18 Photos of Canadian Army uniforms (1903 to today)

Canada has a long and storied history in wartime and in honour of Remembrance Day just around the corner, lets take a look at the uniforms that our soldiers wore for the major historical events of the last century.

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1903 Service Dress (Canadian Pattern) 

Being a part of the British Commonwealth, the early Canadian military uniforms were essentially offshoots of the British uniform, and made off of the same pattern. The First uniforms had 7 buttons, and detachments were denoted by coloured shoulder straps.

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The jacket was paired with pants and boots. As an item of field dress, the jacket was meant to be loose, to allow for a sweater, but a lot of soldiers had the jackets tailored to be close fitting, so it was theoretically less bulky in battle, and sharper on parade.

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1914 Service Dress (British Pattern)

Once fighting on the fields in France, the soldiers found that previous Canadian pattern jackets (especially those heavily tailored) were too tightly fitting to be as useful for field service as the Canadian jacket. Eventually, they adopted a new British pattern. The number of buttons was reduced to 5, the hip pockets made to be less bulky and more importantly, the British jacket had “rifle patches” on the shoulders (an extra layer of wool which resisted the wearing out of the shoulders due to field chafing from the field equipment).

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Some regiments further tailored their jackets to allow for a sporran and kilt, when in dress.

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Officers had a slightly different uniform, with an open collar, and rankings/insignias on the sleeves.

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Kitchener Pattern

As the war progressed, the British army released a new pattern that did away with the rifle patches and box pleats on the chest pockets, to better ration and economize fabrics during the war.

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1939 Service Dress

By the time World War 2 was starting, Canadian troops were wearing some variation of the previous iterations of the uniform, but mainly at the officer level, or at home. On the fields of Europe, the soldiers were outfitted differently.

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1939 Battle Dress Blouse

At the onset of war, the Canadian government had been in the process of approving the new British Battle Dress uniform for wear by Canadians. The blouse was different from the uniforms worn by most of the world’s armies; cut short at the waist, the garment was designed with practicality in mind.

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By 1941, Battle Dress had been issued to the entire overseas army, and it was to be the uniform of the army in Canada as well.

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A variation on the battle dress was the addition of the leather jerkin for the Canadian troops at Normandy, as the weather would be cool along the coast. The leather kept the soldiers warm, as well as allowed for movement. They also altered the uniform to add in a heavier MK II helmet and the pocket web belt, as they needed to carry supplies as well as fight.

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1949 Battle Dress

Battle Dress, in its final form, would be a standard garment of issue going into the Korean war.

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As well, the Canadian army issued coveralls for their soldiers for field activities throughout the late 1950’s.

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1965 Bush Uniform

The Bush Uniform was the main uniform of the Canadian Army from 1950 until the adoption of the Combat Uniform in the early 1968.

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1968 Canadian Forces Combat Uniform

In 1968, the three branches of the Canadian Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) were consolidated into the Canadian Forces. which wore a traditional rifle-green field jacket and kit, very similar to the US. It was at this time that our military wear broke away from the British style, and began to take influence from the US.

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1968 Canadian Forces Combat Uniform

In 1968, the three branches of the Canadian Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) were consolidated into the Canadian Forces. which wore a traditional rifle-green field jacket and kit, very similar to the US. It was at this time that our military wear broke away from the British style, and began to take influence from the US.

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No. 5 Operational Dress/CADPAT

Starting in late 1990s, the Canadian Army began using a Nylon based, computer generated camouflage pattern, with with varying customizable options. The pattern is computer generated to avoid detection by night vision goggles in both the desert and standard operational wear, and offers velcro patches for whatever the job requires. This is the current standard Canadian Army uniform.

This is a long way from the original wool patterns taken from the British.

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Even though they may have borrowed some design elements from their British counterparts, the Canadian soldiers distinguished themselves and made their country proud, and were always regarded with respect and admiration. To this date, Canadian soldiers hold high respect on the world stage and no matter what uniform they wear, they’re regarded as heroes.

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via – thechive

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