Unit Signs - Armoured Divisions
Unit Signs were a type of vehicle marking used in the Second World War (and afterward). The system of markings developed from early in the war, but underwent several changes before a relatively final form was reached in the mid-war period. The markings on this page reflect the late Second World War period. The purpose of unit signs was to ensure efficient traffic control and assist in recognition. Unit signs consisted of a Serial, usually in white, painted over a coloured background denoting the Arm of Service or Brigade that the unit belonged to. The unit signs were originally carried in metal frames attached to vehicles, and later in the war painted directly onto the vehicles themselves, on the front and rear mudguard. More details are in the general article on "Vehicle Markings."
12th Canadian Infantry Brigade
In early 1944, it was decided to add an "extra" infantry brigade (the 12th) to the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The Westminster Regiment was re-roled from a Motor battalion to an infantry battalion, the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards were re-roled from Reconaissance to infantry, and two light anti-aircraft regiments were converted to infantry and renamed The Lanark and Renfrew Scottish.
The following information is courtesy of Don Dingwall. On 26 July 1944 - a preliminary markings guideline (dated 29 April 1944) was issued by 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division General Staff. The Division was advised that these markings were to be taken into effect immediately, but that 8th Army had not yet approved them. Eighth Army had not yet decided on the "proper" format for numbering unit signs for second infantry brigades in armoured divisions.
By August, 8th Army had promulgated the "official" numbering scheme, and on 16 August 1944, the Brigade was made aware of the guidelines governing those numbers.
(a) Signals Sections were to adopt the serial number of the formation or units to which they were attached, on a white and blue background.
(b) Light Aid Detachments were to carry the serial number of the formation or unit to which they were attached, on a blue/yellow/red background.