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


Postwar Formation Insignia


At the start of the 1950s, two Canadian brigade groups were created for service overseas.  The 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade served in Korea as part of the Commonwealth Division.  The 27th Canadian Infantry Brigade served with NATO forces in West Germany.

25th Brigade - Korea

The 25th Brigade wore a red shield, with yellow maple leaf surrounded by a white laurel wreath (similar to that found in the United Nations flag).  Issued in embroidery on a melton background, private purchase versions were commonly found as well, purchased in Japan and made of higher quality materials such as metal wire instead of thread.  These uniforms were usually worn on battledress by troops coming home to Canada from Asia.

This brigade patch was seen worn on both sleeves, and sometimes worn alone on the right sleeve.  After joining the Commonwealth Division, Canadian troops in Korea wore the formation patch of that division on the left sleeve, retaining the Canadian brigade patch on the left.

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Standard issue 25th Brigade patch.

Japanese made wire bullion 25th Brigade badge

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Above and below: Examples from the collection of Bill Alexander

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Although not a Canadian formation patch, two types of Commonwealth patches were worn by Canadians serving in the Far East.  Those in the 25th Brigade wore the Commonwealth Division shield, usually on the left arm. The Commonwealth Division shield, during the war, bore a King's Crown, but occupation troops serving in Korea after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II wore Queen's Crowns.  The "official" backing colour to the shield was UN Blue, but like French Grey, the exact shade used in practice varied from badge to badge.

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A variety of patches from the collection of Bill Alexander.  At lower left is a printed badge with a King's Crown, at lower middle is a silk badge printed with the Queen's Crown.

Troops not serving directly in the Commonwealth Division instead wore the square Commonwealth Forces patch.  The examples below are from the collection of Bill Alexander; badges at left have a Queen's Crown, in middle and at right a King's Crown.

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NATO Taskings

After the Korean war, and the disbandment of the 25th Brigade, the red shield continued to be used by Canadian soldiers as national identification while on various UN duties around the world up into the 1970s.  Later versions are done from modern materials and have an embroidered edge to them.   Examples at right from the collection of Bill Alexander.

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27th Brigade

The 27th Brigade was made up of three battalions, each drawing its companies from several reserve regiments across Canada.   Brigade headquarters and support troops  wore a plain grey patch, while the three battalions were drawn from either line infantry, Rifle or Highland regiments in Canada, and were a symbol designating these affiliations: a bayonet (line infantry), bugle horn (Rifles) or Scottish thistle (Highland). These patches were worn on the right sleeve of battledress, bush dress and service dress.  The photo below, however, shows the badge worn on the left sleeve of at least one officer.

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The Duke of Edinburgh is welcomed at the entrance of the Men's Canteen by Lt. Col. G.M.C. Sprung, MC,
Officer Commanding of the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion.
Photo courtesy Ed Storey

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First Canadian Division

A 1st Canadian Division Headquarters (later renamed First Division) was also authorized in April 1946, but remained dormant until formally disbanded in July 1954.  Simultaneously, however, another "Headquarters, First Canadian Infantry Division" was authorized as part of the Canadian Army Active Force, in October 1953.  This, the first peace-time Division in Canadian history, consisted of a brigade in Germany, one in Edmonton and one at Valcartier.  This Division was disbanded in April 1958.  During its short existence, it wore the same badge - the Old Red Patch - that the First Division had worn between 1916 and 1918, and again from 1941-1945.  This was a piece of red melton, 3 inches wide by 2 inches tall, worn on each sleeve.

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Artifact and image courtesy Bill Alexander


Force Mobile Command

Command Badges were also introduced, as the armed forces were reorganized into Commands.  The Army became known as Force Mobile Command and wore a maple leaf with four arrows protruding from it; at first, this badge was worn on both sleeves of the battledress, and was later redesigned as a metal badge worn on the right breast pocket of the CF Jacket and later DEU Jackets.

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Canadian Mechanized Brigade Groups

The reorganization of the Canadian Army into the Canadian Forces, and the redesignation of various Canadian Mechanized Brigade Groups, brought with it new insignia.  These patches were worn on the new CF Green uniform (and later, on the DEU jackets).   Subdued versions of these insignia were also introduced for the short-lived Garrison Dress Jacket.


Based in Calgary

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Examples from Bill Alexander
Click to enlarge

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Examples from Bill Alexander
Click to enlarge



Based in West Germany. 

This badge has the NATO four pointed star superimposed over the Canadian maple leaf. 

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Examples from Bill Alexander
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Made up of French-speaking units.

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Examples from Bill Alexander
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Special Service Force

In 1977, the Canadian Airborne Regiment joined part of a new organization called the Special Service Force (SSF), a brigade-sized formation created to provide a small, highly mobile, general-purpose force that could be inserted quickly into any national or international theatre of operations. The role of the Special Service Force (SSF) had not changed significantly by 1992-3, when, according to DND, its role was "to provide general-purpose, combat-ready land forces in accordance with assigned tasks."

The brigade's insignia was a winged dagger, similar to that worn by the British Special Air Service.  Patches were made for the CF uniform (including bullion versions) and in subdued colours for the Garrison Jacket and Jump Smock, as well as in combat green.  A browner version of the combat patch of seemingly American construction has been spotted by Bill Alexander, but the provenance is questionable. 

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Artifacts and images courtesy Bill Alexander
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Ace Mobile Force

The ACE Mobile Force was created in 1960 as a small multinational force which could be sent at short notice to any threatened part of Allied Command Europe. Its role was to demonstrate the solidarity of NATO its ability and determination to resist all forms of aggression against any of its members.   Exercises designed to train and test the force were held each year in Northern and Southern Europe. The AMF was deployed for the first time in a crisis role in January 1991, when its air component was sent to south-east Turkey during the Gulf War, as a visible demonstration of NATO's collective solidarity in the face of a potential threat to Allied territory. The land component of the force, consisting of a brigade sized formation of about 5,000 men, was composed of units assigned to it by eight NATO nations.

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Above and below - these badges from the collection of Bill Alexander show the two sizes (large and small) and types (dress and subdued) of AMF badges.  These are American manufactured; it is not believed a Canadian version was ever produced.
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The original Force was formed by Belgium, West Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, with Italy and Canada contributing in 1963 and 1964 respectively.  The contribution of each nation was a light infantry battalion and support elements.  The force was known as a NATO "fire brigade" because of the rapidity with which it could be employed - with leading elements on 72 hours notice to move, and the main body on seven days' notice, with a theoretical deployment time of thirteen days.  Luxembourg troops joined the AMF in 1969, followed by troops of The Netherlands in 1989.  After significant political events of that year, and the beginning of the end of the Cold War, the AMF expanded and Spain became a contributor in 1992, followed by Norway in 1995.  In 1996, Denmark, Greece and Turkey sent forces to the AMF, followed by Portugal in 1997, and finally The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland all contributed troops under the auspices of their new membership in NATO in 1999.

The Ace Mobile Force was disbanded in 2002, in a parade at Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany.   The last commander of the Force was a Canadian, Major General W.M. Holmes, MBE, CD.

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Enamel pocket badge worn on the CF Uniform, from the collection of Steve Forth, PPCLI.  The 3rd Battalion PPCLI wore these badges on the DEU while tasked as IRF (Immediate Reaction Force (Land) prior to their deployment to Afghanistan in 2002.  Steve Forth adds: "The badge originally was issued with a leather holder to hang the badge from a button, however we simply wore the badge itself in place of the LFC badge on the right breast pocket of the DEU.".

First Canadian Division

The First Canadian Division was reactivated in 1988, and once again, The Old Red Patch was worn with pride - on the Garrison Dress Jacket, in  modern materials with swiss embroidered embroidered edges.  The colour was not subdued for wear on Garrison Dress as other insignia was.  On the DEU Jacket, a melton patch - similar to that shown above - was worn.  The patch was only worn on the left sleeve, and the applicable brigade patch on the right sleeve.

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Artifact and image courtesy Bill Alexander


In the 1990s, the reserve forces in Canada were reorganized from being grouped into Militia Areas into Brigades, and consequently, brigade patches were issued for wear on the DEU.  These brigades became active in 1997.

Land Force Atlantic Area

36 Canadian Brigade Group

(PEI - Nova Scotia)

37 Canadian Brigade Group

(New Brunswick)

Land Force Quebec Area

34 Canadian Brigade Group

35 Canadian Brigade Group

Land Force Central Area
31 Canadian Brigade Group


32 Canadian Brigade Group

33 Canadian Brigade Group
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38 Canadian Brigade Group
39 Canadian Brigade Group
(British Columbia)
41 Canadian Brigade Group

The FMC badge was also finally replaced, as the land component of the armed forces was once again christened the Army.  A white shield with a red maple leaf and crossed swords, reminiscent of early Army insignia, was adopted as a metal pocket badge.

Various United Nations and NATO Taskings

Over the last half of the 20th Century, Canadian soldiers participated in almost every major United Nations peacekeeping mission; while each tasking had its own insignia, the most common badge was the UN blue circle with the UN insignia (a white globe).  While not formation patches in the usual sense, a sampling (from the collection of Bill Alexander) is given here, showing the variety - and also the degree of continuity - of badges, from UNEF in the mid 1950s to the end of the 20th Century and UNPROFOR.


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Individual missions with both the UN and NATO have resulted in the creation of a wide array of badges - both official and semi-official.

Multinational Force and Observers

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MFO Photo
MFO Force Commander Major General Robert G Meating at left, wearing the MFO formation patch, presenting a New Zealand Private the Multinational Force Silver Driving Award.

A white badge (symbolizing peace) with the orange suggesting the bright coloured jump suits that civilian observers in the MFO wore.  These civilian observers operated as part of the US Sinai Field Mission in 1976, tasked with monitoring two major passages through the Sinai Peninsula between Egypt and Israel.   In 1982, the multi-national MFO incorporated this Sinai Field Mission.  The UN had refused to provide a peacekeeping mission to the area as officially the two nations were at peace.  Canadian troops have served on the MFO since inception, mostly from logistics trades; between 1986 and 1988 Canada provided a four-ship helicopter squadron of UH-1s to the mission.

The mission's four goals are:

  1. Operation of checkpoints, reconnaissance patrols and observation posts along the international boundary.
  2. Periodic verification of the implementation of the provisions of the Annex to the Treaty of Peace, to be carried out not less than twice a month unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
  3. Additional verifications within 48 hours after receipt of a request from either party.
  4. Ensuring freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran.

Examples from Bill Alexander - at top Canadian pattern, below international manufacture

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Cambodian Mine Action Center UNTAC Can contingent IFOR
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Examples from Bill Alexander

Land Force Command

Force Mobile Command was redesignated Land Force Command in the 1990s, and the distinctive FMC badge as worn on the right breast pocket of the DEU jacket was replaced with the LFC badge as shown below, in enameled metal with three pushpins on the back.  It was worn in the same position as the FMC badge.

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Steve Forth Collection 1999-present