Category Archives: Canada

Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas Cigarette Cards (Part2)

New Zealand Mounted Rifles

 11From 1909 until 1930, military service was compulsory in New Zealand; since that date the compulsory service provisions of the Defence Act have not been enforced, but can be brought into operation without legislation. Since 1931 service in the Territorials and cadets has been voluntary. In march 1936, the strength totalled 779 officers and 8,251 other ranks, and 946 bandsmen. 98,950 troops served during the Great War in the N.Z. Expeditionary Forces in Samoa, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and on the Western Front; 16,697 lost their lives on active service. All New Zealand’s Territorial Forces are to be reorganised and extensively mechanised. We show a trooper of the N.Z. Mounted Rifles; Parliament House, Wellington, appears in the background.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

 12This famous force was established in 1873 as the Northwest Mounted Police. A year later, the Force, 300 strong, marched 2,000 miles into Indian territory, and so impressed the inhabitants that Government control over them was effectively established. The reputation then gained for courage, integrity and efficiency has since become world-wide. In 1920, the Northwest mounted amalgamated with the Dominion Police to form the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, upon whom the government depends for the enforcement of federal law throughout Canada. Their duties include such diverse activities as the suppression of the drug traffic and the punishment of Indians for murdering persons accused of witchcraft.

Aide-de-Camp to the Viceroy of India

 13The personal staff of the Viceroy and Governor General of India includes both British and Indian Aides-de-camp. The latter are selected from among the Viceroy’s Commissioned Officers of Indian Army units. We show an Indian Aide-de-Campe holding the rank of Risaldar Major, or senior Indian officer, in an Indian Cavalry regiment, who for his distinguished services has been awarded the honorary rank of Captain. A Musalman of the Punjab, he belongs to a class which provides a larger proportion of recruits to the Indian Army than any other section of India’s population. The background portrays the Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.

The Scinde Horse

 14The Scinde Horse (14th Prince of Wale’s Own Cavalry) is one of the twenty-one Cavalry regiments of the Indian Army. It had its origin in two regiments of Scinde Irregular Horse Raised in Hyderabad in 1839 and ’46 respectively. These two regiments were absorbed into the regular forces about 1860 and ultimately became the 35th Scinde Horse and the 36th Jacob’s Horse. They saw active service in Northern and Central India, Persia and Afghanistan and, during the Great War, in France and Palestine. They were amalgamated in 1921. The present regiment is recruited from Pathans, Sikhs and Musalman Rajputs of the Punjab. We show the Risaldar-Major in full dress; a scene on the N.W. Frontier appears in the background.

The Poona Horse (17th Queen Victoria’s Own Cavalry)

 15The Poona Horse is the descendent of the 3rd Regiment of Bombay Light Cavalry, raised in 1820, and the Poona Auxiliary Horse, raised about 1817-18. The later unit was absorbed into the regular forces about 1860 and the two regiments later became the 33rd Queen Victoria’s Own Light Cavalry and the 34th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Poona Horse. These were amalgamated in 1921 into the present regiment. The battle honours of which tell of service in three Afghan wars, in Persia, Abyssinia and China, as well as in the Great War. We show a Risaldar in Full Dress- a senior Indian officer of Cavalry. The background portrays Fort Jamrud, on the N.W. Frontier.

19th (KGO) Lancers

 16The history of the 19th (King George’s Own) Lancers extends back to the years immediately following the Indian Mutiny, when the 2nd Regiment of Mahratta Horse was raised at Gwalior in 1858 and Fane’s Horse was raised at Cawnpore in 1860. These two units, which later became the 18th King George’s Own Lancers and the 19th Lancers (Fane’s horse) respectively, were amalgamated in 1922 under their present designation. They had previously seen service in Northern India, China and Afghanistan and, in the Great War, in France and Palestine. The regiment is now recruited from Sikhs, Jats and Musalmans of the Punjab. We show an Indian Musalman officer (a captain in full dress); a view of the Khyber pass is seen in the background.

Madras Sappers and Miners

17The Sappers and Miners, as the engineers of the Indian Army are designated, are divided into three Corps, of which Queen Victoria’s Own Madras Sappers and Miners are the senior. The Corps was originally raised in 1780 and has taken part in almost every campaign since then in which Indian troops have shared. Its battle honours before 1914 show service in Egypt, Java, China, Persia, Abyssinia and Afghanistan, as well as in India, while in the Great War its units fought in France, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Persia and East Africa. It is recruited entirely from the Madras Presidency. We show the Subadar-Major of the Corps in full dress, standing in front of Government House, Madras.

5th Mahratta Light Infantry

 18The Subadar-Major shown in our picture belongs to the 4th Battalion, which was originally raised in 1800 as a battalion of the 8th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry. It fought through the Great War, rendering gallant service in Iraq as the 116th Mahrattas, and received its present designation in the great post-war reorganisation of 1922. It is composed entirely of Mahrattas, sturdy fighters from the uplands of the Bombay Presidency round Poona and Satara. In the days of the East India Company, the Mahrattas put up a stout resistance to the Company’s forces in the two Mahratta Wars of 1775 and 1802. The background shows the “Gateway of India”, Bombay.

6th Rajputana Rifles

 19The 6th Rajputana Rifles consists, like most of the eighteen Indian Infantry regiments, of five active and one training (the 10th) battalions. The oldest of these battalions dates back to 1775, when it formed a unit of the old Bombay Army. One or other of them saw fighting in almost every campaign since that date in which Indian troops have been employed both in and out of India, and their Great War battle honours cover France, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Persia and East Africa. They are composed of Rajputs and Jats from Rajputana, and Musalmans from the Punjab, the Subadar-Major shown in our picture being a Rajput. The War Memorial Arch, New Delhi, appears in the background.

7th Rajput Regiment

 20The Subadar shown in full dress in our picture is an Indian officer belonging to the 1st Battalion (Queen Victoria’s Own light infantry), which was originally raised in 1798. For distinguished service in 1803 under General Lake it was permitted to carry a third honorary colour, and an additional Indian officer is still included in its strength to carry this colour. During the Great War it upheld its reputation in Egypt and Iraq. It is one of the fifteen Indian cavalry and infantry units which have been selected for Indianisation. No further junior British officers will be posted to these units, although senior British officers will remain with them till Indian officers are available to take their place. The background shows the Kutub Minar, Delhi.

Canadian Made Wash Roll

A lot of Canadian personal kit was based off of British designs, as indeed was most of that used in the Empire in World War II. The colonies did however make some minor changes and tonight we are looking at a Canadian made wash roll:imageThe most obvious difference is that it is made of a tan coloured cotton rather than the white used in Great Britain. The tapes on the end are still made in white though:imageI have seen other examples where the tapes are in green and I suspect that there is no significance to this beyond being a manufacturing change. The basic design is identical though and has a large pocket at one end and a series of loops along the body of the wash roll to fit knife, fork, spoon, razor, comb, spare bootlaces etc. into:imageThere is no maker’s name stamped onto the wash roll, but a large /|\ within a ‘C’ stamp indicates Canadian ownership:imageI have seen other Canadian made examples that are dated and stamped up with a manufacturer’s name, the wonderfully titled Parisian Corset Manufacturing Company Limited of Quebec being one of them.

Canadian Made Utility Strap

Tonight we are looking at a Canadian made utility strap:imageI have called this a ‘utility strap’ because, to be honest, I have been unable to find out what its official designation should be. The 1908 and 1937 pattern webbing both included ‘supporting straps’ that are used to help balance the large pack and at first glance this strap appears to be one of these, however when measured my example is just 27” long rather than the requisite 32” in length. This strap would certainly have had a use and was probably for securing something in a roll or to another piece of webbing, but I do not have a definitive answer. This example was made in Canada in 1943 by Zephyr Loom and Textile Ltd, as can be seen by the ink stamp on the webbing:imageNote also the /|\ inside a ‘C’ acceptance stamp of the Canadian military and the slight yellowish colour of the webbing that is so characteristic of Canadian production. This strap is unusual in having the chape fitting made of the usual brass:imageBut the buckle is made of ‘battle brass’:imageBattle brass was brass finished in a brown phosphate finish to prevent it from reflecting light in the field and seems to have been a uniquely Canadian feature. Battle brass was introduced in 1943, the year this strap was manufactured and my guess would be that the buckles on this production line ran out before the end chapes and so this strap has ended up with a mix of fittings as one component was transferred over to the new material before the other.

If anyone reading can help identify exactly what this strap has come from please get in contact. There seems to be a myriad variety of these sort of straps in different lengths which all clearly had a purpose when they were made that has been forgotten about since!

51 Pattern Compass Pouch

It has been some time since we last looked at an example of post-war Canadian webbing. Collecting of these sets has slowed down a bit, but thanks to the generosity of Michel Auger from Canada, I am very pleased to have been able to add an example of the 51 pattern compass pouch to my little collection:imageThe compass pouch is very closely based upon the earlier 37 pattern design from the UK, but made in the dark green of the 51 pattern set. The rear of the case is very similar, but features simple webbing loops to pass a belt through, rather than the metal ‘C’ hooks of the 37 pattern set:imageThis change in construction makes sense when you remember that the 51 pattern belt is very different in design to its predecessor and does not have the woven pockets on the rear for ‘c’ hooks to slot into. The front of the pouch has a box lid that is secured with a large blackened press stud:imageThis opens to allow access to the compass which fits snuggly inside:imageBoth the early prismatic and the later marching compasses can fit in easily. They are protected by a thick layer of reclaimed wool felt that surrounds the compass and offers some insulation from knocks and bumps:imageI am unsure of the technical term for this felt in Canada, but it is made of what is colloquially known as ‘mungo’ in my part of Yorkshire. This is a poor quality fabric made from the torn up rags and cloth that is pressed or sometimes woven into a cheap cloth.

The underside of the box lid is stamped with the date of manufacture ‘1953’:imageNote also the circular acceptance mark stamped here. I have finally found some information out about this mark. It consists of a stylised leaf in a circle with the letters ‘IS’ for ‘Inspection Services’ and was stamped on the webbing to indicate that it met the requirements for military service.

It has been nice to add another piece to my Canadian collection, which had rather stalled of late. It has given me a little incentive to try and track down a few more components.

Tangled Web Book Review

Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Canadian webbing. Therefore I have been looking for a copy of tonight’s book, Tangled Web, Canadian Infantry Accoutrements, 1855-1985, by Jack Summers for quite a while. This book was first published in 1989 and it is, as far as I am aware, the only book covering the use of webbing and leather accoutrements by the Canadian Militia and Army. The book covers a wide variety of load bearing equipment from the earliest leather sets used with percussion muskets up to the 82 pattern design that had just been introduced when the book was published. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, but as is often the case with books of this age all the illustrations are in black and white- this does not distract from their usefulness and many rare images of troops wearing the articles appear alongside photographs of the objects themselves.81snKx+B9uLThe book is divided thematically based on the type of weapon in use by the Canadian Army at various times in its history. This book very much focuses on the items themselves, modifications made in the field and depots and feedback on their utility based on user reports. It is not a book about Canadian manufacture of accoutrements or the specifically Canadian methods of production, so there is no coverage of companies such as Zephyr Loom and Textile Ltd or of uniquely Canadian features such as resin dipped strap ends. This however is not the aim of the book and there is plenty of uniquely Canadian information between the covers to make it worth tracking down a copy. As well as the modern sets we have covered on the blog before (the 51, 64 and 82 pattern sets) the book also covers in detail the pre-WW1 Canadian sets such as the Oliver leather equipment set and the numerous modifications made to them in Canada based on experience on the Western Front.Capture1Summers has an easy writing style and it helps that he provides context of the various conflicts Canada was involved with at the period each set was being used- I for one knew virtually nothing about the Fenian Raids on Canada in the Victorian era so this background was very much appreciated. This book covers a long period of history and it is nice to see the stop start nature of military procurement. On occasions incremental changes are made to equipment, at other times in history it is a revolutionary leap and this comes across nicely in a way that is not always the case with books covering a shorter time frame.Capture2There is no denying that this book is a specialist title, but it is packed full of information and well worth tracking down a copy if you have a particular interest in Canadian accoutrements. Sadly it seems to have been out of print for a number of years and copies are not easily available in the UK. If you are in the US or Canada this seems to be less of an issue. It is currently listed at £70 for a volume on Abebooks, however it is possible to find the book for less if you are willing to import from North America or check EBay regularly. My copy came from the latter site for £20 and this is a book well worth snagging if you can find a copy at a reasonable price.Capture3

Canadian Army Combat Coat

It has been a while since we looked at any post-war Canadian army uniforms and equipment. Last year we took a detailed study of the Canadian 64 pattern here, one of the defining features of this set was the lack of an ammunition pouch, troops carrying magazines in the pockets of their jackets. It is one of these jackets we are looking at tonight:imageOfficially these are known as ‘Coat, Combat, Mk II’ and were a modification of a design of jacket introduced in 1964. This design of uniform was a major departure for the Canadian Army and was the first uniform that was designed to not be ironed or starched. Bright insignia was replaced with subdued rank and name badges and it was forbidden to dry clean or iron the uniform due to the nylon reinforcements. The Mk I uniform carried four magazines for the C1 rifle, the Mk II though had provision for 6 magazines and had a waist drawstring added.

Two angled pockets are fitted to the chest:imageThese are reinforced with nylon and can each hold a C1 rifle magazine:imageTwo further, larger pockets are sewn onto the skirts of the combat coat:imageThese each have internal nylon pockets as well:imageTwo magazines can be carried in each large pocket, although the fit is extremely tight on this particular coat:imagePlease note that I am using SLR magazines rather than C1 magazines as I do not have the latter so this might explain why they are not a perfect fit! All the fastenings on the combat coat are secured using buttons that themselves are sewn on with tapes rather than thread:imageIt is interesting to note that this feature was in use by the Canadians thirty years before the British adopted it in the CS95 series of clothing! This combat coat has epaulettes on the shoulders for rank insignia:imageHowever as it was worn by a sergeant his rank is sewn to the sleeves. The rank is in subdued green, but has a rather nice embroidered Canadian maple leaf above it:imageThe original owner’s name is embroidered on a cotton tape sewn to the chest:imageSadly the original label for this combat coat is completely unreadable, however this design was produced between 1969 and 1982 so it is most likely from the 1970s. Although very popular, this garment had one fundamental weakness. It was made of a 50% cotton 50% nylon blend so it was not flame retardant and could catch fire easily. It also had a tendency to pick up oil stains that were very hard to shift and if bleached went an interesting pink colour! Despite these flaws, the combat uniform was much liked by troops and saw service for many years, indeed it was still used into the 2000s by cadets who, for political reasons, were not issued Cadpat uniforms for field exercises.

Canadian 37 Pattern Holster

Canada had some interesting variations to the standard 37 pattern webbing used across the empire. One of the most radical was their standard pistol holster which has a far more curved shape than that manufactured in other countries:imageThis was actually the second pattern of Canadian holster, the first pattern was the same as a standard British 37 pattern holster. In 1942 though, a new design was introduced that better fitted large frame revolvers such as the World War One .455 Webleys and Smith and Wesson Hand Ejectors. Although officially replaced by .380 versions, these older and larger revolvers were still popular amongst the Canadians for their stopping power, but they were too big for a standard 37 pattern holster. The new Canadian design accommodated these revolvers easily and was still perfectly compatible with a standard .380 revolver (as seen in the photographs in this post). As is typical of Canadian production, the webbing is of excellent quality, with a separate tape binding sewn along every seam. The base of the holster has a small brass drainage hole fitted to allow water to drain away easily:imageThe top flap is secured has a nice curved shape and rounded corners secured with a smooth brass press stud, produced by ‘United Carr’ of Canada:imageThe back of the holster is fairly standard and mirrors the design of the standard Mills product:imageThe holster is secured to the belt by two brass ‘c’ hooks and a top ‘c’ hook to allow it to be fastened to the pistol ammunition pouch:imageA channel is sewn into the inside of the holster to fit a cleaning rod into:imageThe holster is marked inside ‘ZL&T Ltd’ with a manufactured date of 1943 and a Canadian acceptance mark of /|\ inside a ‘C’:imageThis holster was manufactured by the Zephyr Loom and Textiles Ltd, one of two main Canadian manufacturers. For a detailed study of Canadian webbing development check out this excellent thread.