Insignia Collectors References

There have been several "standard" references published for uniform insignia collectors over the years, many introducing cataloguing schemes which are now widely referenced. Some of the more common reference books are described in the table here, with publication information below:

Book Title Covers Buttons Cap
Badges
Collar
Badges
Metal
Shoulder Titles
Cloth
Shoulder Titles
Formation
Badges
Catalogue
System?
The Badges and Insignia of the Canadian Airborne Forces Airborne
1942-81
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Buttons of the Canadian Militia: Army, Naval and Air Forces 1900-1990 All
1900-1990
Yes - - - - - Yes
Canadian Cap Badges of World War Two All
1939-45
- Yes - - - -  
Cap Badges and Insignia of the Canadian Army 1953-1973 (Vol. 3) All
1953-73
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes - Yes
Cap Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces 1914-1919 CEF
1914-1919
- Yes - - - - Yes
Distinguishing Patches: Formation Patches of the Canadian Army All
1916-2011
- - - - - Yes -
First World War Canadian Corps Badges (1st Edition): The Charlton Standard Catalogue CEF
1914-1919
- Yes - - - - Yes
Insignes De La Milice Canadienne: Canadian Militia Badges Pre-1914 All
to 1914
- Yes Yes Yes - - Yes
Insignes Canadiens 1920-1950: Canadian Badges Revised Edition All
1920-1950
- Yes Yes Yes - - Yes
A Guide to Canadian Shoulder Titles 1939-1985 All
1939-1985
- - - - Yes - -
Canadian Army Formation Signs 1939-1985 All
1939-1985
- - - - - Yes -
A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999 Part I: Canadian Corps Troops Corps
1900-1999
- - - Yes Yes - Yes
A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999 Part II: Royal Canadian Armoured Corps RCAC
1900-1999
- - - Yes Yes - Yes
A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999 Part I: Canadian Corps Troops Infantry
1900-1999
- - - Yes Yes - Yes
Canadian Forces Combat Titles All
1960s-2007
- - - - Yes - -
The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Army Badges 1855 to Date All
1855-?
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Brooker's Canadian Army Badges 1920 to Present All
1920-2012
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
The Badges and Insignia of the Canadian Airborne Forces


Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, AB, 1981
Softcover, 80pp., black and white illustrations throughout
ISBN 0919433014
  Ground breaking book, providing a cataloguing system of uniform insignia as well as sketch histories of parachute units in the Canadian Army. Devoted solely to the following units:
  • 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

  • First Special Service Force

  • Canadian Special Air Service (SAS) Company

  • Mobile Strike Force

  • The Canadian Airborne Regiment

  • Special Service Force

Like many works breaking new ground, the book does contain some unsupported hypotheses; it has been suggested that information on 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion badges contain an unlikely inference regarding late-war issue of badges not proven to have been issued during the war. As always, collector's are urged to rely on more than one source and the experience of other collectors to ensure that "rare" items are not actually fake items. The book is logically laid out and contains some good illustrations of rare badges. Grimshaw also provides a system for cataloging Airborne insignia in his book, to provide a common reference system for collectors.

Buttons of the Canadian Militia: Army, Naval and Air Forces 1900-1990

Author: Eric Smylie
Published:
Description: Softcover, b&w illustrations
ISBN 1551250047
 

An interesting book; there are some errors, but this is the only known reference that comprehensively lists and provides cataloguing system for all the patterns of button used throughout the 20th Century. No reference, however, to colour/construction (i.e. some corps/regiments had gold or silver buttons for officers and brass for non-commissioned soldiers).
 

Canadian Cap Badges of World War Two

Author: Chris Brooker

Catalogue of cap badges worn by the Canadian Army during the Second World War (1939-1945).

Cap Badges and Insignia of the Canadian Army 1953-1973 (Vol. 3)

Author: Thompson, Roy
Published: House of History, Colorado Springs, CO 1973
Description: Softcover, 216pp
ISBN 1878973053
 

Detailed, though partially incomplete, review of cap, collar, and shoulder titles worn by all regiments and corps of the Canadian Army from the end of the Korean War until Unification. Second edition published in 1992. Illustrations are a mix of poor photographs and line drawings, some hand-drawn. Provides a cataloguing system as well.
 

Cap Badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces 1914-1919

Author: Babin, Lenard L.
Published: (Self published, nd)
Description: Soft cover booklet

This is more a checklist than anything, it does provide a cataloguing system for collecting badges. Contains mainly hand drawn illustrations, crude in concept but functional.


1st edition

2nd edition

Distinguishing Patches: Formation Patches of the Canadian Army

Author: Clive M. Law
Published:Service Publications, Nepean, ON, 1996. (2nd Edition 2011)
Description: Softcover, b&w illustrations, 56pp.
ISBN 0969984529

This book documents the history of the design, approval and use of sleeve-worn Formation Patches of the Canadian Army, from their first use in 1916 to the end of the century. Much detailed primary research and fully footnoted. Second edition appeared in 2011. It is the first book in the "Up Close" series by Service Publications.

Review

The book is the first comprehensive look at all major types of formation patches used by Canada in the 20th Century to be fully illustrated and published with full footnotes. The initial run of the book also included a full colour poster. The book is well researched from primary sources, and many major types of patch are illustrated. This is the first book to tackle the entire spectrum of formation patches of the 20th Century, including the battle patches of the First World War, all major formation patches of the Second World War including British formation patches worn by Canadians, the postwar badges worn in Korea and Germany, and patches worn up to the date of publication. Black and white photos are of high quality. The second edition was published in 2011 and incorporated new material and research at the time of publication.

Also discussed are several proposed patches that were never approved.


First World War Canadian Corps Badges (1st Edition): The Charlton Standard Catalogue


Author: Cross, W.K. (Editor) and Al Rosen (Editor)
Published: Charlton International, Inc., 1995
Description: 272pp.
ISBN 0889681627

Second book in series, companion to The Canadian Infantry badges, listing and illustrating over five hundred badges of the Canadian Army, from the Mounted Rifles to the Artillery and all their different companies. Other ranks and officer badges, including cap, collar and shoulder, are itemized and priced
First World War Canadian Infantry Badges (1st Edition): The Charlton Standard Catalogue
Insignes De La Milice Canadienne: Canadian Militia Badges Pre-1914

Author:Daniel Mazeas
Published:
Description: Hardcover, 184pp

Now out of print. Catalogue of pre-First World War cap, collar and shoulder badges, as well as helmet plates and shoulder belt badges for rifle regiments. Crude hand-drawn facsimiles, but only source in print regarding this era of Canadian badges. No internet resources seem to exist for this information, either.
Insignes Canadiens 1920-1950: Canadian Badges Revised Edition

Author:Daniel Mazeas
Published: Les Presses Bretonnes, Bretagne, France, 1985.
Description: Soft cover, 144pp, primarily illustrations. Very little text.

The standard reference on cap badges is Daniel Mazeas'. This book gives hand executed line drawings of all the cap, collar and shoulder badges of the Canadian Army. This is a companion to the earlier volume covering the period up to 1920. Some of the drawings are very crude, but it is a good reference for getting the general patterns of the badges. Badges are drawn to scale, so one can generally check an actual badge against the picture to see if it is a pre-1950 badge (often, these badges became smaller in size, to fit the new CF uniforms of the late 1960's, but the pattern remained the same).
A Guide to Canadian Shoulder Titles 1939-1985

Author: Donal J. Sexton, Jr.
Published: Pass in Review Publications, Hinsdale, Illinois, 1987
ISBN 0-943349-01-X

A text listing of cloth shoulder flashes of the Canadian Army, with silhouette sketches at the front of the book provided to illustrate the badges.

Canadian Army Formation Signs 1939-1985

Author: Charles A. Edwards
Published: Pass in Review Publications, Hinsdale, Illinois, 1987
ISBN 0-943349-00-1

A black and white publication showing formation patches of the Canadian Army.

A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999
Part I: Canadian Corps Troops

Author: William C. Hampson, CD, BA, MEd
Published: self published

 

A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999
Part II: Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

Author: William C. Hampson, CD, BA, MEd
Published: self published

 

A Catalogue of Twentieth-Century Canadian Military Cloth and Metal Shoulder Titles 1900 to 1999
Part III: Royal Canadian Infantry Corps

Author: William C. Hampson, CD, BA, MEd
Published: self published

 

Skill at Arms - A History of Canadian Army Trades, including their Badges, and Parachute Wings
  • Author: Thomas J. Bennett, CD

  • Published: Bunker to Bunker Books & Magic Mouse Enterprises, Calgary, AB, 2005

  • Softcover, 262 ppp., extensively illustrated including 15 colour pages

  • ISBN 1 894255-52-6

Not just a review of badges, but a history of the trades and qualifications of the Canadian Army, and a landmark book.

 

Detailed Review

The book is divided into five parts;

Part One - covers Skill-at-Arms, Instructor's, and Trades Badges worn until 1942
Part Two - covers Trades Badges from 1942 to 1945, as well as the postwar versions from 1946 to 1955
Part Three - covers Trades Badges from 1955 to 2005
Part Four - Parachute, Rigger, and Search & Rescue Badges
Part Five - Miscellaneous insignia such as Service Chevrons, Wound Stripes, NCO Corps Badges, marksmanship badges, and trained soldier badges.

There is also a useful glossary, bibliography, and an index.

The meat of the book, aside from the photographs of all major badges in these categories worn since the adoption of trade and skills badges before the First World War, are the thumbnail descriptions of what the trades actually did and what specialties existed. For example, a soldier in a "medical" trade in 1943 might have been a Chiropodist, Instrument Mechanical Surgical, Laboratory Technician, Masseur, Nursing Orderly, Shoemaker Orthopaedic, Operating Room Assistant, Optician, Optometrist, Pharmacist and Dispenser, Radiographer, X-Ray Maintenance Technician, Sanitary Assistant, Sanitary Inspector, Wardmaster, or Workshop Foreman Field Hygiene. The book not only identifies these specialties but also provides, in most cases, helpful but brief descriptions of their duties and responsibilities.

Authors' Comments

In correspondence with the webmaster, Tom Bennett wrote the following:

I did not set out to write a book. I collect trade badges and this all started when I acquired some badges for which I knew nothing about. No problem, I thought, Iíll just go to the library and get a book and look it up. It turned out to be not quite that simple. There was no such book. So I thought I would have to dig a little deeper. That was an understatement. After months of research I found that the information was not available anywhere except for very basic descriptions of the badges (some of which turned out to be incorrect). So I started going to museums and digging around in their libraries. Five years later, after spending a lot of time at DHH, National Archives, and quite a few military museums all across Canada, I finally found the answers to most (but still not all) of my questions. I decided that I had enough information to produce a book on the subject. Most of the information was previously unpublished except in a few old army manuals that are not readily available to the public.

It bothered me that many of these trades had almost disappeared from our military history. I didnít think it was right that they should be allowed to disappear from memory so I wrote job descriptions for every trade that I could find, not just those with a badge. Many trades never had a badge. The book contains over 600 job descriptions but it still bugs me that there are a few that eluded me such as the Operator B2 for which I could not find any information in the archives. Even in the archives there was no single book to look up this information. I gleaned bits and pieces from a score of different manuals and attempted to put it all together in plain English.

It turned out that the descriptions of the badge that most people are familiar with are often misleading. For example, the clerk badge was produced in all four group levels so one would naturally assume that this was a badge for clerks group one to four. This turned out to be incorrect. The clerk could only advance as far as group three. The group four badge was worn by the court reporter. It turned out that there was a lot of information to be learned about the badges that was not readily available. Another example, many of the badge were worn by several different trades, not just one. The badge that is commonly known as the weapons tech was actually worn by six different trades.

All I wanted to do was find out the purpose of a few badges. I ended up with a 260 page book. I am still working on finding the answers to the questions that I still have.

Final Word

The book is highly recommended for badge collectors as a useful reference guide; it is also recommended for researchers attempting to understand the actual duties of tradesmen in the Canadian Army/Canadian Forces. Many of the badges pictured have not been covered in any other reference book, and the subject of the actual trades themselves, as the author has noted above, has not been given any treatment whatsoever in any other published work. This work truly breaks interesting new ground, and does it well.

Canadian Forces Combat Titles

Author: Bill Alexander
Published: Service Publications, Ottawa, ON, 2007
ISBN

A Source of Pride: Regimental Badges and Titles in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919

Author:Joseph H. Harper
Published: Service Publications, Ottawa, ON, 1999.
Description: 152pp, many b&w illustrations
ISBN 0969984588

Not a listing of badges, but an actual history of the development, authorization, and use of metal insignia in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. Written by the father of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  The Standard Catalogue of Canadian Army Badges 1855 to Date

Author:Chris Brooker
Publisher:(Self published, 1998)
Description: Soft cover - only the first three volumes have been published.

Most extensive and comprehensive coverage in print all variants major and minor are detailed in these books. Provides extensive cataloguing system.
  • Book 1 The Algonquin Regiment, The Northern Pioneers
  • Book 2 The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), The School of Military Piping, The Argyll Light Infantry, The Argyll Light Infantry (Tank)
  • Book 3 The Band Branch, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
Brooker's Canadian Army Badges 1920 to Present

Author:Chris Brooker
Publisher: Service Publications, Ottawa, ON
Description: Soft cover. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 2012.

This appears to be a reboot of the Standard Catalogue, above, focusing on the 1920 - Present timeframe.


 


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