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


Miscellaneous and Foreign Formation Insignia

There were several other Formation Patches used by Canadian Forces serving abroad, outside the brigade, division, corps and army patches.


Troops serving in "Z Force" as part of the Iceland garrison wore a black patch with white polar bear. This patch was the divisional formation patch of the 49th (West Riding) Division of the British Army. The patch was to be removed by Canadian troops after leaving Iceland but some may have been worn by troops later serving in the UK.2 The patch worn by Canadians was an early pattern, with the polar bear looking down; the British divisional commander later altered the patch so the bear looked more 'aggressive.'


Troops serving in Newfoundland came under the command of "W Force"; according to Clive Law in his book DISTINGUISHING PATCHES the suggested patch for this command (a red caribou on green background) was not approved.   D.W. Falconer in his book BATTERY FLASHES OF W.W. II shows a sample of the patch, and two examples from Bill Alexander's collection are shown below.  The suggestion was that the patch be worn after serving 6 months in Newfoundland, on the right arm only, and that the patches be provided "not at public expense."  It is unclear how common these patches were, or if they were actually worn.


Soldiers who served in Hong Kong wore no special formation patch, but when the survivors were released from captivity, they were given the special HK badge pictured at right to wear on their homecoming uniforms.


Soldiers of the 13th Canadian Brigade Group serving on Kiska wore a formation patch consisting of a knife on a blue background.


Soldiers serving on exercises in Canada late in the war were given patches to wear.  The two most commonly discussed patches were for Exercise Eskimo and Exercise Musk-ox.

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Volunteers for the Canadian Army Pacific Force were allowed to distinguish themselves by wearing the CAPF hexagon (incorporating the colours red, blue, french-grey, green, maroon and black) on their uniforms.   Those serving in other formations were permitted to put the CAPF hexagon overtop of the other formation patch.  This hexagon came in two sizes, large and small. The CAPF trained in the United States, and volunteers for this force were given priority on returning to Canada from Europe after VE Day.  The CAPF never saw action; the surrender of Japan rendered their service unnecessary (they had been slated for Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese home islands.)

Badge examples below courtesy of Bill Alexander. 

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CAPF patch, both large and small.

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The CAPF patch used in conjunction with another formation patch.  This would have designated a soldier serving with another formation (in this case Atlantic Command) who had volunteered to serve with the Canadian Army Pacific Force.

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Samples of the Kiska patch, both embroidered and printed.
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Exercise Eskimo Patch (courtesy Bill Ellis)

Some formed Canadian units did serve in foreign formations, and wore the patches of those formations.  Most notably:

First Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment - served with the British 79th Armoured Division.

First Canadian Parachute Battalion - served with the British 6th Airborne Division.

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Courtesy  Bill Alexander. 


Canadian Divisions and Corps, as well as smaller formed units, were often part of larger British organizations.  I Canadian Corps served under the British Eighth Army in the Mediterranean, for example, and First Canadian Army served under the British 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe.  Personnel assigned directly to Army or Army Group Headquarters wore the formation patch for those headquarters.  Units, such as signal units, etc., that were assigned directly to the headquarters of these higher formations, also wore the formation patch for that formation (unless assigned directly to lower formations within that organization - ie a signal unit assigned directly to Second Canadian Division headquarters would wear the patch of the Second Canadian Division (only), even though technically also a part of II Canadian Corps, First Canadian Army, and 21 Army Group).

The formation patch for the British Eighth Army was a grey shield with a golden-yellow crusader's cross.  In the Mediterranean, the 16th Army Group wore a red square with white and blue shield, and in Northwest Europe the 21st Army Group wore a blue cross on a red shield.

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15th Army Group Patches
Courtesy Bill Alexander


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Variations on the 8th Army flash; example at far left has medium blue background.
Courtesy Bill Alexander


The 8th Army flash (and also, less commonly, the 21 Army Group flash) were sometimes adopted by soldiers not otherwise entitled to wear it, as a form of pride - often being found sewn to uniform shoulder straps.

Patches worn by Royal Canadian Corps of Signals troops attached to 21st Army Group HQ.

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Fully embroidered patch Printed Patch Embroidered Patch
Courtesy Bill Alexander Courtesy Bill Alexander Courtesy Dwayne Hordij

Non unit-specific Patches worn by 21st Army Group HQ personnel.
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Courtesy Bill Alexander


The 21st Army Group came under the command of SHAEF, the supreme Allied headquarters commanding all troops in western Europe.  Rob Dekker has passed on these photos of a Canadian officer attached to this headquarters, who wore the Crusader's Sword insignia on his uniform.  The gentleman in question joined the Pictou Highlanders, transferred to the Canadian Intelligence Corps, and from there went to SHAEF.  He transferred to the Canadian Army Pacific Force in 1945, but was in transit back in Canada in August 1945 when the war ended.  After discharge he enjoyed a long career with the Canadian Foreign Service, notably in South and Central America and finishing his career as Consulate General in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Battledress shows an odd mix of scarlet pips (infantry) and a rifle green lanyard of undetermined unit.

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Courtesy Rob Dekker

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  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. Ibid p.56 1999-present