The Canadian Provost Corps
1939 - 1946

Officer's Rank Insignia

  During this period, Canadian rank insignia was similar to that worn during the First World War, and followed the British pattern almost exactly. Officers of the Canadian Provost Corps wore cloth insignia on the shoulder straps of the battledress and metal insignia on the service dress and greatcoat.

In 1939, rank insignia worn on the shoulder straps of the battle dress uniform by officers was in the form of worsted khaki pips and crowns. These were virtually identical in pattern to those worn during the First World War. According to British Army Council Instruction 1118 of 1940 a colored backing was ordered to be applied to the khaki insignia in order to identify the various arms and services. The Canadian Army was soon to follow suite as Provost Marshal’s Circular Letter No 29/41 dated 28 April 1941 detailed the specific colour and pattern of Provost rank insignia:

Rank Badges – Officers
Coloured Backing for: (R.O. 1011)
(Battle Dress only)

1. Herewith is given a sample of material showing the exact shade of colour for the backing to be used by Officers of the Canadian Provost Corps in the terms of the m/n Routine Order. This sample is for colour only: the material should be a better quality of felt baize.
2. The backing should be applied as per the annexed sketch, allowing approximately 1/8 inch of the coloured material to show around the edges.
3. This Headquarters has been informed that worsted badges mounted with the colour proper for all arms will presently be available from Officer’s supply houses, but Officers should, in the meantime, supply themselves with the material locally.

Later pattern insignia had the khaki design embroidered directly onto the colored backing. Both patterns were worn concurrently, with the early style used less as the war progressed. A variant of insignia silk screened printed onto a canvas slip-on is known, but was not likely worn by Provost, as was a pattern having the insignia embroidered directly onto the slip-on. The prescribed color backing for cloth rank insignia of Provost Officers was red. Reportedly there was some discussion amongst RCMP Officers of No 1 Provost Company as to the color that they should wear, as the RCMP had Cavalry traditions. In any event, Cavalry yellow was not approved and RCMP Officers wore red backed insignia.

  The pattern of crown in wear during this period was the Tudor crown, commonly known as the "King's" crown. The design of the pip is based on the star of the Order of the Bath. There were many minor variations in the materials and quality of these insignia during the war. Below are illustrated a few of the major pattern variations, as they pertain to the Provost Corps.

Patterns and variations of embroidered insignia

Unbacked worsted pip
Worsted pip sewn onto backing
Embroidered onto backing

Unbacked worsted crown
Crown embroidered onto backing

Gilt metal pips

Officer's Ranks


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