Canadian Identity Discs
The Canadian Soldier carried several means of
identification and were assigned a Regimental Number.
Every unit was assigned blocks of numbers, prefixed by a letter,
indicating the Military District in Canada in which the unit was based.
There were 11 military districts in Canada, numbered from 1 to 13 (with 8 and 9 left out),
and Regimental Numbers thus were prefixed with the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L or M.
Officers were identified by name and rank only.
Identification discs used in the Second World War were identical to those used in the first World War.
In the above example:
Private W.Spencer R.C.A.S.C Regimental number F.76263
1. Regimental number beginning with F indicating enrolled in
Military District No.6 (Nova-Scotia) HQ at Halifax
2. Rank and Initails
3. Last name
4. Religion OD indicating Other Denomination
5. Nationality CDN indicating Canadian
|Army Regimental Number Prefixes|
|Prefix||Military District||Province||Provincial HQ|
|N||Recruited at St-Johns, Nfld|
|P||Recruited in the non-permanent active militia before Sept 10, 1940|
|T||Militia officer or Canadian overseas volunteer firefighter|
|U||Recruited in Great Britain|
|Y||Recruited in The Netherlands or Europe|
|Accepted Abbrevations for religions on identity discs|
|C of E||Church of England|
Private-purchase silver bracelet bearing a Royal Canadian Army
Service Corps enamelled badge,
together with the soldiers name and regimental number
The Identity Discs were issued with three discs one "No.1
Disc" was octagonal and coloured green made from fireproof material while
the other "No.2 and No.3 Disc" was round and coloured red and made of a rot
proof material. The green disc was tied to the red disc. The
second red disc was placed in the respirator bag, these discs were to be used
for burial identification in the case that the soldier became a casualty. The
green disc was to always stay with the body while the red disc was to be
removed from a soldiers' body,
when he was killed and turned in to the Officer Commanding his unit.
The aim of the two colours was that the red tag was removed and attached to a small bag, carried by burial parties, containing the soldier’s personal belongings see picture below.
The tag’s dual purpose was to name the owner of the contents and assist in establishing a record of those killed. The green tag remained with the body for temporary burial, making the corpse identifiable when exhumed for proper burial later. (Legend has it that the two colours were to assist soldiers in remembering which tag went where: red, the colour of blood, was taken away indicating the owner was dead; while green, the colour of grass, was kept with the body). The circular tag is removed from the body and the octagonal tag should, given time, be placed inside the dead soldier’s mouth, between the teeth and lips.
2005 © The Hins