A rectangle of maroon wool.
The badge is a simple maroon rectangle, duplicating the basic badge of the Canadian 5th Division of WW1. Being wool, this particular badge may date to before the end of 1942. Formation history. On 28 January 1941 the Canadian War Committee gave authority to form a Canadian armoured division. This was in response to strong representations by Britain that an armoured division was urgently needed in the UK by the end of 1941. The Division was mobilized on 27 February 1941 as 1st Canadian Armoured Division and Divisional HQ was formed at Camp Borden in March under Major-General Sansom. To expedite the complex process of raising an armoured division, the GSO1 and the AA&QMG were initially experienced tank officers on loan from the British Army but, even with priority for resources, its gestation was to be less than straightforward. The creation of Canada's first armoured formation had been approved on 13 August 1940, concurrent with the formation of the Canadian Armoured Corps to which all armoured units would belong. The Brigade came fully into existence at Camp Borden in October that year and was designated 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. It comprised at that time a militia cavalry regiment, The Fort Garry Horse (originally designated the divisional cavalry regiment for 2nd Infantry Division but left behind when the Division went to the UK in July 1940), the Ontario Regiment (Tank) and the Three Rivers Regiment (Tank). The latter were two of the seven militia infantry units converted to the tank role in the re-organization of 1936. Initially, the Brigade had a fourth unit, 1st Canadian Cavalry Regiment (Mechanised), a composite unit formed in January 1940 from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse and 1st Hussars. On 11 February 1941 all armoured units of the Canadian Armoured Corps were numbered sequentially within the Corps. Precedence in the corps was originally based first on cavalry and then on infantry seniority, but after 1941 simply according to when the unit joined. The type of regiment was appended to the number (ie: Armoured Car, Army Tank, Armoured, Armoured Reconnaissance, Reconnaissance) and all regiments in addition retained their titles as parenthetic distinctions (eg: 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse), 3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (Governor General's Horse Guards), etc.). When 1st Armoured Division was formed, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade was assigned to it. However, at some point there had clearly been a decision that the armoured units of the Division would be found from the cavalry arm and as a result the two converted infantry regiments were transferred to the newly-formed (February 1941) 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade and re-designated Army Tank Battalions. 1st Armoured Brigade with its newly-titled 10th Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) was made up to strength by assigning a Permanent Force cavalry unit, 2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse), and 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars), a militia cavalry unit originally designated divisional cavalry unit to 1st Infantry Division but left behind when the Division left for the UK in December 1939. These two units had mobilized in their own right, in November 1940 and January 1941 respectively, when the 1st Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized) to which each had contributed a squadron was broken up. Brigade HQ personnel were found by mobilizing a representative squadron of the Prince Edward Island Light Horse. At this time, an armoured division had two armoured brigades and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade was formed concurrently with the Division, HQ personnel being found by mobilizing a squadron of 7/11 Hussars. The 2nd Armoured Brigade's three constituent armoured units were militia cavalry regiments that had initially been mobilized as motor-cycle regiments, 3rd Armoured Regiment (Governor General's Horse Guards), 5th Armoured Regiment (8th Princess Louise's Hussars) and 9th Armoured Regiment (British Columbia Dragoons). The cavalry nature of the Division was reinforced by assigning the senior Permanent Force cavalry regiment to the Division as its reconnaissance unit, the 1st Armoured Car Regiment (Royal Canadian Dragoons). Personnel for Divisional HQ were found by mobilizing another representative militia cavalry squadron, this time from 6th Duke of Connaught's Hussars. The two motor battalions needed to complete 1st and 2nd Armoured Brigades respectively were found by converting the Westminster and Perth Regiments from their pre-war machine gun role, both units joining the Division at the beginning of March 1941. As the formation of the armoured division was to have priority, completion of 4th Infantry Division was suspended and that Division 'milked' of personnel and whole units to furnish the new formation. The 4th's anti-tank regiment (4th) and one field regiment (17th) were transferred wholesale and its two remaining field regiments each lost two batteries to make up the new division's anti-tank and LAA regiments. Medical, Engineer, Provost, Signals, Ordnance and Service Corps troops were also transferred. Effective 5 June 1941, 1st Armoured Division was re-designated 5th, it having been decided that all divisions would be numbered sequentially. The bulk of the Division arrived in the UK in November 1941 where it came under command of CMHQ until its training had progressed to collective formation level. Equipment in the UK was now more plentiful than earlier arrivals had found, with the major exception of Bofors for the LAA units, and cruiser tanks. As late as June 1942 the whole Division had only 112 tanks on charge, 34 of which were the Canadian Ram cruiser. Conversion to Shermans and Stuarts did not begin until May 1943. The Division nevertheless passed under command 1st Canadian Army on 25 June 1942 although the first time it exercised as a whole was during Exercise Spartan in March 1943. As at that time it was under command of the very new 2nd Canadian Corps, itself not trained or even fully equipped, it is not surprising that the Division's performance was disappointing. Valuable lessons were learned, however, and it benefited from six weeks of intensive training in Norfolk in July –August 1943. The Division was also at the time of Spartan still recovering from a major upheaval in organization. It was decided in January 1943 that armoured divisions should be on the basis of one armoured and one infantry brigade. The 1st Hussars and the Fort Garry Horse left the Division and the Governor General's Horse Guards became the Divisional Armoured Recce Regiment (3rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (Governor General's Horse Guards)). The remaining three armoured regiments (2nd Armoured Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse), 5th Armoured Regiment (8th Princess Louise's Hussars) and 9th Armoured Regiment (British Columbia Dragoons)) combined into a single armoured brigade, re-designated 5th. The Westminster Regiment remained as the Armoured Brigade's Motor Battalion. A lorried infantry brigade was formed, numbered 11th, comprising two of the Division's own units, the Cape Breton Highlanders from the erstwhile Support Group and the Perth Regiment, which converted from 2nd Armoured Brigade's motor battalion. The Irish Regiment of Canada was imported from the long-suffering 4th Division where it had been in the Support Group (4th had, in name at least, been designated an armoured division in January 1942). The new-look Support Group for armoured divisions was a machine gun and mortar unit to support the infantry brigade. 5th Division's Group was designated 11th Brigade Support Group at the end of January 1943, 4th Division yet again being plundered, this time of its second motor battalion, the Princess Louise's Fusiliers. Although they had begun the war as a machine-gun unit, this involved a major conversion from standard infantry, and also it seems a significant reduction in size. (In July 1944 this unit was re-designated 11th Independent Machine Gun Company (Princess Louise's Fusiliers).) The Royal Canadian Dragoons departed the Division to become 1st Canadian Corps armoured car regiment. The three representative squadrons that had hitherto clung to a separate identity as the formation HQs also went, the two Brigade squadrons disbanded and the personnel absorbed, the Divisional squadron leaving to become 2nd Canadian Corps HQ Defence Company. The Divisional anti-tank Regiment acquired a fourth battery, the UK-raised 16th, equipped with towed 6pdr & 17pdr. guns, but the SP Field Regiment (8th) was not added to the order of battle until the Division embarked for Italy in October 1943 and did not actually join the Division until the beginning of 1944. Command of the Division also changed at this time, Major-General Stein taking over in January 1943. Under Operation Timberwolf, the Division, along with 1st Corps and a number of Corps and Army troops, went to Italy in the Autumn of 1943, arriving in Naples in early November. Constraints on shipping space meant that they went without their heavy equipment. It was understood that tanks were to be supplied by 15 Army Group from North Africa and that vehicles and equipment would be taken over from the British 7th Armoured Division, which left for the UK as the Canadians arrived. This was all to prove problematic, the situation not helped by the attitude of the Mediterranean command, which had not wanted either another armoured division or another corps headquarters in theatre. Tank delivery was much slower than forecast, which significantly delayed the deployment of 5th Armoured Brigade. The situation regarding transport was more critical. First, the establishment on which 7th Armoured were working was significantly different to that on which the Canadians had mobilized and 5th found it very difficult to adapt their personnel resources to the equipment available, there being in particular a shortage of drivers. One specific limiting tactical factor was that the infantry battalions' 6pdr. anti-tank guns had to be carried 'portee' on 3-ton lorries. This was quite unsuitable for the Italian terrain and was eventually remedied by the local expedient of using LAA artillery tractors as towing vehicles. More important, all the inherited vehicles left much to be desired. The high proportion of two-wheel drive models made it quite likely that the Division would be effectively immobilized in the mountainous terrain and muddy ground conditions to be expected in Italy. In addition, a high proportion of the vehicles were in extremely poor condition, some being barely roadworthy and certainly not battle worthy. For example, following the Division's first move to Altamura near the end of November it took three weeks to recover the vehicles broken down at the roadside. It took until the end of 1943 for the problem to be at least partially addressed when replacement engines and vital spares were at last found and shipped from North Africa for retro-fitting to the existing ex-7th Armoured vehicles. The field gun situation was somewhat better, 17th Field Regiment seemingly taking over a full complement of 25prs. without delay. The SP regiment, 8th Field, arrived in December and at first inherited some towed 25pdrs. but by early February 1944 had exchanged these for SP 105mm Priests, albeit badly worn. Their new guns were not received until the end of April. The two towed anti-tank batteries seem also to have been equipped on arrival but of the two SP batteries, 98th had first to go into action at the beginning of February 1944 with towed guns, not receiving its 3' M10 equipment until the end of the month. The 5th LAA Regiment also appeared to equip immediately on arrival, with all towed equipment. One Troop in each Battery was converted to truck SP equipment in May 1944, thus possibly releasing some tractors for the infantry battalions' anti-tank guns (see above). In addition to equipment problems, the Division underwent a series of changes in command. On its arrival in Italy, Major-General Guy Simonds took over the Division, albeit for a token three months. Singled out for great things, he was to command 2 Canadian Corps in the Normandy invasion and it was thought it would be helpful if he had experience of commanding an armoured division. At the end of January 1944, without having commanded the Division as a whole in battle, he handed over to Major-General Burns. On 20th March, Burns in turn handed over to Major-General Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister was to stay in command until the end of the war but the Division had had three commanders in quick succession during five very difficult months, including its first actions. While 5th Armoured Brigade awaited its tanks, 11th Infantry Brigade became operational at the end of December 1943. As a Brigade Group with artillery, LAA, anti-tank and support services, it came under command of 1st Canadian Division and took over on 13 January from 3 Canadian Infantry Brigade in the line north of Ortona. Early on 17 January the Brigade attacked across the Riccio River with the intention of exploiting towards the Arielli River in the next valley. The operation was a costly failure and the Brigade was relieved the following day. The Brigade returned to the line three days later when on 22 January they relieved elements of 4th Indian Division around Orsogna. On their left were the Westminster Rifle motor battalion and the Strathconas, the latter being the first armoured unit of the Division to be supplied with their Shermans, albeit, according to the official history, at short notice and only 'by devious means'. The first deployment of the Division as a whole came when it relieved 8th Indian Division in the line in the Ortona salient on 8-9 February 1944, coming under 1 Canadian Corps. This was nearly 90 days after its arrival in Italy. It was withdrawn for training and planning in early March without having undertaken any action beyond patrolling. It's first major operational commitment as a Division came some 90 days later still on 24 May during the Liri Valley campaign. On 23 May 1 Canadian Corps attacked the Hitler Line between Aquino and Pontecorvo, Operation Chesterfield, and the Division was tasked to break out north west beyond the lodgement in the Hitler position, towards the Melfa River and Ceprano. The Division advanced on the morning of 24 May, during which it successfully engaged the first Panther tanks to be met by the Allies on the western front. The Division's centre line was held at the Melfa but the Westminsters secured a bridgehead, winning their A Company commander, Major J. K. Mahoney a VC. Infantry attacking out of this position had broken through the defence by midday on 25th. By the end of the following day the Division had closed up to Ceprano and on 27th the infantry crossed the Liri south of the town and exploited west on 28th. The Division was next ordered north westwards along the difficult terrain of the Sacco Valley to Frosinone. The advance began early on 29th May with Pofi being taken that afternoon. On the following day the Division secured positions west and north-west of Anara before handing over to 1st Canadian Division and withdrawing into reserve on 31st. From experience gained in the recent operations, it was concluded that armoured divisions needed additional resources. One such asset was the creation on 1st June of 5th Canadian Assault Troop, a small (around 85 all ranks) Brigade sub-unit similar in function to an infantry battalion's Pioneer Platoon. Formed from Canadian Armoured Corps personnel to work with 5th Armoured Brigade, they were trained to keep open routes for tanks with demolitions and mine-clearing and organized so that one section could be assigned to each armoured regiment in the Brigade. (1st Assault Troop was formed at the same time to work with 1st Armoured Brigade.) The other great need was additional infantry. The British had two independent infantry brigades, 61st and 24th Guards, which they had recently attached to 6th British and 6th South African Armoured Divisions and the Canadians believed something similar was required to support 5th Canadian. No additional infantry were available in theatre, nor would they be released from the UK or North West Europe, so it was decided to raise an additional brigade from local resources. On 12th July 1944, formation of 12th Infantry Brigade was authorised. The Division's own Westminster Rifles, the motor battalion of 5th Armoured Brigade, was one component, although it was expected to maintain a dual role by being available at need to support the units of the Armoured Brigade. Corps LAA Regiments were being abolished by the British in the Mediterranean theatre at this time as surplus to requirements so it was decided to convert 1 Canadian Corps' 1st LAA Regiment to infantry. The 35th Battery of this unit had already, 15 June, been re-designated No. 35 Traffic Control Unit and was training on provost duties to help deal with heavy traffic congestion in the Liri Valley. On 1 July the remaining two Batteries, 89 and 109, became the 89/109 Infantry Battalion, subsequently re-designated 1st. LAA Battalion. In October the whole unit was formally re-designated the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment, apparently with the full support of the prototype Regiment in the Reserve Army in Canada. They were able to draw additional personnel from 2nd LAA Regiment of 1st Division and from 5th Division's own 5th LAA Regiment as each divisional LAA Regiment in the theatre at that time reduced each battery by one troop. Perhaps even more controversially, and to the consternation of the Regiment, the third unit was found by converting 1st Canadian Division's mechanised reconnaissance unit (4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise's Dragoon Guards)) to infantry. On conversion, the regiment dropped its Canadian Armoured Corps numeric designation and reverted to their pre-war title. The Brigade Support Group was found by splitting the existing 11th Support Group into two, on 1 July the two units being re-designated 11th and 12th Independent Machine Gun Companies(Princess Louise's Fusiliers). With barely six weeks for re-training and reorganization, the Division was committed to the battle for the Gothic Line at the end of August, the first phase of the major effort on the Adriatic Front, Operation Olive. With 1st Canadian Infantry Division on their right, the Division fought a costly series of actions on 30 and 31 August to take Montecchio and Osteria Nuova in front of and then through the Gothic Line. They were able to exploit north on 1 September, the first day on which the new 12th Infantry Brigade was committed, directed through Tomba Di Pesaro and on to San Giovanni, which they entered unopposed in the afternoon of 2 September. On the morning of 3rd September the Division advanced across the Conca River and by nightfall had passed through a hasty German defence line (Green Line II) and taken Misano on the right and Mount Gallera on the left. The following day 5th Armoured Brigade failed to take Besanigo to the north of Gallera but the village fell to an infantry attack on the morning of 5th September. On 13th September the Division took the vital town of Coriano on its dominating ridge, and were withdrawn the next day. The Division took over the left flank of the Canadian Corps' line north of the Marecchia River, west of Rimini, on 23 September. 12th Brigade, with armoured support severely limited by the terrain, attacked north west that morning. It took them four days of heavy fighting to establish firm positions beyond San Vito and over the Uso River. 11th Brigade took the lead on 27th September in an attempt to reach the next river, the Fiumicino. Heavy rain began on 28th and continued for twelve days, bringing the rivers into spate and stopping any further advance. The bulk of the Division went into reserve on 8th October, leaving behind elements contributing to an ad hoc group of dismounted armoured and artillery units called 'Cumberland Force', named after the commander of 5th Canadian Armoured Brigade. They were to hold the Fiumicino line on the coastal sector but took advantage of various German withdrawals to edge forward by stages, closing with the Savio River by 24th October. 5th Division relieved the New Zealand Division north of Cesena on the night of 22 –23 October. On 24th October the Division followed up a German withdrawal and crossed the Savio unopposed and by 28th were on the line of the Bevano River. The Division, with the rest of 1st Canadian Corps, came into reserve on 28th October. Operation Chuckle was aimed at clearing the area west of Ravenna up to and over the Senio River. The attack began on the morning of 2nd December, 5th Armoured Division advancing on the right and taking San Pancrazio by dawn the following day. By the end of 3rd December they had taken Godo and on 4th December elements of the Division took the village of Piangipane on their centre line while in the afternoon the Princess Louise' Dragoon Guards entered Ravenna from the west, meeting other troops coming up from the south. The following day the Division closed up to the Lamone River between Traversara and Mezzano on the west and with Highway 16 to the north. The offensive was renewed on 10 December, the Division successfully crossing the Limone that night around Villanova and Borgo and by 12 December had beaten off a determined armoured counter-attack around Villanova and closed up to the Naviglio Canal, dry but still a major obstacle. They were established across this by 15th December, now facing a further obstacle, the Fosso Munio. The assault was renewed on the evening of 19th December, directed on the Senio River, which was reached opposite Fusignano on 21st. The Division cleared the Senio east bank north east towards Alfonsine between 22 and 24 December. Between 2nd and 6th January 1945 in what was to be the Division's last action in Italy, they cleared the south shore of the Valli di Comacchio eastwards to the sea. The first stage was an advance north from the Mezzano area, capturing Conventello, before turning east to take Sant' Alberto, and Casal Borsetti on the coast on 6th January. The Division went into reserve on 14th January. Under Operation Goldflake the Division, together with almost all other Canadian troops in Italy, moved to North West Europe. Beginning around 10th February, the Division moved by sea to Marseilles and thence by rail to Dixmude in Belgium, where it was concentrated by the end of the month. This time they took all their equipment with them, although some readjustments were necessary on arrival to conform to the standard organization in 21st Army Group. Some at least of the armoured regiments remained non-standard because they seem to have retained their two 105mm close support tanks at each squadron headquarters. In addition, Canadian forces in Italy were in the process of re-equipping when the decision was taken to transfer them and over 4,000 new vehicles had to be transferred from Italy to Belgium for issue there. 12th Infantry Brigade was disbanded, 1st LAA Regiment reverting to its 1st Corps LAA role, becoming 1st LAA Rgt (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish) and 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards returned to 1st Division in their reconnaissance role, with their Canadian Armoured Corps numeric title re-instated. The Division took over responsibility for the western sector of 'the island', the Nijmegen salient south west of Arnhem, on 31 March 1945. Operation Destroyer was aimed at clearing the remainder of the 'island' up to the banks of the Neder Rhine and began on 2nd April. The British 49th Division operated on the right, 5th Canadian on the left, the objectives being secured by the end of 3rd April. Following the capture of Arnhem by 49th Division, 5th Canadian Division moved into the city in preparation for Operation Cleanser, the drive north from Arnhem to the Ijsselmeer. This began at 06.30 on 15th April, with 5th Armoured Brigade in the lead directed at the high ground to the north. By noon Terlet on the right and Deelen on the left had fallen and the second phase had begun, now directed north west to Otterloo. This was taken on the following morning after which the advance was resumed, directed on Barneveld, taken on the night of 16th, and Voorthuizen, the road from the latter east towards Apeldoorn being cut by the evening of 16th April. These moves had placed 5th Division across the westward lines of retreat of the German forces being ousted from the Apeldoorn positions to the east and in the early hours of 17th a strong German force seeking to use the Voorthuizen road was beaten back. At the same time, 5th Divisional HQ were in Otterloo and found themselves at the centre of a similar battle in which the Divisional HQ tank troop became involved. During 17th Voorthuizen was captured and the advance continued north towards Putten, taken the following day, as was the small port of Harderwijk on the banks of the Ijsselmeer. The Division handed over to 1st Canadian Division on 19th April and moved to north east Holland on 21st, coming under 2nd Canadian Corps. The principal task of the Division now was to capture the port of Delfzijl. This was primarily an 11th Brigade task and began on 25th April with moves to reduce the perimeter. Thereafter attacking from north and south, the port was secured on 1 May after a difficult series of unit operations. This was the Division's final operation. Towards the end of May they supervised the surrendered German forces marching out of Holland and then concentrated around the area of Groningen. Divisional HQ was disbanded on 12th December 1945.
Associated person: John Tiffin Murray Stewart b. 1917, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. d. 6 August 1964, 47 yrs., heart attack. Service record: Gunner M 4044 RCA. 1942: Reg. H2, HQ RCA, 1st Administration Corps. RCA CASF (Canadian Active Service Force) 1st Division. 1943: Reg. H3, 3rd Field Regt. RCA CASF 1st Division. 1944: 1st A Wing. No. 1 CARU (Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit). Family history: 11 December 1942, married Elfreda Joan, nee Knight, at Congregational Church West Wickham, Kent. 15 June 1945, returned Canada. 27 June 1946, joined by family (on board 'Letitia'). August 1948, all family return to UK ('Queen Mary'). Moved to family home, Cavendish Way, West Wickham, Kent. Subsequently bought house, Oak Avenue, Shirley, Croydon.
Bibliographical sources: FORMATION BADGES OF WORLD WAR 2: Britain, Commonwealth and Empire, Lt. Col. Howard N. Cole, Arms & Armour Press, 1973, ISBN 85368 078 7; DISTINGUISHING PATCHES: Formation Patches of the Canadian Army. Clive M. Law. (Private) Service Publications, Nepean, Ontario, 1996.
Associated people and organisations
- Second World War, Operation Timberwolf, Ortona salient, Riccio - Arielli Rivers, Liri Valley, Melfa River, Ceprano, Sacco Valley, Gothic Line, Operation Olive, Montecchio, Osteria Nuova, Besanigo, Coriano, Uso River, Fiumicino River, Savio River, Operation Chuckle, Rimini, Lamone River, Naviglio Canal, Senio River, Valli di Comacchio, Operation Goldflake, The Island, Otterloo, Voorthuizen, Ijsselmeer, Delfzijl.