RCHA black beret?

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RCHA black beret?

Craig
Craig

February 27th, 2012, 2:19 am #1

Interesting cap and grouping on ebay right now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160748359527?ss ... 1423.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/WW2-Royal-Canad ... 256d4b6bfd

Were any units of the RCA/RCHA ever authorized to wear the black beret during WW2? I thought the black beret was exclusive to armoured units. Before posting, I did some digging through all of my books and did a search of the older posts on the forum, but could not find anything conclusive.



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Michael Dorosh
Michael Dorosh

February 27th, 2012, 3:33 pm #2


Guy Simonds joined the Army as a junior officer in the RCHA. In the Second World War, as a general officer, he habitually wore the black beret of the Canadian Armoured Corps, I always thought it was in emulation of General Montgomery, his mentor, who wore a black RAC beret as a personal trademark. Neither officer was an armoured officer (Montgomery was an infantry officer). Montgomery wore a Royal Tank Regiment badge on his.

The black beret on the face of it seems unusual. However, as a "mounted" unit, perhaps there was some indication for a black beret - perhaps the RCA Museum would be able to clarify.

After the Second World War, the arms and services adopted a 'midnight blue' beret, but the example in the auction seems to be a black one, and anyway is clearly dated 1943, long before the adoption of the midnight-blue.


Last edited by dorosh on February 27th, 2012, 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Doug Townend
Doug Townend

February 27th, 2012, 4:41 pm #3

The RCIC and RCAC did not wear the navy blue beret. The RCIC wore a scarlet beret and the RCAC wore the black beret. As well, airborne/airtransported units continued to wear the maroon beret. Rifle units were to wear green berets and the RHLI was to wear the dark green beret also. All others were to wear a navy blue beret.

The coloured beret was taken into wear under authority of Adjutant General Instruction 507/1951 dated 24 October 1951. The coloured berets were to be worn for ceremonial purposes and when walking out.

The Arms and Services wearing the navy blue beret were to wear a large coloured flash across the front of the beret as follows:

Red - RCA, RCOC, C Pro C, and General List;

Blue - RC Sigs, RCEME - dark blue, CPC (Postal) - light blue;

Yellow - RCASC, RCAPC;

Dull Cherry - RCAMC;

RCAChC - purple.

in 1954, the coloured flash was removed and replaced with a smaller backing of the same colour behind the cap badge per AGI No. 54/3. The coloured flash was to extend 1/8 inch beyond the edge of the badge.

DT.
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Dan Marte
Dan Marte

February 27th, 2012, 9:50 pm #4

Doug,

Two questions.

1) Not that I'm questioning your knowledge of Canadian Army uniform details but what would be the reason for the Service Corps to wear a black beret? It's not one of their Corps colours and there is no particular association between them and the RCAC. Would you have any idea as to why this decision was undertaken?

2) Was not the red beret of the infantry authorized only for those six militia regiments that provided companies to the 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalions? I've never seen a photograph of any member of my regiment (The RCR) wearing a red beret during that period. Nor have I seen anything similar for any member of the Patricia's or the Van Doos. As best as I've been able to uncover is that it was used by the two CIB's but fell into disuse when they were subsequently re-badged as The Canadian Guards and adopted khaki berets.

Supposedly the red beret lingered on as the unofficial head dress of those same six militia regiments as regimental affectations. I recall an exchange officer from the Hasty Pees that served with us (The RCR) in the late 70's, and he wore a red beret with his uniform which he knew and told us was a totally unauthorized item of kit, but which was worn by his regiment when parading as a unit.

Would you know when the red beret as an item for the infantry was withdrawn from general issue?

Cheers,
Dan.
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Doug Townend
Doug Townend

February 28th, 2012, 12:43 am #5

The red beret was worn by RCR personnel of the "I Staff" who came to my high school regularly to instruct the Army Cadets in various subjects from 1955 to 1958. By 1958 the beret was being replaced by the forage cap with coloured bands. The colour of the hat band replicated that of the coloured patch behind the cap badge on the beret. The RCAC had a yellow band on their forage cap.

No idea why the RCASC would wear a black beret.

In the 1960s, there were so many regimental quiffs in use it was difficult to keep track of them.

As regards the Hasty Ps, perhaps Paul Harrison can answer your question on the red beret.

DT.
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