy of Bill Alexander.
Click to enlarge.

Second World War

The 3rd Canadian Division in the Second World War readopted the divisional battle patch that had been worn in the First World War, being of a colour officially known as "French-Grey". In practice the colour varied, but was usually a light blue-grey shade. Shoulder patches were made from three materials mainly (canvas, felt and wool) and were first issued in 1941.2

Shoulder patches were made from three materials mainly (canvas, felt and wool) and were first issued in 1941.

Officers at Brigade Headquarters of the Third Division wore coloured strips half an inch wide by three inches long above the Division patch. The 7th Brigade was designated by green, the 8th by red and the 9th by blue. This system of designating Brigade staff officers was also a readoption of Great War practice.

Members of various corps serving in support units wore Divisional patches with letters in the middle, such as RCE (Royal Canadian Engineers), RCASC (Royal Canadian Army Service Corps), RCOC (Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps), RCCS (Royal Canadian Corps of Signals), CDC (Canadian Dental Corps), CPC (Canadian Postal Corps) and CCS (Canadian Chaplain Service). A French Grey Formation Patch with a maroon coloured strip in the middle was worn by some members of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) serving with the Division. 

Supporting arms eventually moved away from the distinctive unit insignia on the formation patch, adopting their own shoulder titles worn in conjunction with the "plain" division patch.  Both styles of unit/formation identification were in use by the end of the war.3

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Formation Patches - from the collection of Bill Alexander.   Note the variety of colours and the different types of material.

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Plain division patches.
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Officer's style patch for the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars.  Note the silver bullion embroidery; it is possible this style of patch was only worn by officers on Service Dress uniforms.

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RCAMC, CDC and RCASC Formation Patches.

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CCS formation patches.  Note the wide variance in colours and embroidery styles.   The wire embroidered patch was probably for Service Dress.  The CCS consisted entirely of officers.

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In the summer of 1945, two separate 3rd Canadian Divisions were located in Europe. To differentiate between the two formations, a strip of French-Grey half an inch wide and three inches long was worn below the Division Patch by members of the C.A.O.F.  By this time, all arms were wearing regiment/corps identification on their upper sleeves (or on their shoulder straps, in the case of artillery units) and therefore, the only formation patches to be worn were ones shown below.  Also, volunteers for the Canadian Army Pacific Force attached the hexagonal badge of the CAPF to their division patches.  Patches courtesy of Bill Alexander.

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H/Captain Robert Seaborn, Chaplain of the 1st Battalion, The Canadian Scottish Regiment, gives absolution to an unidentified soldier of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division near Caen, France, on 15 July 1944. The embroidered legend "CCS" is clearly visible on his formation patch. LAC photo.

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Company Sergeant Major D.D. Perkins of Ottawa, Ontario writing home before the invasion of Normandy.  Note the RCAMC formation patch on his sleeve.
(LAC photo 132881)

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Chaplain of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, shortly before crossing the channel for the invasion of Normandy.   Note the CCS formation patch, worn here in conjunction with regimental shoulder titles.
(LAC photo)

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Felt formation patch with embroidered RCE tab sewn to it.
Courtesy Warrant Officer Thomas, Canadian Military Engineers Museum

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Printed canvas R.C.C.S. title.


  1. Law, Clive M. Distinguishing Patches: Formation Patches of the Canadian Army (2nd Ed.) Service Publications, Ottawa, ON, 2008 ISBN 978-1-894581-50-9

  2. Falconer, D.W. Battery Flashes of W.W. II (D.W. Falconer, 1985) ISBN 0-9691865-0-9

  3. Law, Ibid, pp.25-45

  4. The Old Red Patch: The 1st Canadian Division 1915-1988 Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1988 1999-present