Regimental Insignia

The information on this page was compiled with the assistance of Lieutenant Brian S. King, CD, Curator of the Regimental Museum, and Major (retired) Donald Munro, Associate Curator and First Battalion veteran.


All ranks wore the same pattern of Regimental Cap Badge on glengarries, tam o'shanters, balmorals, and melton winter hats.  As was the case in most units of the Canadian Army, there were not enough badges to go around in the early months of the war.

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Other Ranks wore a copper coloured badge with white metal beaver and scroll overlay.   Many badges were "battle bronzed", or coated with a dark brown covering (excepting the white metal overlays).  Some brass versions also appear to have existed.

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Officers, the RSM, pipers and drummers wore silver coloured badges, either chromed or nickle plated.  Some officers privately purchased sterling silver versions of the badge as well.

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The cap badge was not backed when worn on the melton winter cap.  On the glengarry, the badge was worn over a rosette of black silk (which was not always present on the glen).

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On the balmoral and tam o'shanter, the badge was backed by a square of Government tartan, cut where the lines of green intersected.

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No cap badges were worn on the steel helmet, but in England, a red and white diced decal, emulating the dicing of the glengarry, was painted on the left side of the helmet.   Each checker on this decal measured approximately 1 cm tall by 1/2 inch wide.

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Regimental Shoulder Titles

At the start of the war, there were two types of shoulder title in use on Service Dress uniforms; both these styles were taken into use once Battle Dress was adopted.

The first type had been adopted in the early 1930s, consisting of the initials "C.H" with a period seperating the letters.  These titles were worn in brass.

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The second type of shoulder title was a special distinction granted to the Calgary Highlanders shortly before the war.

When Battle Honours for the First World War were being considered in the 1920s, the units that perpetuated the 10th and 16th Battalions of the CEF were perturbed that they did not receive recognition for the Battle of Kitcheners Wood.  That battle had marked the first offensive action taken by Canadian soldiers in the First World War, and was later described by Marshall Foch as "the finest act in the War."  The commanding officers of the three battalions (The Canadian Scottish Regiment, The Calgary Highlanders, and The Winnipeg Light Infantry) petitioned Ottawa, and gained the support of many prominent individuals such as Sir Arthur Currie.  The Adjutant General proposed that a distinction in dress be awarded in lieu of a battle honour.

In June 1926, it was suggested that one or more oak leaves on a blood red background be adopted as a collar badge, as Kitcheners Wood had been an oak plantation.   The Calgary Highlanders preferred a badge be worn on the lower sleeve while the WLI preferred an upper sleeve badge.  All three agreed that an acorn and oak leaf design was desirable.  The Adjutant General agreed that a collar badge depicting a single acorn and oak leaf was acceptable, and could be worn in conjunction with existing collar badges, as precedence for double collar badges had been set in the British Army by the Seaforth Highlanders and the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

In 1930, the Adjutant General's office proposed that the collar badges of the individual units be set upon a bronze oak leaf.  This idea was rejected, and in 1933 a metal shoulder badge was agreed upon.  The Calgary Highlanders and Canadian Scottish wanted the full name of the regiment to be part of the design, while the WLI wanted only their initials.

General Orders in 1934 granted authority for the Calgary Highlanders and Canadian Scottish to wear bronze oak leaf and acorn badges with their names inscribed on an annulus.  The WLI were to wear a badge consisting of the oak leaf and acorn with the initials on the regiment superimposed.When the badges were presented in 1938, the Calgary Highlanders' design had again changed to one resembling the WLI, being a brass oakleaf with the letters CH superimposed.   It is not clear why the change was made.

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Barry Agnew, curator of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, uncovered these drawings of suggested badges in the National Archives in Ottawa.  None of the badges were ever worn.
Photo reproduced from The Oakleaf, Regimental Newsletter of the Calgary Highlanders, Dec 1991 issue.

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Calgary Highlanders oak leaf badges were issued in right and left pairs.  They were worn with the acorn pointing to the wearer's front.

The oakleaves were worn on Battle Dress, by those that had them, as well as the older C.H badges.  In England, the wearing of brass shoulder titles on Battle Dress was stopped.  As well a cloth shoulder title with the title CALGARY HIGHLANDERS stitched in black onto a khaki background had been introduced.  Other Ranks slipped this title over their shoulder straps, and it appears that officers sewed the badge to their upper sleeves. 

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In 1941, the Second Division adopted Battle Patches, as had been worn in the First World War.  The Calgary Highlanders dispensed with the slip on titles and instead were recognized only by a red triangle sewn above the blue Second Division formation patches adopted midway through the year.  These were worn in conjunction with the CANADA titles worn by overseas troops since the introduction of Battle Dress.

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After the Dieppe Raid in August 1942, the Division conformed to the rest of the Canadian Army, and adopted embroidered shoulder titles to distinguish one regiment from another. 

According to the staff at the regimental museum, the first pattern of badge was a blue crescent, with CALGARY HIGHLANDERS and CANADA embroidered thereupon.  While small numbers of these titles have been found on the collectors market, there is no evidence to suggest that they ever progressed past prototype stage.  There is no photographic record of the badges being worn.

Instead, the Calgary Highlanders adopted an oval shaped badge, conforming to the other rifle battalions in the Division, with the name CALGARY HIGHLANDERS embroidered in green, with CANADA also embroidered in red.  The CANADA title was thus not worn in conjunction with this title.   Several variations of this badge can be seen, as they were manufactured in England and in Holland.   Economy patterns printed on canvas can also be found.
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Photo and artifacts from the collection of Bill Alexander.  One or two of these badges may be, in fact, postwar.

Regimental Buttons

Metal buttons were worn on several uniforms; on the Service Dress Jacket and the greatcoat primarily, though they were also worn on the band's full dress uniforms.  Two patterns of regimental button are known to have existed; one bearing the cap badge, and a second pattern with only the St. Andrew's cross and beaver.  The buttons can be found in brass with some (probably second pattern) possibly chromed.  The regimental buttons were most commonly found on Officers' Service Dress uniforms.  Other Ranks greatcoats were issued with General Service buttons (shown below at right)   and many band uniforms can be seen with generic diamond shaped "thistle" buttons.

During the war, metal shortages led to the prohibition of regimental buttons.  Officers in possession of them were permitted to keep them, but no new buttons were permitted to be made.

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Kit Bag Markings

Personal kit bags were marked with the Serial Number of the unit, in the case of the Calgary Highlanders, 192.  This serial was represented in coloured form beginning in 1944 with the use of coloured bars representing the last two digits.  This system of marking was to enable baggage from different units to be quickly sorted.

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