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Uniforms

In 1925, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) issued new uniforms. Commonly referred to as Air Force blues, due to their rich blue colour, uniforms served a variety of practical and symbolic purposes. Each button, badge and insignia served as a symbol to communicate an airman's rank, classification and nationality.

RCAF uA peaked cap, part of the Royal Canadian Air Force uniform during World War II. 2003niforms during World War II consisted of a jacket with four buttons, a belt cinched at the waist, a collared shirt and black tie, matching pants, black boots and a cap. All British Commonwealth Air Training Plan trainees wore what was called a wedge cap. All aircrew trainees wore a flash of white material on their caps, which indicated that the wearer was undergoing training. With so many airmen on every base, it was essential to separate those undergoing aircrew training from those who were not.

The uniform of a navigator during World War II.  2003Uniforms were required to take the harsh Canadian climate into account and therefore, depending on the season and the occasion, the airman's dress was different. For example, an airman on duty would wear something different from while messing, just as an airman on duty in the summer would wear different clothing from that worn during the winter. Summer uniforms took on the same style but were made from a lighter weight and lighter coloured fabric.

A Royal Canadian Air Force uniform during World War II. 2003It was not until Canadian airmen served overseas in World War II that a shoulder badge was worn officially. The badge read "Canada" and was worn to show one's nationality. Each component of the uniform was to comply with regulation and this badge was no exception. The top of it was to be worn 3/4 of an inch below the shoulder seam. Airmen and airwomen were required to wear this on both shoulders of all jackets except for overcoats, officers' mess jackets and bandsmen's dress jackets.

A Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division in uniform.Upon enlisting in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), each airman and airwoman received the classification of Leading Aircraftman (LAC) and Leading Aircraftwoman (LAW). This was displayed on their uniform by the propeller badge worn on both shoulders. Once trained in a specialized capacity, each trainee would receive a new classification and a new badge to display this. Airmen were granted their Wings in graduation ceremonies and often rushed back to the barracks to stitch the badge on to the uniform. Wing badges were worn on jackets on the left side over the chest.

A Royal Canadian Air Force uniform during World War II. 2003Uniforms for the Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division (RCAF WD) were rather controversial. Many considered the first caps to be quite unattractive. The first summer uniform, a blue dress worn with grey stockings was also very unpopular. The officials at Air Force Headquarters took these problems into consideration and the uniforms that resulted were both stylish and of excellent quality.

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