Insignia Collectors Catalogue
The authors of many
Uniform Insignia References have developed systems of cataloguing their
subjects, in order to provide common terms of reference within the
collecting community. These catalogue systems are referenced not just in
particular books, but are often referred to by insignia vendors, or
sellers such as in online auctions. For example, Lenard Babin's book
Cap Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces 1914-1919
provides a catalogue numbering scheme for the badges illustrated in that
book. It is now common to see references in online auctions, such as "Babin
E-108" to refer to the cap badge of the 108th Battalion, Canadian
The following is a list of the most commonly used catalogue schemes.
Created: The system
instituted by Louis Grimshaw in his book The Badges and Insignia
of the Canadian Airborne Forces overlaps several other
cataloging systems but is useful for dedicated Airborne collectors.
Some criticism has been made that he identifies some variants
divides insignia by unit, rather than type (ie all badges of the
First Special Service Force are designated with an "SF-" prefix,
including cap badges, collar badges, formation patches, etc. Badges
are identified by numbers, with variants suffixed by a,b,c etc.
- First Special Service Force
insignia identified by "SF-" prefix.
- Mobile Striking Force insignia
identified by "MF-" prefix.
- Canadian Airborne Regiment
insignia identified by "AB-" prefix.
- Qualification, Trade and
Specialist insignia specific to airborne units identified by
- Parachute badges (ie wings)
identified by "PB-" prefix.
- Parachute trades badges (ie
rigger, instructor) identified by "PT-" prefix.
- Miscellaneous airborne badges
identified by "MI-" prefix.
- Created: Eric Smylie's book
Buttons of the Canadian Militia: Army, Naval and Air Forces
- Reference: "Smylie X-YYY"
Syntax: Smylie has
divided the buttons into several categories, identified by either
one or two prefix characters, followed by a hyphen, and then a 1, 2
or 3 digit number. Variants designated by a,b,c etc. suffix. For
example: F-29b is a variant worn by the 29th Waterloo
- General Service buttons
identified by "GS-" prefix
- Corps buttons identified by "C-"
- Mounted Regiment buttons
identified by "M-" prefix (three regiments are identified by
A,B,C rather than numbers, possibly to identify Regular Force
units, though the scheme is not applied to the infantry units).
- Foot Regiment buttons identified
by "F-" prefix.1 (One unit identified by A rather than
- Canadian Expeditionary Force
buttons identified by "OS-" prefix (for "Overseas"). Where units
other than infantry battalions are presented, the numbers are
replaced by three letter codes.
- Naval Services buttons
identified by "N-" prefix.
- Air Services buttons identified
by "A-" prefix.
- Newfoundland forces buttons
identified by "NF-" prefix.
Canadian Army Badges
The most all-encompassing
cataloguing system has been devised by Chris Brooker; first in the three
volumes of The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Army Badges 1855 to
Date, and in the more recent Brooker's Canadian Army Badges 1920
Some interesting facets of this system:
Left and Right collar
badges are sensibly treated as different badges, as some units use
mirror image badges and some use identical badges. Brooker also
clarifies that "right" and "left" are from the viewpoint of the
wearer, not the viewer.
Formation Patches are
treated as regimental/corps/branch badges and given numbers
corresponding to each regiment known to have worn them. So all
regiments, for example, that wore the formation patch of 2nd
Canadian Division will have a different number assigned to that
patch (in the case of the Black Watch, for example, the 2nd Division
formation patch is given number CB.105-22-12, and Brooker identifies
a "second pattern" which he assigns number CB.105-23-20.
Mazeas provided sets of reference numbers for insignia in his two
books 'Insignes de la Milice Canadienne: Canadian Militia Badges
Pre 1914 and Insignes Canadiens 1920-1950: Canadian Badges.
references are to entire collections of insignia by unit, for
example a cap badge, collar badges, and metal shoulder badges for a
particular regiment all receive the same reference number. The
numbers are based on Order of Precedence and are prefixed according
to category, and variants are designated by a,b,c etc.
Canadian Expeditionary Force Cap Badges
Babin's book Cap Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces
Reference: "Babin X-YYY"
Syntax: All units
identified by a prefix character (a letter or one or two digits), a
hyphen, and then a 1, 2 or 3 digit number. Variants designated by
A,B,C etc. suffix. For example: E-107A is a variant of the
107th (Infantry) Battalion.
Created: Before he
embarked on his all encompassing cataloging system (see above),
Chris Brooker provided a series of reference numbers for Canadian
cap badges in the Second World War in his earlier book Canadian
Cap Badges of World War Two.
Brooker CB.Y" or "Brooker CB.Y" or just "CB.Y"
identified badges by number, in alphabetical order of the corps and
regiments, with a "CB." prefix. Variants were identified by
sequential numbers, for example, the prewar badge of the Stormont,
Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders is identified as CB.149, while the
1942 version is CB.150. Differences in make (ie different finishes)
are not recognized and badges are only listed by design.
- Created: Roy Thompson's book
Canadian Army Cap Badges 1953-1973 (described as Vol. 3 in a
- Reference: "Thompson XYYY"
book deals with a wide variety of regiment/corps/branch insignia but
only applies his catalogue system to cap badges. His book deals only
with the "Queen's Crown" period and so all badges in the book are
identified by a "Q" prefix, a 1, 2 or 3 digit number, with variants
identified by a,b,c etc. The numbers are assigned to
regiments/corps/branches in alphabetical order rather than Order of
Precedence. His cap badge identifying system was based on Babin's.
Thompson proposed several other prefixes
to cover other periods:
- "V" - 1900 to 1914 pre-First World
- "W" - 1914 to 1920 First World War
(presumably not including CEF, which are covered by Babin).
- "M" - 1920 to 1936 Militia Period
- "K" - 1936 - 1953 Second World War
and Korea ("K" presumably stands for "King's Crown")
- "Q" - 1953 - 1979 Queen's Crown
- "C" - Officers training and Cadet
Corps Officers Training (1-99) and Cadet Corps (101 + ?)
Thompson's proposal seems
not to have been carried through to completion. It is worthy of note
that Thompson was a retired RCAF officer and wrote his first edition in
1973. The second edition came out in 1992 with no change in title or
content. The "Queen's Crown" period may be said to still be in effect.
Thompson has suggested
that badges not in his books be given new designations, though it does
not appear others have been using his system. For example, the badge of
the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps is not listed in his Volume 3 (Cap
Badges and Insignia of the Canadian Army 1953 - 1973).
Presumably the use of
"I" for Infantry was thought to be a possible source of confusion
with the number 1 when written, or the desire was genuinely to use
the "Foot" designation as that would have been a designation
possibly still used in 1900. Oddly only one "Foot" unit is
identified by a letter (A) while the Regular Force units are
identified by numbers; the units are also presented in Order of
Precedence though regular force units seem to be scattered
throughout with no logical sequence. A unit raised in 1910 and
disbanded in 1924 is presented as an afterthought as F-134 while the
Canadian Airborne Regiment (raised in 1968) is F-133.