Red and blue are the Artillery colours and the red zig-zag an Artillery motif. The zig-zag design appears to be a simplified variant of the patch worn by the Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery in WW1.
Worn by the Corps Commander RCA (a Brigadier) and staff and by the Artillery units directly under Corps command. In 2nd Corps they were 2nd Survey Regiment, 6th Anti-Tank Regiment and 6th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
The Survey Regiment provided counter-battery information through its three batteries, survey, flash spotting and sound ranging. The Corps anti-tank regiment provided a reserve resource of heavy anti-tank equipments, eventually all 17 pdr., half SP and half towed by tracked vehicles. The Corps LAA regiment provided point air defence in the corps area.
Being of embroidered wool, this particular badge may date from before the end of 1942 and therefore be an early pattern 1st Corps Artillery. Formation patches and unit shoulder titles were produced in three materials, woollen cloth, felt and printed cotton. Of these, felt was probably the least common. Both Canadian and British firms produced the woollen versions but, particularly in Britain, there were problems with supply and with the colour-fastness of the dyes. From November 1942 a printed cotton material with a strong backing became available in the UK, often now referred to as 'canvas'. After initial production problems with skewed shapes and letters, most patches and titles produced in the UK were in this material. It was supposed not to fray, run or fade but complaints about quality began to emerge around October 1944. A request to return to wool does not appear to have been possible before the end of the war.
Development of the badge.
Although apparently on a 2nd Corps blue diamond, this same design of badge was also worn by 1st Corps Artillery up to around November 1943 before being adopted by 2nd Corps Artillery.
This apparent anomaly arose because the orders relating to insignia issued in 1940 permitted Corps Troops to wear their own choice of colours appropriate to their corps or service. 1st Corps Artillery at that time chose not to add their distinction to 1st Corps' red diamond but adopted a blue diamond with a single red zig-zag. This was not a problem at the time as there was only one Canadian Corps and the patch was approved around March 1941.
When the 2nd Canadian Corps was in the process of being formed around January 1943 it was decided that it should adopt the diamond shape to be uniform with 1st Corps and the colour blue to be uniform with the colour sequence of relative seniority. If such uniformity was to be preserved across the board then the Corps Artillery would have had to impose the red artillery zig-zag onto the Corps' blue diamond, the sign already being used by 1st Corps Artillery. However, no immediate clash arose because no patch was initially assigned for 2nd Corps Artillery, the only two patches approved at that time being a plain patch for HQ and the RCCS white initials.
In October 1943 NDHQ enquired about the distinctions being carried by corps and services of Corps Troops and their relation to the basic Corps patch. Presumably as a result of this, a policy decision seems to have been taken to rationalise the currently somewhat chaotic situation by requiring distinctions to be placed on the basic parent Corps' patch. 2nd Corps Artillery adopted the previous 1st Corps sign of a red zig-zag on a blue diamond. 1st Corps Artillery retained the red artillery zig-zag on a red diamond by outlining it in blue. The changeover seems to have been effected at the end of 1943 or beginning of 1944.
These patches stayed in use to the end of the war and were officially exempt from the otherwise general move away from distinctions worn on formation patches to the style of plain patches with unit shoulder titles that was common by summer 1944.
For notes on 1st Corps Artillery badges, see INS 104.
For a summary history of 2 Corps, see INS 8.
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