Unit Signs - Infantry Divisions

Unit Signs were a type of vehicle marking used in the Second World War (and afterward). The system of markings developed from early in the war, but underwent several changes before a relatively final form was reached in the mid-war period. The markings on this page reflect the late Second World War period. The purpose of unit signs was to ensure efficient traffic control and assist in recognition. Unit signs consisted of a Serial, usually in white, painted over a coloured background denoting the Arm of Service or Brigade that the unit belonged to. The unit signs were originally carried in metal frames attached to vehicles, and later in the war painted directly onto the vehicles themselves, on the front and rear mudguard. More details are in the general article on "Vehicle Markings."

A number of sources have published conflicting information regarding unit signs. following chart comes from two sources. In 1945, the Army Survey Establishment, Royal Canadian Engineers, published a "battle map" tracing the path of the 2nd Division through Northwest Europe and included all the unit signs as a decorative border, listing the signs as of 1945 (they were published on this website for several years.) Paul Schipper produced a chart in his article in Militaria Magazine, showing the unit signs of the 3rd Division, which disagrees with Jean Bouchery's book The Canadian Soldier. Secondary sources will always disagree, since the signs changed over time.

The information presented here comes from a memorandum from the files of 4th Canadian Armoured Division at the National Archives, dated 10 June 1944. Note that the source references "Support Battalions" and "Support Groups", which was a short-lived reorganization of the divisional machine gun battalions. The source also includes "divisional increments to corps troops" which are noted at the end of the list (these signs add a white 2" bar added to the top of the coloured background). Language in the listing has been kept as close to the source document as possible, even if not technically correct. For example "REME" is used instead of "RCEME" as this is what is present in the source document. Note also the source document listed the 36 LAD twice.

Sign 1st Canadian Division 2nd Canadian Division 3rd Canadian Division
Headquarters 1st Canadian Infantry Division Headquarters 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Headquarters 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
1 Cdn Inf Div Support Battalion
(Saskatoon Light Infantry (M.G.))
2 Cdn Inf Div Support Battalion
(Toronto Scottish (M.G.))
3 Cdn Inf Div Support Battalion
(Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.))
4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards) 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars) 7th Reconnaissance Regiment (The 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars)
68 Light Aid Detachment (B) 20 Light Aid Detachment (B) 62 Light Aid Detachment (B)
Headquarters, 1st Canadian Infantry Division Artillery Headquarters, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Artillery Headquarters, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Artillery
1st Field Regiment 4th Canadian Field Regiment 12th Canadian Field Regiment
7 Light Aid Detachment (B) 19 Light Aid Detachment (B) 32 Light Aid Detachment (B)
2nd Canadian Field Regiment 5th Canadian Field Regiment 13th Canadian Field Regiment
8 Light Aid Detachment (B) 22 Light Aid Detachment (B) 33 Light Aid Detachment (B)
3rd Canadian Field Regiment 6th Canadian Field Regiment 14th Canadian Field Regiment
9 Light Aid Detachment (B) 24 Light Aid Detachment (B) 34 Light Aid Detachment (B)
1st Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment 2nd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment 3rd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment
13 Light Aid Detachment (B) 69 Light Aid Detachment (A) 35 Light Aid Detachment (A)
2nd Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment 3rd Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment 4th Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
2nd Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Workshop 3rd Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Workshop 4th Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Workshop
Headquarters, 1st Canadian Division Engineers Headquarters, 2nd Canadian Division Engineers Headquarters, 3rd Canadian Division Engineers
2nd Canadian Field Park Company, RCE 1st Canadian Field Park Company, RCE 3rd Canadian Field Park Company, RCE
1st Canadian Field Company, RCE 2nd Canadian Field Company, RCE 6th Canadian Field Company, RCE
3rd Canadian Field Company, RCE 7th Canadian Field Company, RCE 16th Canadian Field Company, RCE
4th Canadian Field Company, RCE 11th Canadian Field Company, RCE 18th Canadian Field Company, RCE
15 Light Aid Detachment (B) 23 Light Aid Detachment (B) 30 Light Aid Detachment (B)
n/a n/a 5 Field Company, RCE
1st Canadian Infantry Division Signals 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Signals 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Signals
14 Light Aid Detachment (B) 21 Light Aid Detachment (B) 31 Light Aid Detachment (B)
1st Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ
1 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 4 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 7 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group
1 Light Aid Detachment (A) 16 Light Aid Detachment (A) 36 Light Aid Detachment (A)
The Royal Canadian Regiment The Royal Regiment of Canada The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry The Regina Rifle Regiment
48th Highlanders of Canada The Essex Scottish Regiment The Canadian Scottish Regiment
2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ
2 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 5 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 8 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group
2 Light Aid Detachment (A) 17 Light Aid Detachment (A) 37 Light Aid Detachment (A)
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Le Regiment de Maisonneueve Le Regiment de la Chaudiere
The Loyal Edmonton Regiment The Calgary Highlanders The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment
3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ
3 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 6 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group 9 Cdn Inf Bde Support Group
3 Light Aid Detachment (A) 18 Light Aid Detachment (A) 36 Light Aid Detachment (A)
Royal 22e Regiment Les Fusilier Mont-Royal The Highland Light Infantry of Canada
The Carleton and York Regiment The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
The West Nova Scotia Regiment The South Saskatchewan Regiment The North Nova Scotia Highlanders
Headquarters 1st Canadian Infantry Division Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) Headquarters 2nd Canadian Division Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) Headquarters 3rd Canadian Division Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC)
1st Canadian Infantry Division Troops Company 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Troops Company 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Troops Company
1st Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company
2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company
3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade Company
4th Canadian Field Ambulance  10th Canadian Field Ambulance  14th Canadian Field Ambulance 
5th Canadian Field Ambulance  11th Canadian Field Ambulance  22nd Canadian Field Ambulance 
9th Canadian Field Ambulance   18th Canadian Field Ambulance  23rd Canadian Field Ambulance 
1st Canadian Field Dressing Station 21st Canadian Field Dressing Station 5th Canadian Field Dressing Station
2nd Canadian Field Dressing Station 4th Canadian Field Dressing Station 7th Canadian Field Dressing Station
2nd Canadian Field Hygiene Section 13th Canadian Field Hygiene Section 7th Canadian Field Hygiene Section
Headquarters, 1st Canadian Infantry Division Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Headquarters, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Headquarters, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
1st Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop
2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop
3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade Workshop
1st Canadian Provost Company 2nd Canadian Provost Company 4th Canadian Provost Company
1st Canadian Infantry Division Postal Unit 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Postal Unit 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Postal Unit
1st Canadian Field Security Section 2nd Canadian Field Security Section 3rd Canadian Field Security Section
Divisional Increments to Corps Troops
Sign 1st Canadian Division 2nd Canadian Division 3rd Canadian Division
1st Canadian Infantry Division Troops Workshop n/a n/a
n/a 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Troops Workshop n/a
n/a n/a 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Troops Workshop
1st Canadian Infantry Division Sub Park n/a n/a
n/a 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Sub Park n/a
n/a n/a 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Sub Park
1st Canadian Infantry Division Section
Refit Camp
2nd Canadian Infantry Division Section
Refit Camp
3rd Canadian Infantry Division Section
Refit Camp
1st Canadian Infantry Division Field Cash Office 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Field Cash Office 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Field Cash Office

References

  • See also Dingwall, Don Canadian Vehicle Markings: A Comprehensive Guide to the Colours and Markings of the Canadian Army Overseas During WWII (Canadian Tracks Publishing, Carp, ON)

 

 


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