Royal Canadian Air Cadets Tunic

Occasionally you add a piece to your collection that you just really like, everything about it pushes your buttons and you are delighted to be able to own it. Today’s piece of uniform ticks all the boxes for me- it is weird and unusual and has a cracking array of insignia on it and displays really well.

The Royal Canadian Air Cadets were formed in the Second World War as a pre-joining cadet programme for the the RCAF. Over time it has morphed into a youth training scheme, empahsising leadership, adventurous training, survival training and the usual aspects of drill and aeronautical training. The cadets’ uniform is unique, but the colour is clearly the same as that used by the RCAF and the RAF. The parade jacket is a long sleeved bush jacket made of a heavy duty poly cotton:

On each breast is a pleated pocket, with a top flap secured with a single button and distinctive angled cuts to each corner:

Note also the white lanyard worn over the left shoulder and secured under the left breast pocket. A second pair of patch pockets are fitted to the skirts, again with the same cut of top flap:

A waistbelt is fitted to the tunic, with a blue plastic buckle:

It is the insignia, however, that really makes this tunic and there is a lot of it! Above the right pocket is a blue name tag for ‘Ho’ that is secured by a pair of pins and clutch fasteners on the inside of the tunic:

Above this is a small bronze pin badge for the ‘Year of the Veteran, 2005’ in English and French:

On the cuff of the right sleeve is a First Aid qualification patch:

The left sleeve has a sergeant’s rank insignia and a large badge for the Cadet unit at the top of the sleeve:

Challenger Squadron received its name in 1978 and was based out of the Seaforth Armoury in Vancouver, British Columbia. The unit was renamed in 2010. At the base of the left sleeve are more patches:

Top to bottom these badges are: Top- Military Band, Basic musician, Middle- Proficiency Level II, Bottom- Cadet Fitness Assessment Incentive Level Excellence.

The label for the jacket is sewn into the rear and dates the jacket to 1992 and has care instructions with an NSN number:

The jacket is worn with a shirt and tie and a Field Service type cap:


  1. The ‘new’ new version, the previous one was green since a previous, distinctly addled, Defence Minister decided all military personnel should wear exactly the same uniform.
    This one is at least blue 🙂
    The one I wore way back when (pre-unification) was blue serge, pretty much leftover WW2 issue and it fit like it…I was pretty skinny at the time and it hung like a bag, I remember my mother had to shorten the suspenders to hike the trousers under my armpits and they still covered my shoes 😉

    • Guess you’re talking about the old blue battle-dress, same one I wore from 73 to the change over to the green cadet uniform . Since the green uniform wasn’t available in my size (6’1 at 17…) , I was the only one in the squadron to wear the green CF Work Dress Jacket.

  2. This was a little before that, it was more like the blue serge belted dress uniform than battledress

  3. I wore the green ‘work dress’ in the Reg Force, everyone did, there wasn’t anything else besides combats or coveralls or the Airborne jump smock, and it was probably the only thing everyone in all three services (four if you consider logistical trades as seperate) agreed on…it was awful !!
    Quiteprobably thelast military looking ‘uniform’ ever, but that was the idea…we had to take the wing pylons off of the Auroras when they were brand new and a rrived wit hthem on, not because they were an aerodynamic drag or were subject to extra wear and tear, but because they made the Aircraft look ‘too aggressive’….

  4. This was fun to stumble across while looking for something completely different! I was the Commanding Officer of 135 Challenger Sqn from 2005 (when this tunic was retired) until 2009. I’ve been with 135 since 1992 and am still there today. Right now in fact. Although that piece of kit should have been returned to the unit when the cadet left us, I’m happy to see it is being loved and not scrapped. The fabric has since been upgraded on the newer ones too so you don’t get that melting effect that leaves a worn sheen on the fabric when you iron it.

  5. My dad was in air Cadets when they had the green uniforms still have a couple parts of it laying around somewhere
    I myself am in my last year of air Cadets and we are just starting to get issued the cadet version of the CAF combats as a regular work dress and the newer dress blue uniform we have is for parades only

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