The uniforms of the RCASC during this period were the same as the rest of the Canadian Army. They wore a number of different uniforms depending on the theatre and period of the war. When war was declared in 1939, the existing RCASC units wore a uniform very similar to that worn during the great war. By late 1939 early 1940, battledress replaced the service dress. It would become the standard uniform of the war.
There were exceptions, such as the wearing of Khaki Drill in the warm summer months in Italy. In addition, specialized apparel would be worn by RCASC personnel according to their tasks such as Despatch Rider or Mechanic. Please see the book "Dressed to Kill" for a more detailed study of Canadian Army Uniforms of the second world war. It can be found through SERVICE PUBLICATIONS
Private 1st Canadian Corps RCASC Italian campaign circa 1943.Summer uniform consisting of a "bush shirt" worn in Italy. Dress regulations were a bit more relaxed in the Italian theatre. Supply problems also lead to a mix of different uniforms and manufacturers being worn simultaneously. The bush shirt came in a number of different fabrics, this one is Aertex...a breathable material for the hot summer months. Insignia was either sewn directly onto the shirt or worn on removable brassards. Shorts worn during the Sicily campaign were replaced by long pants due to the large insect population in Italy. Worn with non infantry 37 pattern cartridge carriers.
The climate in Italy meant hot summers and cold winters. It was one of the few theatres Canadians fought in during the war that saw a different uniform for different seasons.
Despatch Rider 2nd Canadian Division circa 1943. In addition to the Despatch Rider Motorcycle helmet, he is also wearing the Leather Jerkin. A design that changed little from the great war, the jerkin provided addition warmth as well as allowing for freedom of movement. The DR `Winged Wheel` trade badge is worn on the left sleeve. The Despatch Rider was often armed with a .38 pistol or a Sten MkII submachine gun. He also has an early box resprirator gas mask slung over his shoulder.
The 2nd Division battledress jacket above jacket was worn by Pte George Frederick King B86270. Below are copies of his ID card as well as a picture of him on his motorcycle.
Canadians in Normandy
Above is a Sargeant of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The 3rd Division along with 2nd Armoured Brigade were the two formations that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. The weather along the channel coast could be cool, even in the summer..the leather jerkin also seen below was a popular item to wear. Also worn is the Mk II helmet. Many of the Assault troops wore the Mk III helmet....support troops were not normally issued that pattern helmet. Equipped with 37 pattern web normally associated with the infantry, the RCASC soldiers were expected to fight as well deliver supplies. The number of casualties suffered during the campaign testifies to the dangers encountered by service corps personnel.