Jump to content
News Ticker
  • I am now accepting the following payment methods: Card Payments, Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal
  • Latest News

    Canadian Uniform Identification Assistance

    Recommended Posts

    Hello,  I am new to this Forum and am writing from the USA.  I own a 150 year old theatrical costumer and we have a large stock of vintage clothing and uniforms ... we recently discovered these two coats ... and have no real means of identification.  I'm posting images here, with the hope that someone will recognize them and help me to categorize them !!  I'm sure that the buttons on the first coat are not original to the uniform and are, in fact, much later than the coat; but they are the ones that were on the coat when I received it.   The coat with the breast pockets is a much lighter, open woven wool ... while the one without the chest pockets is a heavier melton type wool.   The coat with the breast pockets has two internal "pockets" on the lower front edges ... while the other, does not.  

    Thanks in advance,





















    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thanks so much for your post. I am assuming that you are referring to the second uniform without the breast pockets. I am most curious about the uniform with the pockets. I feel sure that the general service buttons are wrong and were added later. There was a GH Forsythe that fought in the Fenian Raids/Invasion - but I know that this is  the wrong uniform for that campaign and is later.My hunch is that it maybe from the 1880's or 1890's, but my knowledge of British and Canadian uniforms is sadly lacking. I am also curious about the two internal "pockets" sewn at the buttom of the coat.I have several uniforms of this ilk and all have them . They are sewn all of the way around and some are cut open to form a pocket. Any further thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Canadian pre-WWI tunic.  Many copies are still used by Canadian militia regiments for colour guards and so , so they were made up ti at least the 1970s.

    I think the "5 F...' is some kind of unit identifier but I can't figure out who it represents, as the '5th Battalion' were the Royal Highlanders of Canada and the letters don't match.

    The pockets are a common feature, particularly as the small outside pocket was often stitched shut to improve the hang of the tunic.  New expensive suit coats still arrive from the tailor that way - pockets basted shut so it hangs straight.

    It looks early and should interest 'Canadian Militia ' and Canadian Army pre-WWI' collectors but I don't know enough to say whether or not the buttons are original.  The 'C broad arrow stamp' was adopted form the British Army's broad arrow before WWI but used up to the 1960s.  This could easily be a pre Great War tunic - I suspect it is - which was kept in stores until WWII or later for 'dress' occasions.  Quite a nice piece.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    " The RCR and ONLY the RCR names its companies sequentially throughout the regiment from the Duke of Edinburgh's Company (instead of A Company) in the 1st Battalion to T Company in the 4th Battalion.  5th Platoon F Company in this case is part of the RCR's 1st Battalion. "

    As I think I say on a regular basis, I stand in awe of the breadth of detailed knowledge the members of the GMIC share on a regular basis.  It sounds as if your evidence for it's being RCR is pretty iron clad!  Thanks for taking the time to explain.


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    On 30/05/2020 at 15:59, ATJcostumer said:

    Thanks again for all your help with this tunic. I always assumed that the markings were for sizing. So 5F.5-6 34  meant a uniform to fit a 5' 5" -6" man with a 34" chest.


    i think you're assumption is closer to the mark then what has been presented. During my time in the RCR, none of our uniforms were marked according to the Company we were in, but all had labels with the size sewn on the inside. Ink markings were no longer used. I must admit however, that I was never issued with a set of Scarlets.

    Also, the lettering of the Companies within the Regiment from A (Duke's Company) to T came about in the early 1970's. Prior to that the Rifle Companies in each battalion were lettered from A to D.

    Although I'm not an expert, I think the tunic with the patch pockets is an earlier pattern than the one without.

    The most knowledgeable person about the RCR I know is Michael O"Leary who runs the RCR history website The Regimental Rogue. He may be able to help you more than anyone else.



    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Thank you so much for your post. My knowledge of British uniforms is very limited ; but my understanding is that they were always stamped with sizes right up through the second war.The stamp with the Arrow , I believe,  indicates its British, the " C " surrounding the arrow indicates its Canadian.

    It seems clear to me that the wool , both the shell and lining, is early; it is loosely woven and not melton. And I agree the patch pockets are early, pre-WW1. What I believe is a red herring are the buttons, which are general service buttons. My guess is that the original buttons were regimental and removed when the uniforms were made surplus. 

    I will definitely contact Mr. O'Leary and get his opinion. Thanks for the lead,



    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now
    • Create New...

    Important Information

    We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.