Active Service Badges
Government had begun the Second World War with a "limited liability"
outlook, but events in the summer of 1940 changed that.
Public opinion swayed the Cabinet War
Committee to to put "every able-bodied man" into some phase of the war
effort.1 The National Resources Mobilization Act became law
on 21 June 1940, the same day that Hitler visited the Compiegne Forest
to choreograph the surrender of France.2 Initially requiring
men to submit only for 30 days of military training, in April 1941 these
trained men had their service periods extended indefinitely.3
Until 1944, these conscripts were used only for service in Canada. A
special insignia was created in order to distinguish soldiers that
volunteered for "Active Service" (employment outside of Canada) as a
The "G.S. Badge"
was a small black disc one-inch in diameter with the letters G.S.
embroidered upon it. Beginning in 1942, the badge was worn on
the left forearm of battledress blouses, Service Dress and Khaki
Drill jackets. Once the soldier had qualified for the Canadian
Volunteer Service Medal the badge was to be removed. The badges
were also worn only in Canada. The badge was placed 5-1/2 inches
from the bottom of the sleeve, or else directly above any rank,
service chevrons or good conduct badges.4
in Canada were designated by a cloth badge depicting the zodiac
sign of Mars, the Roman god of war. The badge was rendered in
red thread on a circular khaki background matching the Battle
Dress two inches in diameter, and was worn with the arrowhead
facing the the 45 degree position on the right forearm, either
4-1/2 inches from the bottom of the sleeve, or immediately above
any other insignia worn on the lower right sleeve. The badge was
worn by private soldiers (only) once they had qualified by
training for the second increase of pay.5
Arms, Men & Governments: The War Policies of Canada
1939-1945 (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1970), p.33
Marix (2000). The Fall
of France: Act of Daring.
(Osprey Publishing, Botley, Oxford, UK, 2000), p.156
Routine Order 2671/1942
Regulations for the Officers and Other Ranks of the Canadian
Army (1943), XII/202