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
A 1 Ontario London
B 2 Ontario Toronto
C 3 Ontario Kingston
D 4 Quebec Montreal
E 5 Quebec Quebec-City
F 6 Nova-Scotia Halifax
G 7 New Brunswick Saint-John
H 8 Manitoba Winnipeg
K 10 British Columbia Vancouver
L 12 Saskatchewan Regina
M 13 Alberta Calgary
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
W Women (CWAC)
Y Recruited in The Netherlands or Europe
Z Chaplain Corps
Accepted Abbrevations for religions on identity discs
C of E Church of England
RC Roman Catholic
UN-C United Church
PRES Presbyterian
BAPT Baptist
LUTH Lutherian
PENT Pencostal
C-SCI Christian Science
GC Greek Catholic
GO Greek Orthodox
J Jewish
OD Other Denomination

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.

 

 

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