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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Resource Type > Image > Photograph

Trooper, 1st Troop of Volunteer Militia Cavalry of the County of York, circa 1855

Type: Image

Unofficial known as 'Dennison's Troop' after the family that led them for three generations, Toronto's volunteer cavalry unit dates back to 1822. The uniform shown in the photograph was dark blue, with silver lace and pale buff facings. It was adopted after the 1838 rebellion (when the unit was known as the Queen's Light Dragoons) and worn until 1871 (by which time it was The Governor General's Body Guard). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Private’s coatee, Royal Nova Scotia Regiment, circa 1801

Type: Image

This garment is one of the earliest surviving uniforms known to exist in Canada. It is red with dark blue collar, cuffs and wings, white lace ornamenting the buttonholes and pewter regimental buttons. The Royal Nova Scotia Regiment was raised in Nova Scotia in 1793 and was disbanded in 1802. It served on garrison duty in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It wore this style of uniform from about 1798. (Halifax Army Museum, Halifax Citadel)

Site: National Defence

Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954

Type: Image

Except for a few details, the full dress uniform of officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, remained essentially the same since the college was founded in 1874. As shown in this 1954 photo, only the shakos and pith helmets worn on parade by first-class officer-cadets disappeared, replaced by pill-box caps. (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-2049)

Site: National Defence

Grenadier private's coatee, possibly of the 3rd Battalion of the Quebec Militia, circa 1803-1815

Type: Image

The crescent-shaped ‘wings’ with fringes at the end of the shoulders of a coatee distinguished the flank companies of a regiment. The grenadier company is distinguished here by a small red grenade on the black shoulder strap. This coatee is possibly the earliest uniform of an enlisted man of the Canadian Militia known to exist. (Canadian War Museum.)

Site: National Defence

Canadian infantry barracks room, circa 1890

Type: Image

A rare glimpse into life as it was in a Canadian infantry barracks room during a winter evening in about 1890. Some men are shown cleaning their kit, the floor or a Snider-Enfield infantry rifle, one is being shaved, another trims his moustache and one is reading. The barracks furniture features the British iron folding bed and barrack table with iron legs. The men’s uniforms and equipment are neatly hung or shelved and a stove, essential in a Canadian winter, is prominent. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Canadian C.-E. Roulleau, régiment des Zouaves Pontificaux, Rome, May 1868

Type: Image

Pontifical Zouave C.-E. Roulleau wears the small zouave parade dress fur cap with a white aigrette feather. On most occasions, the zouaves wore the grey kepi with a red band. Back in Canada, Roulleau went to become a leading organiser of Zouave organizations in French Canada.

Site: National Defence

Infantry tunic, Canadian Volunteer Militia, 1871-1876

Type: Image

The full dress tunic was the only uniform coat issued to Canadian volunteers during the 19th century. The style is essentially similar to a British tunic, although by 1870s the British army was starting to develop special campaign uniforms. This surviving coat in the collection of the Canadian War Museum has the so-called 'chevron' cuff. This pattern of coat was official issue 1871-1876. (Canadian War Museum)

Site: National Defence

Private's tunic, Canadian Volunteer Militia, 1863 - 1870

Type: Image

This tunic is the standard pattern adopted in 1863 for the Canadian Volunteer Militia. It is similar to the tunic of a British regular infantryman of the era, but instead of straight cuffs with cuff flaps it has pointed cuffs decorated with an 'Austrian knot' in white piping. Note as well the white loop on the shoulder in place of the more usual shoulder strap. The facings are dark blue, a distinction normally reserved for 'royal' regiments but adopted wholesale by the Canadians. This example dates from 1863-1870, but the general style was worn by the militia for the remainder of the 19th century. (Canadian War Museum)

Site: National Defence

'Cat of nine tails' whip

Type: Image

The ‘cat of nine tails’ was a whip used to flog soldiers. This one was used in the British 83rd Regiment of Foot. The length of the wooden stick was 43cm (1' 5"), its tails 53cm (1' 9"), and it weighed 141,75 g. (5 ounces). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Colour Sergeant's tunic, 6th Battalion Volunteer Militia of Canada, or Hochelaga Light Infantry, 1862-63

Type: Image

This surviving tunic is from the collection of the Toronto military tailoring firm Sheldon Kasman. It shows an interesting variation on the standard Canadian militia tunic of the 1860s. Regulations called for pointed cuffs decorated with an 'Austrian knot' in white piping, but several units (including the Hochelaga Light Infantry, a Montreal regiment) ordered tunics from Britain that copied the British army 1854 pattern. These had a straight cuff decorated with a laced flap. Note the colour sergeant's rank badges on the upper sleeves - three silver chevrons on the left arm, and an embroidered Queen's Colour over a single silver chevron on the right.

Site: National Defence