METAL BUTTONS
1939-1945

During the interwar years, Service Dress was the main uniform of the Canadian soldier.  Most corps and regiments adopted distinctive buttons.  They were worn on the Service Dress Jacket, primarily, though some units may have worn them on greatcoats and service dress hats as well.  

Buttons were generally produced in three sizes; 15 mm (for use on caps), 20 mm (for use on pockets or shoulder straps) and 25 mm (for use on greatcoats and sometimes tunic fronts as well).  Not all units adopted all three sizes of buttons (Highland Regiments, for example, would have no use for the smallest size button, since they did not wear Service Dress Caps or Field Service Caps).

buttsizes.jpg (50148 bytes)

Corps or Regimental buttons may also have been used in the Second World War on Field Service Caps, Coloured FS Caps, Service Dress Caps, and greatcoats, in addition to Service Dress Jackets.  The Army in Canada adopted a special SD Jacket (known as a Walking Out Jacket, drab, serge) that many units probably added regimental or corps buttons to.

When there was a shortage of unit buttons, or no unit button was adopted, the standard button was called the General Service button and was appropriate for wear by members of any unit.  At right are examples of the General Service button, in black for Rifle Regiments and in brass for all others.  Most clothing would be issued with this type of button affixed.

gsbuttons.jpg (32540 bytes)

Buttons were generally brass, with Rifle regiments generally wearing black (either horn or blackened metal).  Some units, or individuals (such as officers or bandsmen) may have adopted chrome or gilt versions.  Plastic buttons were adopted by the British Army during the Second World War as an economy measure, but don't seem to have been adopted by Canadians.  Regulations during the war did call for the cessation of construction of unit buttons, as an economy measure, though those in possession of corps or regimental buttons were permitted to keep wearing them.

Designs varied from a complete depiction of the cap badge (as on the Toronto Scottish button) to the use of significant icons (ie the falcon's head of the 48th Highlanders or the Little Black Devil of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles).  The Calgary Highlanders button was a simplification of the cap badge, stripping away everything but the St. Andrew's Cross and beaver.  The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders kept the button of their pre-1920 incarnation (the 91st Regiment).  Some units had the complete name on their button, others had initials only (i.e. FGH or SDG) or royal ciphers (VRI for the Royal Canadian Regiment) and others had abbreviations or shortened forms (i.e. Algonquin for The Algonquin Regiment).

Some of the buttons illustrated here appear to have a "Queen's Crown" (in other words, may appear to be postwar in manufacture, as most badges were changed in or after 1953 to reflect the ascension to the throne of a new reigning monarch).  However, units such as The Royal Canadian Regiment and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada did not wear the crown of the current monarch and their pattern of badges did not change.  Other units, such as the PPCLI, had coronets in their badges and not crowns.

Most buttons were slightly dome shaped though some were flatter.

Thanks again to Bill Ellis for sharing images of his collection.

Royal Canadian Artillery
buttrca.jpg (44748 bytes)

Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers
buttrce.jpg (7387 bytes)

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals
buttrccs.jpg (7457 bytes)

Royal Canadian Army Service Corps
buttrcasc.jpg (44616 bytes)

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps
buttrcamc.jpg (43405 bytes)
Canadian Dental Corps

Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps
buttrcoc.jpg (31780 bytes)

Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Canadian Technical Training Corps

Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps

Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps
buttrcapc.jpg (7353 bytes)
Corps of Military Staff Clerks

Canadian Postal Corps
butcpc_small.gif (3502 bytes)

Canadian Chaplain Service Canadian Forestry Corps

Veterans Guard of Canada

Canadian Provost Corps

No. 1 Company used RCMP buttons, other units used the General Service Button until after the war.

rcm.jpg (35441 bytes)

Canadian Parachute Corps
buttpara.jpg (5307 bytes)
Canadian Women's Army Corps
buttcwac.jpg (35508 bytes)
Canadian Infantry Corps Canadian Intelligence Corps

According to Smylie, if this corps had distinctive buttons of its own at this time, the pattern is not known.

Given the late date of the formation of the corps, and the order prohibiting corps/regimental buttons, it is unlikely any button existed until after 1945.

 

Canadian Armoured Corps  

CANADIAN MOUNTED UNITS
(UNITS LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

The British Columbia Dragoons


butbcr_small.gif (2523 bytes)

8th Princess Louise's New Brunswick Hussars
butt8hu.jpg (7397 bytes)
15th Alberta Light Horsebutt15alh.jpg (6128 bytes) 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment
First Hussars

butt1h.jpg (6656 bytes)
The Fort Garry Horse
buttfgh.jpg (12482 bytes)
14th Canadian Hussars
(The overseas unit raised by the 14th CH was the 8th Recce Regiment, who adopted this button in 1941)
butt8.jpg (4243 bytes)
14th Canadian Light Horse
butt14clh.jpg (5699 bytes)
14th Canadian Light Horse
4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards
The Governor General's Horse Guards Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
ldshbut.jpg (4298 bytes)
Manitoba Mounted Rifles 19th Alberta Dragoons
butt19d.jpg (4806 bytes)
The Prince Edward Island Light Horse
The Royal Canadian Dragoons
2nd Armoured Car Regiment 2nd/10th Dragoons
butt2d.jpg (7462 bytes)
17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars
butt17h.jpg (4968 bytes)
7th/11th Hussars

711butt.jpg (35484 bytes)
 

16th/22nd Saskatchewan Horse

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.

6th Duke of Connaught's Royal Canadian Hussars (Armoured Car)

butt6h.jpg (4213 bytes)
12th Manitoba Dragoons

butt12d.jpg (6351 bytes)
 

CANADIAN INFANTRY UNITS
(UNITS LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)

The Algonquin Regiment

Bill Alexander tells me that  distinctive buttons were not adopted until after WW II.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) (M.G.)
butt91.jpg (20822 bytes)
Argyll Light Infantry (Tank)

buttali.jpg (8158 bytes)
The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada

butbw_small.gif (3903 bytes)

The British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles)
buttbcr.jpg (5727 bytes)
The Brockville Rifles

buttreg.jpg (20128 bytes)
The Calgary Highlanders 

Prewar button
buttch2.gif (2236 bytes)

This style was approved by 1939
buttch.jpg (14086 bytes)

The Calgary Regiment (Tank)


The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.)

 

The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (M.G.) The Canadian Grenadier Guards
buttcgg.jpg (6663 bytes)
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (M.G.)
buttcscot.jpg (7140 bytes)
The Cape Breton Highlanders The Carleton and York Regiment
buttcyr.jpg (13551 bytes)
The Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles
buttduff.jpg (16656 bytes)
The Edmonton Fusiliers (MG)
buttedmf.jpg (6311 bytes)
The Edmonton Regiment
buttedm.jpg (6409 bytes)
The Elgin Regiment

butelg_small.gif (3874 bytes)
The Essex Regiment (Tank)
The Essex Scottish
buttessc.jpg (6291 bytes)
48th Highlanders of Canada
butt48.jpg (24912 bytes)
Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke

Fusiliers du St. Laurent

Les Fusiliers Mont Royal

buttfmr.jpg (5133 bytes)

The Garrison Battalion

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.
The Governor General's Foot Guards
buttggfg.jpg (22555 bytes)
The Grey and Simcoe Foresters
The Halifax Rifles

The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
butthastp.jpg (5842 bytes)
The Highland Light Infantry of Canada
butthli.jpg (7175 bytes)
Irish Fusiliers of Canada (Vancouver Regiment)
The Irish Regiment of Canada (M.G.)

buttiri.jpg (4402 bytes)
The Kent Regiment (M.G.)

buttkent.jpg (5129 bytes)
The King's Own Rifles (M.G.)


The Lake Superior Regiment
The Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment

buttlink.jpg (5578 bytes)
The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Haltot Regiment)
buttlorn.jpg (6955 bytes)
The Manitoba Mounted Rifles


According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.

The Manitoba Volunteer Reserve The Middlesex and Huron Regiment

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.

The Midland Regiment (Northumberland and Durham)
The New Brunswick Rangers

The New Brunswick Regiment (Tank)

nbret.jpg (28196 bytes)
(1936-1941)
According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own after 1941, the pattern is not known.

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders (M.G.)

The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment

The Ontario Regiment (Tank)
The Oxford Rifles
buttox.jpg (6113 bytes)
The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.
The Perth Regiment (M.G.)
The Pictou Highlanders

The Prince Albert and Battleford Volunteers
The Prince Albert Volunteers
The Prince Edward Island Highlanders

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.

The Prince of Wales' Rangers (Peterborough Regiment) (M.G.)
The Prince Rupert Regiment (M.G.) The Princess Louise Fusiliers (M.G.)
The Princess of Wales' Own Regiment (M.G.)
buttpwor.jpg (6393 bytes)
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
buttppcli.jpg (19276 bytes)
The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada
buttqoch.jpg (6855 bytes)
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

buttqor.jpg (10474 bytes)
The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (M.G.)
buttqyr.jpg (7483 bytes)
Le Regiment de Chauteauguay (Mit)
buttchat.jpg (6806 bytes)
Le Regiment de Gaspe-Bonaventure Le Regiment de Hull
butthull.jpg (7284 bytes)
Le Regiment de Joliette
buttjoli.jpg (33975 bytes)
Le Regiment de la Chaudiere (Mit)

Le Regiment de Levis

According to Smylie, if this unit had distinctive buttons of its own, the pattern is not known.

Le Regiment de Maisonneuve
buttmais.jpg (5704 bytes)
Le Regiment de Montmagny
Le Regiment de Quebec (Mit)
buttque.jpg (6779 bytes)
Le Regiment de St. Hyacinthe
Le Regiment du Saguenay

The Regina Rifle Regiment
buttreg.jpg (20128 bytes)
The Rocky Mountain Rangers

The Royal Canadian Regiment

buttrcr.jpg (15037 bytes)
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment)
buttrhli.jpg (6179 bytes)
The Royal Montreal Regiment (M.G.)

buttrmr.jpg (12865 bytes)
The Royal Regiment of Canada
buttrrc.jpg (6895 bytes)
The Royal Rifles of Canada
buttreg.jpg (20128 bytes)
Royal 22e Regiment
butt22.jpg (7383 bytes)
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
buttrwr.jpg (8645 bytes)
The St. John Fusiliers (M.G.)
The Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G.)
Officer's button, small.
The rose is in sterling silver, remainder is brass.

buttsli.jpg (7321 bytes)
The Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Regiment (M.G.)
The Scots Fusiliers of Canada
The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
buttsea.jpg (33284 bytes)
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment
The Sherbrooke Regiment (M.G.)

buttsher.jpg (6512 bytes)
The South Alberta Regiment

sarbu.jpg (32578 bytes)
The South Saskatchewan Regiment

buttssk.jpg (7455 bytes)
The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
buttsdg.jpg (4987 bytes)
The Three Rivers Regiment (Tank)

buttthree.jpg (6260 bytes)
The Toronto Scottish Regiment (M.G.)
butttor.jpg (55544 bytes)
Victoria Rifles of Canada
Les Voltigeurs de Quebec
buttreg.jpg (20128 bytes)
The Westminster Regiment (M.G.)
buttwest.jpg (5589 bytes)
The West Nova Scotia Regiment

The Winnipeg Grenadiers (M.G.)


The Winnipeg Light Infantry (M.G.)

 

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