Shoulder Eagles, etcAugust 24 2005 at 8:10 PM
Chris Kanca (Premier Login AOC553)
from IP address 188.8.131.52
Response to RCAF Shoulder Titles
The RCAF uniform for all ranks below the rank of WO1 should have shoulder eagles (facing rearwards). These were supposed to be on a dark blue/black backing just below the shoulder seams.
As more and more RCAF members deployed overseas, a combined version of shoulder eagle and CANADA title was created.
On operational stations, one can see considerable latitude in what badging was used. On some RCAF squadrons, aircrew dispensed with shoulder eagles and wore just the CANADA titles -- on either blue-grey or black backing. Most wore the requisite badging in either combined eagle/Canada badge or with the Canada title above the standard eagles. In some instances, no shoulder badging of any kind can be observed.
There are several personal accounts of NCO pilots wearing officer cap badges on their sidecaps as an unofficial means of conveying their "aircraft captain" status.
For nationality titles, the CANADA title was for wear outside of Canada. This applied to both officers and ORs with officers wearing the curved blue-grey version and ORs wearing theirs on blue-black. Newfoundland, at this point, was deemed to be service outside of Canada. Service members who served an overseas posting could, at their discretion, continue to wear a shoulder title upon return home, thereby indicating they served outside the national boundaries.
Muddying all this up is the fact that there were also Canadians serving in RAF. These chaps wore CANADA titles (at their discretion) anywhere they went which means a Canadian member of RAF serving/training in Canada could wear the CANADA titles but his Canadian buddy serving in RCAF and also training in Canada could not.
What does all this mean, visually? A Canadian RAF officer wearing service dress would look identical to his Canadian RCAF officer counterpart with the sole exception of the buttons on his jacket. RAF wearing RAF buttons and RCAF wearing RCAF buttons.
What about RCAF OR's? If wearing Canadian pattern uniforms, these guys are pretty easy to spot. The pocket flaps on Canadian pattern uniforms feature single-pointed (e.g. Army style) pocket flaps. The CANADA title was nearly universally worn by RCAF members but remember Canadians in RAF would also be wearing the same title.
Fun stuff, eh?