The Canadian Provost Corps
1939 - 1946
Motorcycles were a valuable method of transportation and communication and they made up a large part of a Provost company vehicle establishment in Canada and overseas. Motorcycle drivers, who were primarily Canadian Provost and Royal Canadian Corps Of Signals Dispatch Riders, were issued a wide variety of protective garments. Some of these items such as breeches and boots were issued to individuals and held on their clothing charge, leggings and other major protective clothing were often held on the unit charge and issued as required.
Canadian, British, and American protective clothing were worn by Canadian Provost. Overseas, the protective clothing worn by Provost appeared to be primarily of British pattern There is no doubt that numbers of pre-war or civilian patterns of weatherproof protective clothing also found their way into service.
Not all Provost motorcyclists wore breeches or special pattern boots. Many photographs of wartime Provost show them wearing standard battledress and boots with either web anklets or puttees.
Two members of No.1 Provost Compay (RCMP) traffic contol section, Italy 1943. Both are wearing British pattern breeches and motorcyclist's boots.
Breeches, Motor Cyclists
Canadian motorcyclist's breeches. Made of heavy wool serge, these were meant to be worn with the Battledress blouse and were also worn with the Service Dress jacket. Tapered to fit the leg closely, other features of these breeches are a double seat and a double thickness of cloth on the inside of the legs. There is a small pleated pocket for the field dressing on the front right hip. Three buttons on the outside of the waist are used to fasten the trousers to the blouse in order to prevent the blouse riding up in the back. Six buttons for the attachment of braces are sewn on the inside of the waist.
View of the inside of the breeches, showing the button placement and marking details. Made by the Workman Uniform Company, the date is not clear, but appears to be 1940 or 1942. The cotton lining was only around the waist and did not extend into the seat or legs.
Closeup of the waist, showing the double seat and field dressing pocket. The belt loops are 1/2 inch longer and 1/4 inch thinner than those on the standard battledress trousers.
The double thickness re-enforcing on the inside of the legs. All seams are double or triple stitched for extra strength.
Two methods of tieing the laces. The method varied according to unit dress instructions or as the lacing was usually hidden by the the top of the boot, user preference.
One of the waterproof garments issued to Provost was waterproof leggings or chaps. Made from closely woven rubber impregnated cloth, they were seatless, but came up high in the front. They had no provision for braces but were secured high on the waist by means of a belt. They were worn over the footwear, allowing normal ankle boots to be worn. Straps and buckles were fastened around the sole of the boot.
Full length side view of waterproof leggings made by The General Rubber Company Ltd. of Galt Ontario. Note the belt loops at the top and the button holes and straps at the bottom.
Closeup view of the front inside of the leggings. All seams are reenforced and the reenforcing for the belt loops are visible. Also of interest is the P. W. stamp. Well used but servicable articles of clothing and equipment that were returned to quartermaster stores and deemed by Ordnance to be "Part Worn" had this stamp applied. They were then made availible for reissue.
Closeup view of the manufacturer's stamp. The bottom of the government inspector's stamp is just visible at the top of the image. Regretfully, only remnants of the cloth nomenclature label remain.
Closeup view of the bottom of the leggings showing the button closure and boot straps.
It is likely that Canadian Provost in England recieved a large part of their motor cyclist protective clothing from British stocks. In Italy a considerable amount of British clothing and equipment was made availible to Canadians
Service Dress Pantaloons, Motor Cyclists
As with Provost in Canada, Service Dress remained in use by British Corps of Military Police. These Service Dress pantaloons were also worn with Battledress blouses. They are made of a closely woven fine wool and are lined only around the inside of the waist.
Full length view showing the field dressing pocket
View of the heavy re-enforcing on the inside of the legs.
Inside detail of the waist.
Field dressing pocket detail.
Left side details. Note the lack of hip pockets.
Detail of the paper label. British issue clothing often had both a paper or cloth label with the designation, size, manufacturer and date details and an ink label stamped on the inside of the garment lining. The ink stamps usually bore only the War Department property mark, inspector's number and size.
Bedford Cord Breeches, Motor Cyclists
These breeches are similar in cut to the Service Dress Pantaloons but are made of bedford cord, a heavy fabric with a lengthwise ribbed weave that resembles corduroy.
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