RCAF Shoulder Titles

RCAF Shoulder Titles

Joined: July 22nd, 2005, 4:36 pm

August 24th, 2005, 9:59 pm #1

I have recently added RCAF to my WW2 re-enacting interests.

The air force end does not seem as clear cut and well defined as it was for my army research.

While terrorizing Ontario this summer I took the opportunity to visit the war plane museum as well as the RCAF museum in Trenton. A couple of hundred photos later and after talking to a less than helpful curator at the Trenton stop I felt I was well on my way with my uniform concerns.

I was recently gifted a pristine war dated suit aircrew blouse (about 99% nap) and rather than compromise this item I invested in a repro aircrew suit. I got it ready for the VJ Day celebrations here in Winnipeg and wore it to add some historical colour to an event that had a dismal public showing. (That will be saved for another rant.)

Now for my RCAF uniform concerns.

I know that the greatest number of you out there portray RAF officer types. I waffled over NCO ground crew but settled on a RCAF Sgt AG.

All was well and fine until this week when I started to do more digging. Ploughing through my piles of books I am finding out some very strange things about the shoulder titles on aircrew suits for RCAF as a result of studying the photos. These photos were taken in England according to the credits.

Some NCO blouses had:

1. Canada over the eagle
2. The eagle only
3. Canada only on an NCO
4. No shoulder title at all

In the museum photos I have evidence of 1 and 2 from above but not 3 and 4.

The original blouse I have has evidence of only the Canada title as shown by a slight crushing of the wool.

Now what is correct? I know all about the 10 yard rule (been there, seen horrendous stuff up close).

Was the war time economy such that as long as they had a body to put in a plane, they would worry about uniformity at a later date? Besides that only one in five made it back. Or was there no hard and fast rule? I know the army has all kinds of exceptions based on regimental traditions, the air force is less likely so.

My service dress uniform is less of a concern.

I have more questions to ask and get your minds going.

Later for those.

PS Thank you to Chris Kanca for your help on my last post regarding service dress sizes.

Cheers

Don
Winnipeg
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Joined: March 15th, 2005, 4:15 am

August 24th, 2005, 10:55 pm #2

Funny you should bring this up, as i was going to ask close to the same thing. Im badging up my BD to represent a Flt. Lt in the RCAF, and I was wondering if the curved Canada shoulder titles would be appropriate. Hopefully anyone who knows will be able to answer both our questions. Thanks
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Joined: July 22nd, 2005, 4:36 pm

August 24th, 2005, 11:32 pm #3

From what I have seen in photos the titles on an officer blouse are appear to be "subdued" that is a blue grey. The OR titles are definitely a blue/black just like the material on original NCO chevrons.

Now I will officially kick the bees nest!

My reading and low level research tells me that the "Canada" distiction was ony for overseas duty. According to Storey (and that is the one he is sticking to)as of May 17, 1940 the "Canada" on the title was only for overseas duty (and forbidden for use in Canada) and this also applied to the "Canada" distinction on officer's uniforms. The curator at the Trenton museum looked at me as is I had two heads when I mentioned this to her. "That is the first I ever heard of that." Was her answer and when I wanted to do some more digging on that issue she just dismissed me.

Is there anyone else out there who wants to enter the fray?

Cheers

Don
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 25th, 2005, 12:10 am #4

I have recently added RCAF to my WW2 re-enacting interests.

The air force end does not seem as clear cut and well defined as it was for my army research.

While terrorizing Ontario this summer I took the opportunity to visit the war plane museum as well as the RCAF museum in Trenton. A couple of hundred photos later and after talking to a less than helpful curator at the Trenton stop I felt I was well on my way with my uniform concerns.

I was recently gifted a pristine war dated suit aircrew blouse (about 99% nap) and rather than compromise this item I invested in a repro aircrew suit. I got it ready for the VJ Day celebrations here in Winnipeg and wore it to add some historical colour to an event that had a dismal public showing. (That will be saved for another rant.)

Now for my RCAF uniform concerns.

I know that the greatest number of you out there portray RAF officer types. I waffled over NCO ground crew but settled on a RCAF Sgt AG.

All was well and fine until this week when I started to do more digging. Ploughing through my piles of books I am finding out some very strange things about the shoulder titles on aircrew suits for RCAF as a result of studying the photos. These photos were taken in England according to the credits.

Some NCO blouses had:

1. Canada over the eagle
2. The eagle only
3. Canada only on an NCO
4. No shoulder title at all

In the museum photos I have evidence of 1 and 2 from above but not 3 and 4.

The original blouse I have has evidence of only the Canada title as shown by a slight crushing of the wool.

Now what is correct? I know all about the 10 yard rule (been there, seen horrendous stuff up close).

Was the war time economy such that as long as they had a body to put in a plane, they would worry about uniformity at a later date? Besides that only one in five made it back. Or was there no hard and fast rule? I know the army has all kinds of exceptions based on regimental traditions, the air force is less likely so.

My service dress uniform is less of a concern.

I have more questions to ask and get your minds going.

Later for those.

PS Thank you to Chris Kanca for your help on my last post regarding service dress sizes.

Cheers

Don
Winnipeg
Shoulder eagles:
The RCAF uniform for all ranks below the rank of WO1 should have shoulder eagles (facing rearwards). These were supposed to be on a dark blue/black backing just below the shoulder seams.

As more and more RCAF members deployed overseas, a combined version of shoulder eagle and CANADA title was created.

On operational stations, one can see considerable latitude in what badging was used. On some RCAF squadrons, aircrew dispensed with shoulder eagles and wore just the CANADA titles -- on either blue-grey or black backing. Most wore the requisite badging in either combined eagle/Canada badge or with the Canada title above the standard eagles. In some instances, no shoulder badging of any kind can be observed.

There are several personal accounts of NCO pilots wearing officer cap badges on their sidecaps as an unofficial means of conveying their "aircraft captain" status.

For nationality titles, the CANADA title was for wear outside of Canada. This applied to both officers and ORs with officers wearing the curved blue-grey version and ORs wearing theirs on blue-black. Newfoundland, at this point, was deemed to be service outside of Canada. Service members who served an overseas posting could, at their discretion, continue to wear a shoulder title upon return home, thereby indicating they served outside the national boundaries.

Muddying all this up is the fact that there were also Canadians serving in RAF. These chaps wore CANADA titles (at their discretion) anywhere they went which means a Canadian member of RAF serving/training in Canada could wear the CANADA titles but his Canadian buddy serving in RCAF and also training in Canada could not.

What does all this mean, visually? A Canadian RAF officer wearing service dress would look identical to his Canadian RCAF officer counterpart with the sole exception of the buttons on his jacket. RAF wearing RAF buttons and RCAF wearing RCAF buttons.

What about RCAF OR's? If wearing Canadian pattern uniforms, these guys are pretty easy to spot. The pocket flaps on Canadian pattern uniforms feature single-pointed (e.g. Army style) pocket flaps. The CANADA title was nearly universally worn by RCAF members but remember Canadians in RAF would also be wearing the same title.

Fun stuff, eh?
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Joined: July 22nd, 2005, 4:36 pm

August 25th, 2005, 12:37 pm #5

Chis

Thank you for the information. You have cleared up some very sketchy and some conflicting information that I had.

Cheers

Don
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Joined: July 26th, 2005, 2:31 pm

August 26th, 2005, 1:33 pm #6

I have recently added RCAF to my WW2 re-enacting interests.

The air force end does not seem as clear cut and well defined as it was for my army research.

While terrorizing Ontario this summer I took the opportunity to visit the war plane museum as well as the RCAF museum in Trenton. A couple of hundred photos later and after talking to a less than helpful curator at the Trenton stop I felt I was well on my way with my uniform concerns.

I was recently gifted a pristine war dated suit aircrew blouse (about 99% nap) and rather than compromise this item I invested in a repro aircrew suit. I got it ready for the VJ Day celebrations here in Winnipeg and wore it to add some historical colour to an event that had a dismal public showing. (That will be saved for another rant.)

Now for my RCAF uniform concerns.

I know that the greatest number of you out there portray RAF officer types. I waffled over NCO ground crew but settled on a RCAF Sgt AG.

All was well and fine until this week when I started to do more digging. Ploughing through my piles of books I am finding out some very strange things about the shoulder titles on aircrew suits for RCAF as a result of studying the photos. These photos were taken in England according to the credits.

Some NCO blouses had:

1. Canada over the eagle
2. The eagle only
3. Canada only on an NCO
4. No shoulder title at all

In the museum photos I have evidence of 1 and 2 from above but not 3 and 4.

The original blouse I have has evidence of only the Canada title as shown by a slight crushing of the wool.

Now what is correct? I know all about the 10 yard rule (been there, seen horrendous stuff up close).

Was the war time economy such that as long as they had a body to put in a plane, they would worry about uniformity at a later date? Besides that only one in five made it back. Or was there no hard and fast rule? I know the army has all kinds of exceptions based on regimental traditions, the air force is less likely so.

My service dress uniform is less of a concern.

I have more questions to ask and get your minds going.

Later for those.

PS Thank you to Chris Kanca for your help on my last post regarding service dress sizes.

Cheers

Don
Winnipeg
Hi Don
I have a couple of RCAF brass buttons you can have for a quid if you need them.
They are 24mm wide and made by Gaunt & Sons, London, they have a small brass ring looped on to the back.

Let me know.
Dave
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Joined: July 22nd, 2005, 4:36 pm

August 26th, 2005, 7:15 pm #7

I have recently added RCAF to my WW2 re-enacting interests.

The air force end does not seem as clear cut and well defined as it was for my army research.

While terrorizing Ontario this summer I took the opportunity to visit the war plane museum as well as the RCAF museum in Trenton. A couple of hundred photos later and after talking to a less than helpful curator at the Trenton stop I felt I was well on my way with my uniform concerns.

I was recently gifted a pristine war dated suit aircrew blouse (about 99% nap) and rather than compromise this item I invested in a repro aircrew suit. I got it ready for the VJ Day celebrations here in Winnipeg and wore it to add some historical colour to an event that had a dismal public showing. (That will be saved for another rant.)

Now for my RCAF uniform concerns.

I know that the greatest number of you out there portray RAF officer types. I waffled over NCO ground crew but settled on a RCAF Sgt AG.

All was well and fine until this week when I started to do more digging. Ploughing through my piles of books I am finding out some very strange things about the shoulder titles on aircrew suits for RCAF as a result of studying the photos. These photos were taken in England according to the credits.

Some NCO blouses had:

1. Canada over the eagle
2. The eagle only
3. Canada only on an NCO
4. No shoulder title at all

In the museum photos I have evidence of 1 and 2 from above but not 3 and 4.

The original blouse I have has evidence of only the Canada title as shown by a slight crushing of the wool.

Now what is correct? I know all about the 10 yard rule (been there, seen horrendous stuff up close).

Was the war time economy such that as long as they had a body to put in a plane, they would worry about uniformity at a later date? Besides that only one in five made it back. Or was there no hard and fast rule? I know the army has all kinds of exceptions based on regimental traditions, the air force is less likely so.

My service dress uniform is less of a concern.

I have more questions to ask and get your minds going.

Later for those.

PS Thank you to Chris Kanca for your help on my last post regarding service dress sizes.

Cheers

Don
Winnipeg
Dave

Thanks, but I am in fine shape with buttons.

Canada/Eagle titles are another thing. We have a militaria show here in Winnipeg on Sept 11. Perhaps I will get lucky.

Cheers

Don
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