PPCLI and CANADA combination

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PPCLI and CANADA combination

Steve F
Steve F

May 3rd, 2010, 10:41 pm #1

It would seem that the PPCLI did not wear the Canada titles overseas during the Second World War unlike most other units whose title did not contain the word Canada in it. Was the PPCLI exempt for some reason or is there another reason why the Canada titles don't appear in wartime photos?
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

May 3rd, 2010, 11:49 pm #2

I will go out on a limb and I think that because the full name has 'Canadian' in it that the regiment did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles. I think as well that the various Corps did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles with their abbreviated titles, but again, I am speculating without doing any checking.
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Bill A
Bill A

May 4th, 2010, 1:41 am #3

The PPCLI marched to a different tune as far as the shoulder titles were concerned. They were the first Canadian unit to wear distinctive shoulder titles, and went overseas with the embroidered title in 1939. Having said this, I think that Ed has the answer. Though a bit of a stretch, the PPCLI designation did contain the "Canada" element. It met the spirit of the order, if not the letter.
This was a great observation Steve. I will do some more research.
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Steve F
Steve F

May 4th, 2010, 3:16 am #4

I just thought that the unit title had to literally have the word Canada or Canadian to be exempt from wearing the separate Canada title. For example, RCAMC still wore the Canada title from what I have seen even though the first letter C obviously stood for Canadian. Anyways, there probably are many examples that are not coming to mind at the moment and it's just one of those little UFI points that I've been wondering about for some time. It could very well be that the hierarchy of the PPCLI felt that the red and white title was well known enough that the extra title wasn't required.
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Joined: June 10th, 2004, 11:45 pm

May 4th, 2010, 4:16 am #5

Yeah Steve,

The RCA wore the nationality title as well. It seems the PPCLI did march to a different tune. A friend was in the Pats and knows a lot of the history. I'll see if he knows.

Bob
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

May 4th, 2010, 9:35 am #6

I will go out on a limb and I think that because the full name has 'Canadian' in it that the regiment did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles. I think as well that the various Corps did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles with their abbreviated titles, but again, I am speculating without doing any checking.
Looks like the PPCLI are an entity unto their own as R.C.E. badges were also worn with the nationality title.
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Adrian Rittner
Adrian Rittner

May 17th, 2010, 3:50 pm #7

I will go out on a limb and I think that because the full name has 'Canadian' in it that the regiment did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles. I think as well that the various Corps did not have to wear 'CANADA' titles with their abbreviated titles, but again, I am speculating without doing any checking.
Having been a WW1 and WW2 PPCLI re-enactor for over 15 years now. This question seems to keep coming up. We have yet to see any evidence or photos that would show the "canada" flash on a PPCLI uniform, all are without, including my original late war BD. I suspect that the lack of the "canada" flash is due to the original uniform that dates back to early WW1. The Service Dress had the brass "Canada" titles on the base of the shoulder strap. When the '37 pattern was first devised to replace this garment there was no flashes or division patches on the sleeve. Somehow as BD insignia changed and adorned the new blouse the PPCLI simply never adopted the cloth "canada" flash. A valid reason probably will never be answered. Maybe they just slipped throught the system or maybe it was just not needed as the C was could enough to covered the oversees Canadian ID crisis.

One thing is for certain, as a re-enactor, the missing Canada flash is an issue. Nothing is worse than attending a US re-enactment and having to walk by a tourist with that question, "are your British or Polish?" Than having to explain in great detail the involvement of Canada during the war, and that their brothers to the north were participants in the conflict years sooner that their American counterparts. A "Canada" flash might of helped to alleviate this ID problem.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 17th, 2010, 11:29 pm #8

But not active participants, as far as the Canadian Army went... 6 fellows went missing from the 1st Division in France in 1940 without making contact with the enemy. Spitsbergen and Hardelot are about it. U.S. Rangers were alongside Canadian troops at Dieppe during their first real test, and at the same time Canadians in the Pacific were fighting at Hong Kong, the Japanese were landing in the Philippines on their way to the Battle of Bataan.

So there isn't really any reason to get smug about "having to explain in great detail the involvement of Canada during the war, and that their brothers to the north were participants in the conflict years sooner that their American counterparts" since the Canadian Army was mostly just an observer and despite the head-start, didn't get into action any quicker than the U.S. Army, in either theatre of war.

I will also correct you on one other point, if only in jest. You say: "We have yet to see any evidence or photos that would show the "canada" flash on a PPCLI uniform, all are without, including my original late war BD."

If you look at the 1968 UA film "The Devil's Brigade", the character of Sgt. Patrick O'Neill wears a beautiful 1949 pattern Canadian Battle Dress, very nicely adorned with PPCLI shoulder flashes, 1st Division titles, and big white CANADA titles.



Not that I would dream of accepting this as a reliable source. Just saying that it happened, if only incorrectly. I think the film makers had the same problem you reenactors had - they really wanted to show that the fella was Canadian. What better way.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Alex Junier
Alex Junier

May 19th, 2010, 4:15 pm #9

Yeah Steve,

The RCA wore the nationality title as well. It seems the PPCLI did march to a different tune. A friend was in the Pats and knows a lot of the history. I'll see if he knows.

Bob
There is also the West Nova Scotia Regiment, I have a original jacket in my collection wich was left behind here in Holland in 1945. It lacks the Canada strips.
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Joined: February 5th, 2005, 4:07 pm

May 22nd, 2010, 8:54 pm #10

But not active participants, as far as the Canadian Army went... 6 fellows went missing from the 1st Division in France in 1940 without making contact with the enemy. Spitsbergen and Hardelot are about it. U.S. Rangers were alongside Canadian troops at Dieppe during their first real test, and at the same time Canadians in the Pacific were fighting at Hong Kong, the Japanese were landing in the Philippines on their way to the Battle of Bataan.

So there isn't really any reason to get smug about "having to explain in great detail the involvement of Canada during the war, and that their brothers to the north were participants in the conflict years sooner that their American counterparts" since the Canadian Army was mostly just an observer and despite the head-start, didn't get into action any quicker than the U.S. Army, in either theatre of war.

I will also correct you on one other point, if only in jest. You say: "We have yet to see any evidence or photos that would show the "canada" flash on a PPCLI uniform, all are without, including my original late war BD."

If you look at the 1968 UA film "The Devil's Brigade", the character of Sgt. Patrick O'Neill wears a beautiful 1949 pattern Canadian Battle Dress, very nicely adorned with PPCLI shoulder flashes, 1st Division titles, and big white CANADA titles.



Not that I would dream of accepting this as a reliable source. Just saying that it happened, if only incorrectly. I think the film makers had the same problem you reenactors had - they really wanted to show that the fella was Canadian. What better way.
A statement made during recruit training at the PPCLI Depot regarding Canada flashes not being worn because of the C in the PPCLI titles sticks in my memory. Granted, the statement was made more than a half century ago, so the memory cells may not be absolutely reliable.

But then, what about the Maple Leaf/Canada shoulder patch worn on BD sleeves during the Korean War?
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