Until the late 1940s, the postwar Canadian Army was dressed and equipped entirely with Second World War uniforms, equipment and weapons. Due to Canada's close ties with the United States, it was decided to adopt American pattern uniforms and equipment and adapt them to Canadian requirements. War Stocks of equipment and uniforms were sold off as surplus and by 1949 Canada was involved in user trials of new types of Canadian and American equipment. The advent of the Korean War ended the proposed Americanisation of the Canadian Army. Instead, Canada embarked on wide ranging program of modernisation based primarily on Canadian designs. The development of cold weather uniforms was a priority and in 1950 the first of a series of new patterns of parkas was adopted for user trials and put into limited service. Over the following few years additional patterns were introduced. All were generally similar in construction, being made of an outer nylon shell with a removable or non-removable liner. Canadian innovations included large dish-type moulded plastic buttons and epaulette type tabs on the front and back of the jacket for rank insignia. Various details and features of these parkas were adopted by other NATO countries and incorporated into their own patterns of uniforms.
The 50, 51 and 55 Pattern parkas were worn concurrently into the late 1960s and although the Parka, Man's Cotton And Nylon, (Combat Parka) was intended to replace them, they were in common wear until the 1980s.
The Modified 50 Pattern parka consists of a nylon outer and a detachable padded liner. The parka four patch pockets and a pencil holder on the left sleeve. The five button front concealed a full length zipper. The removable hood came in two patterns, trimmed with fur or plain. Rank insignia was worn on an epaulette style slide on the front and back.
Canadian Provost on traffic control duty, Korea, circa 1952. His uniform consists of the wool winter cap, a 50 Pattern Parka without hood and battledress trousers. The 1937 Pattern traffic control web equipment is worn without the pistol holster.
The X51A Pattern Jacket is distinctive in that it has slanted breast pockets and pleated waist pockets. It consists of a nylon outer jacket and a detachable padded liner. The breast pockets are lined with a melton like material and were intended to be used for warming the hands. The trousers were of similar construction, nylon outer with a detachable liner. The liners worn with the X51 series jackets and trousers were X55A Pattern.
Back view showing the epaulette for the rank insignia. The two small buttons below the waist are used to secure the seat flap.
Detail shot of the slanted upper pocket and pleated lower pocket. A drawstring (missing) at the waist passes through the two brass grommets.
View of the seat flap. This could be drawn up and secured either inside or outside at the back of the jacket.
Sergeant Dave (Tiny)Burnett on the North West Highway System circa 1960-61. Although some details of the parka are obscured by the photographer's shadow, the destinctive slanted pockets of this X51A jacket are quite visible. Note the method of wearing the rank insignia.
The X55B Pattern Parka was officially known as the Parka, Weather-Bar X55B and was similar to the 50 Pattern (Modified) parka, but had a non removable liner. The hood was integral and was trimmed with wolf or wolverine fur.