WW2 General Service Bonnet in Canadian units?

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WW2 General Service Bonnet in Canadian units?

Craig
Craig

September 14th, 2010, 2:05 am #1

I am looking for some info on the WW2 British General Service Bonnet. Specifically, I am curious as to how commonly these were issued to, or worn by, Canadian units. Mr. Dorosh makes only a brief reference to the General Service Bonnet in "Dressed to Kill", but doesn't mention anything about them being worn in the Canadian Army:

"Beginning in 1943, the FS cap was itself replaced with a brown beret. The beret was a true one piece wool beret of Basque design, unlike the General Service Bonnet then being worn by the British Army."

I have seen a couple of pictures of soldiers of the Perth Regiment wearing the General Service Bonnet while in Italy (here is one from Stan Scislowski from his book "Not All of us Were Brave"):



Was this fairly common? Were these regular issue for a brief period? Were these worn by other units besides the Perths? At would point would they have been replaced by the khaki berets?

Looking forward to learning more from some of the experts on the forum...
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Michael Dorosh
Michael Dorosh

September 14th, 2010, 8:07 pm #2

"I have seen a couple of pictures"

I've seen a couple of pictures of soldiers of the Van Doos wearing British battledress also, but it never convinced me that the Canadian authorities stopped issue of Canadian produced clothing in Italy. The only exception I know of as far as unit-scale issues was Khaki Drill and tropical clothing, issue of which was primarly British or Indian produced.

Barring someone doing deeper research than I've been able to do in the national archives, I see no reason to conclude - based on a couple of photos - that the GS Bonnet was a unit-scale issue. But anything is possible, certainly in Italy, where shipping space to theater was always a factor.

I don't claim to be an expert, however. If someone else has additional information, I'd be very interested to read it.
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Craig
Craig

October 12th, 2010, 1:20 am #3

I am looking for some info on the WW2 British General Service Bonnet. Specifically, I am curious as to how commonly these were issued to, or worn by, Canadian units. Mr. Dorosh makes only a brief reference to the General Service Bonnet in "Dressed to Kill", but doesn't mention anything about them being worn in the Canadian Army:

"Beginning in 1943, the FS cap was itself replaced with a brown beret. The beret was a true one piece wool beret of Basque design, unlike the General Service Bonnet then being worn by the British Army."

I have seen a couple of pictures of soldiers of the Perth Regiment wearing the General Service Bonnet while in Italy (here is one from Stan Scislowski from his book "Not All of us Were Brave"):



Was this fairly common? Were these regular issue for a brief period? Were these worn by other units besides the Perths? At would point would they have been replaced by the khaki berets?

Looking forward to learning more from some of the experts on the forum...
I have another question regarding the wearing of British-issue headgear by Canadian soldiers in WW2. I have seen a couple of WW2 caps (one a black tanker's beret, and the other a TOS) badged to Canadian units, but with British makers' marks and the British broad arrow inside. Was it normal for Canadian soldiers to possess/wear British issue headgear? I am no longer talking about British headgear issued to a whole unit, but instead referring to the chances of an individual soldier being issued a British-made cap.

I remember a thread where Mr. Storey mentioned that a Canadian serving overseas during WW2 could potentially be issued anything British, depending on what was available. I know this applied to webbing and equipment - can I assume that this applied to headgear as well?

Hoping the experts out there can once again inform me. Thanks.



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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

October 12th, 2010, 2:39 am #4

Although the Canadian government did its utmost to ensure that Canadians were issued with Canadian manufactured clothing, due to supply contingencies Britihs clothing could be issued to Canadians. This also applies to US manufactured War Aid clothing.
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Craig
Craig

October 13th, 2010, 4:45 am #5

Thanks for the reply Ed. I do appreciate your wealth of knowledge on these matters.

Part of the reason I previously asked about Canadians wearing British headgear has to do with a display I have been working on. I have been trying to find a nice WW2 Canadian Tam O' Shanter but have yet to have any luck finding a nice wartime-dated example. I have, however, been able to aquire a couple of British examples. The first one, despite some mothing, had no badge holes. I was leaning toward adding a Cameron Highlanders of Canada badge to it (thanks again to Mr. Dorosh for helping me determine the "correct" location to mount a badge). However, before I got around to mounting the Camerons badge on this cap, I aquired a second British TOS which, other than the holes from a previous badge, was quite minty. It turned out that the Camerons badge I had was almost a perfect fit for the holes on this second TOS. As such, the badge (and the Cameron of Erracht tartan backing) went on this cap instead for my display.



Although it suits the purpose of my display quite well, I did wonder how common it might have been to find a Canadian soldier wearing a British issue cap. As I mentioned before, I have seen a couple of British caps badged to Canadian units, but was not sure if this was a common occurance or not. I guess the possiblity existed that a Canadian Cameron could have been issued a British cap (so displaying my TOS with a Canadian badge would not necessarily be completely "wrong"), but I would still prefer to find a Canadian-made example (the majority of the caps in my collection of headgear are Canadian). Perhaps I am just being too nitpicky and should just stick with the beautiful cap I already have. Although not Canadian, it diplays very nicely and would certainly be hard to improve upon...

If anybody out there has a nice Canadian-made TOS (especially made by Brill Cap or Buffalo Cap of Winnipeg) that they might be willing to part with, let me know - I would consider offering up my British TOS in trade. The cap is marked S&P Harris LTD, Glasgow and is dated 1945 with the British broad arrow. If interested, please send me an email.


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John Mullen
John Mullen

October 13th, 2010, 12:59 pm #6

Hello Craig
I read with interest your posting regarding the T.O.S. I am presently looking for a brass Cameron shoulder title to finish a display. Would you have a spare one of these lying around. Please let me know.

Regards
John
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Anonymous
Anonymous

October 13th, 2010, 1:48 pm #7

John,

Marway Militaria has a pair of brass titles (Camerons of Ottawa) listed on their website for $22.00 if this is what you need.

Geoff
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John Mullen
John Mullen

October 13th, 2010, 2:27 pm #8

Hello Craig
I read with interest your posting regarding the T.O.S. I am presently looking for a brass Cameron shoulder title to finish a display. Would you have a spare one of these lying around. Please let me know.

Regards
John
Hello Geoff
Many thanks for the information, I need a British Cameron title. Any suggestions where I might obtain one of these. Any help would be appreciated.

Regards
John
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Anonymous
Anonymous

October 13th, 2010, 5:43 pm #9

"Many thanks for the information, I need a British Cameron title. Any suggestions where I might obtain one of these. Any help would be appreciated. "

Tried Ebay?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Cameron-Highlanders ... 563f8f333f

http://cgi.ebay.com/Cameron-Highlanders ... 563eef7f90
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Andrew Upton
Andrew Upton

October 13th, 2010, 5:44 pm #10

No text!
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