Timeline: Uniforms



“The regiment consisted of ten rifle companies. No.1, 2 and 3 wore rifle-green uniforms with scarlet facings; 4 and 5 wore light grey with scarlet facings; 6 “The Victoria Rifles” wore brown with scarlet facings; 7 wore dark grey with scarlet facings; 8 wore light grey with no facings; 9 wore rifle-green uniforms with scarlet facings but started off with grey uniforms, red trimmings and a cluster of cock’s feathers set on the shako; 10 [wore] Highland uniform.”[1] p.47-48

1855 Civil Service Company
1855 Civil Service Company – QOR Museum photo

13 Oct 1862 – Commanding Officers Report on circular October 13, 1862 concerning clothing and equipment of Volunteers Upper Canada

18 Dec 1862 – The winter uniform to be worn by the Officers, specified in Regimental Orders, and to consist of a Dark Grey Coat trimmed with Grey fur, Grey fur cap with black leather peak and long boots or knickerbockers reaching to the knee. The remainder of the Uniform being similar (in theory) to that worn by Officers of other Rifle Regiments.[2]


14 March 1863 – The Special Designation of “Queen’s Own Rifles” conferred – See letter under: Adjutant Generals Office.[2]

14 March 1863 (Quebec) –  Letter:

Sir, With reference to my letter to you of the 11st Just. I am now desired by HG The Commander-in-Chief to acquaint you that Her Majesty has been pleased to approve of the 2nd Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles of Toronto being designated in future the “Queen’s Own Rifles” of Toronto.

I have the honour to be

(Sa) A de Salaberry Lieu Col

Lieu Col Durie Dept Aj Lieut Leich


25 May 1863 – “The companies belonging to the battalion will parade in their usual regimental uniforms, including shakos with the green ball.”[1] p.49

QOR officer with dog
QOR Officer with Shako and green ball – QOR Museum

25 May 1863 – At a meeting of Officers on this day. The following letter was read Sanctioning the Standing Orders of the Battalion.

Adjutant Generals Office

Quebec 1st May


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28 just last enclosing the standing orders of the Volunteer battalion under your command, which I now beg to return duly approved, by order of His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief subject to the provisions of the Militia Law.

With reference to the emblem or device enclosed in the said communication. I am to draw your attention to the General Orders of 10 March last, by which you will perceive that the designation granted to your Battalions is that of the “Queen’s Own Rifles” of Toronto.

I have the honour to be

(Sa) A de Salaberry Lieu Col

Lieu Col Durie Dept Aj Lieut Leich


10 October 1863 – At a meeting of Officers held this day it was “resolved” that the Caps worn as a portiore of the mister Uniform of the Officer’s shall be in future without “Peaks”.[2]


12 May 1864 – Resolved that officers of the battalion provide themselves with Patrol Jackets and Forage Caps[1] p.50, [2]


19 May 1865 – The following order was issued: –

“The Commanding Officer calls the attention of the NCO’s and men to the fact that the habit indulged in by some of them of wearing shirt collars on parade has the effect of giving them anything but a soldierlike appearance, and trusts that for the credit of the battalion the practice will in future be discontinued. Stocks of patent leather or other black material suitable for the purpose should invariably be worn when tunics are used. Or, in case the collar of the tunic should not admit of the stock being worn under it, a piece of black leather should be sewn on the underside of the front of the collar, so as to cover the opening in the front of the throat. But in no case shall any shirt collar be worn…

…The proper regulation chevrons for the non-commissioned officers of the QOR are as follows, and will be worn on both arms: For corporals, two black stripes on a red ground, for sergeants, three black stripes on a red ground; for colour sergeants, the colours worked in gold with one fold stripe beneath on the right arm, and three black stripes similar to those worn by sergeants on the left arm; for staff sergeants, three gold stripes. The quarter master sergeant will wear four gold stripes. The sergeant major will wear four gold stripes with a crown on each arm.”[1] p.51-52

Staff Sgt closeup
Colour Sgt June 2nd Stratford 1866 – QOR Museum

19 May 1865 – By Regimental Order of this date it was ordered that the Officers wear their undress Uniform on all occasions until otherwise specified.[1] p.51-52

11 September 1865 – A Regimental Order issued requiring the Sword belts of Officers to be worn under the Tunic in future.[2]


2 June 1866 – No. 5 Coy QOR were armed with Spencer repeating rifles.[1] p.61

8 October 1866 – “Gold chevrons worn by Staff Sergeants are abolished and replaced by black braid on a red background”[1] p.70

22 October 1866 – At the Quarterly meeting of Officers, held this day, it was resolved that the present Undress uniform was worn (Frock Coat & Grey Fur) be changed to a Black Cloth Patrol Jacket trimmed with Black fur, Black fur Cap, dress trousers and short leggings (Mounted Officers to wear Boots).[2]

1866 Sergeant Fenian Raids – QOR Museum Photo


21 February 1867 – “The old Enfield rifles and bayonets were returned to provincial stores at Toronto, previous to the issue of Spencer repeating rifles, 600 of which were received by the battalion on February 26th.

“On the last mentioned date a district order explained that as the issue of the Spencer rifles was only a temporary measure, pending receipt of breech-loaders, the Imperial Government would not sanction the marking of the arms.”[1] p.71

QOR 1866 Sgt right taken right after the Fenian Raids
QOR 1866 Sgt right taken right after the Fenian Raids – QOR Museum’s Photo
1866 days after the Fenian Raids - QOR Museum's Photo
1866 days after the Fenian Raids – QOR Museum’s Photo

3 April 1867 – At an officers meeting, held April 3rd, it was decided that a rolling collar on the patrol jacket replace the standing one previously worn, and that the facings on the collar of the same be discarded, also that the double stripe on the trousers of the officers be changed to a single two-inch stripe of mohair braid.[1] p.72

The officer commanding afterwards decided that the scarlet facing on the cuff of the jacket should not be worn in future.[2]

10 April 1867 – The battalion went in to summer uniform. The tunics of the NCOs and men were improved in appearance by the addition of a shoulder strap marked with the since familiar “2/Q.O.R..”[2]

1 May 1867 – Cloth forage caps were provided for the sergeants and band, and by a regimental order, the field officers and adjutant were ordered to dispense with the peaks on their forage caps. On the 10th a memorial from the officers asking to be allowed to dispense with the peaks on all forage caps, being presented to the officer commanding, their request was granted.[1] p.72

14 June 1867 – General Orders stated that arrangements had been made for the exchange of the Spencer rifles for Snider Enfield breech-loading rifles. The order continued: “The exchange will be made with the least possible delay, to effect which depots of these rifles and of ammunition for the same will be formed at Quebec, Montreal, Prescott, Kingston, Toronto and London, from whence district staff officers may draw to supply the corps win their several districts.”[1] p.72

22 October 1867 – At a meeting of officers, it was resolved that the winter uniform, then worn, (frock coat and gray fur, etc.) be changed to a black cloth patrol jacket, trimmed with black fur, black fur cap, dress trousers and short leggings.[2]

QOR officer in winter dress
QOR officer in winter dress – QOR Museum photo


16 Feb 1870 – Lt Col Durie inspected the great coats of the Regiment, with the to a new issue, and recommended the issue.[2]

4 July 1870 – Quarterly meeting of the Officers, at which it was decided that application be made to the Mil Dept for the issue of the “Glengarry” forge Cap in place of the present one. Also that a photograph group of the Officers of the Regiment be made by Dept ______ and haser.


6 June 1871 – “Just before going into camp, Glengarry caps were issued in place of forage caps.”[2]


3 April 1872 – At the quarterly meeting of the officers, it was decided on motion of Major Otter that the Officers provide themselves with a green serge patrol jacket and trousers for drill purposes.[2]

20 April 1872 – An issue of 585 Serge tunics and trousers (less 200 trousers issued last year) was made by the militia department to the Regiment, to serve for three years.[2]


26 May 1875 – An issue of 450 Suits of Serge Clothing (Canadian Manufacture) received.[2]

6 October 1875 – At the Quarterly meeting of Officers it was decided that the Maltese Cross in the Centre of the Officers and Sergt Crossbelt be changed from Silver to Black enamel in the former and from Bronze to Scarlet enamel in the latter, application to be made to the Militia Department to have these changes gazetted – this application through made was not conceded until 7 Feb & 14 March 1879, where the badge and motto were also gazetted, the change in the cross was however acted inform immediately.[2]

27 October 1875 – An issue of the new pattern headdress for Rifles, is the Busby was furnished by the officers to the band, also Cloth Tunics procured for these from Government.[2]

18 October 1876 – The Committee appointed in January last to revise the uniform, reported this day, recommending that the Officers Uniform Shall consist of:

Full Dress Tunic & Busby

Mep Do Shell Jacket

Drill Do Serge Patrol

The Greatcoat not yet decided on.

These changes having received the Santion of the Major General Commanding were assented to by the Officers.[2]


28 November 1876 – A large proportion of the Accoutrements of the Regiment condemned by the DCG as unit for use.[2]


20 January 1877 – The Officers determined upon adopting as a watcoat, the Watch coat of dark grey cloth now worn in due service.[2]

22 February 1877 – An issue of 550 new Scout Snider Rifles (5 groves and steel barrels) made to the Regiment in exchange for the long Snider, also Accoutrements (Black) Second Hand, sufficient to make up the establishment in place of those condemned.[2]

18 July 1877 – At an Officers Meeting held today, the Busby was fisced upon as the full Headdress of the Regiment.[2]

July 1877 – The smart rifle busby was adopted as the full dress head dress of the regiment. A complete new issue of clothing was made during the autumn.[1] p.83

Buchan, Adjt
Capt. Buchan, Adjt new busby – QOR museum photo

1 October 1877 – An issue of new Cloth Tunics made to the Regiment (the first since 1867) also new Serge trousers. The tunics were altered at the expense of Companies, by a piece of broad black braid on the collar and letters Q.O.R. on the shoulder straps.[2]

1 November 1877 – The Busbys just received from England issued to Regiment.[2]


7 February 1878 – The following appeared in general orders:

2nd Battalion The Queen’s Own Rifles, Toronto.

Special Badge and Device authorized. The badge and device of the battalion shall be a maple leaf (in silver for officers and bronze for NCO’s and men) on which a scroll or garter clasped with a buckle and bearing the legend, “Queen’s Own Rifles” and the motto “In pace paratus” encircling the figure “2” and surmounted by the Imperial Crown.

1863 shako plate officer 2
Officers Shako Plate – Bob Dunk’s Collection

Cross belt ornaments – A lion’s head, chain and whistle in silver, with a centre ornament, which shall be on a silver plate between two wreaths of maple leaves (silver), conjoined at the base, encircling a Maltese cross of black enamel fimbriated, between the arms of the cross four lioncels (silver) passant gardant, charged upon the cross a plate of black enamel inscribed with the figure “2,” with a border also of black enamel and fimbricated, inscribed with the words, “Queen’s Own Rifles.” Over all the Imperial Crown, in silver, resting upon a supporting tablet of the same.[2]

7 Feb 1878 –  No.1 General Orders, with reference to the “cross belt ornaments” those of the sergeants shall be of bronze of the pattern therein described, substituting a scarlet enamel cross for the black, and a scarlet enamel tablet under the Crown.[2]

7 December 1878 – An issue of 500 new pattern (danberry) Greatcoats was received.[2]

7 December 1878 – With a new encouraging long needed term good service, a system of granting badges for 3, 6 and 9 year Service was inaugurated on the 27th August, and the first distribution was made on the 9th October.[2]


1 May 1879 – Short leggings adopted by the Regiment, the cost being force by the Officers and men, 85 cents per pair.[2]


26 January 1882 – Annual meeting of Officers in the Leature Room, at which the principal business done was the determination to abandon the use of the Glengarry as a forage cap the new Field Service Cap was decided on.[2]

QOR Sgt during the Northwest Rebellion 1885 – QOR Museum Photo


Adoption of White Pith Helmets for parade.


The Badge of the Regiment changes. This shall be a Maple Leaf, on which is a scroll or garter clasped with a buckle bearing the legend, “Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada,” and the Motto, “In Pace Paratus,” encircling the figure “2,” and surmounted by the Imperial Crown. The Cap badge was still Bronze (Black) for Rifleman and Silver for Officers.


The Government decides to follow the changes that were being done in England these changes were; The collar same material as the body and not in scarlet but with a narrow red braid around the base of the collar, a narrow black braid also added to the cuffs and with 7 small Black Canada Militia buttons down the front, 2 on each chest pocket and two on each cuff as this was an open cuff.


Members of the First South Africa Contingent from the Regiment issued with two types of Jackets: a blue serge frock, and a foreign service jacket. The Canadian Pattern Foreign Service jacket was made of light brown canvas, and although reported to be hard wearing, it was stiff and caused excessive chaffing. After successive washing it became almost white (SP 35a, 1901, Supplementary Report, Report A, p 13). The other ranks’ jacket had a stand collar, breast pockets with box pleats and single point flap which fastened with small buttons. The tops of the breast pockets were situated mid-way between the 2nd and 3rd buttons. There were no exterior lower front pockets. The shoulder straps were of the same material and colour as the jacket and the cuffs were pointed. The jacket fastened with five small buttons. Brass belt support hooks were located at each side of the waist, and small pockets were situated on the inside corners of the front opening for a field dressing (right) and an identity card (left). The identity card pocket contained Army Form B 2067, Description Card for Active Service, on which was written the soldier’s number, rank, name, next-of-kin and their address. The card was made of glazed calico and the pocket was sewn shut (1.7). The Royal Canadian Regiment later received drab wool Foreign Service uniforms of the British 1899 Pattern.

Member of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment of History – QOR Museum Photo


Prior to the departure of the QOR contingent to England the Government outfitted the Regiment in a  new “QOR Special” Khaki wool uniform. The construction of this tunic had a stiff rifle green collar with scarlet braiding at the base, seven small silver buttons that had a blacken tinge to them, two on the upper pockets yet none on the bottom slack pockets and rifle green epaulettes with scarlet trim around the edge and which had brass QOR title. The use of normal QOR rank with Black Braid on Red was not used but the regular White braid on Khaki was as well as the standard QOR collar dogs on the collar. 1905 model Khaki high wasted pants were worn with Puttees wrapped around the calf and ankles. At this time Oliver Pattern Webbing was used as well the Canadian made Ross Rifle 1905 model and bayonet. This was in use by the Regiment up until the out break of world war one which saw the uniforms used until Valcartier and replaced before shipping to England with the 3rd Battalion CEF. The headdress of the time was the new model 1905 Khaki Service dress peaked cap . The overall construction of the cap is made out of a Khaki Wool including the peak. As with Rifle Regiment tradition a Wool Green band and Red braid on the upper and lower portion was added around the upper part of the base of the headdress. The Regimental Cap Badge would be fixed centre of the Peaked cap.


The Regiments contingent to the Canadian Expeditionary Force upon leaving University Armouries wore the QOR Special Khaki uniform. But upon formalizing the 3rd Battalion CEF they were replaced with a generic 7 Button khaki tunics. This is what they went overseas with and worn unit the adoption of Battle Dress.

Rifleman at Valcartier 1914 – QOR Museum Photo


83rd Battalion CEF wore a new distinctive cap badge. The Battalions badge was a Maple leaf, with a scroll or garter clasped with a buckle, with the writing “Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada,” and with “Overseas battalion,” encircling a number 83, with an imperial crown on top. There were no distinctions between Officers and men with it being of blacken bronze.

83rd Battalion CEF Cap Badge – QOR Museum Photo
83rd Uniform – QOR Museum Photo

95th Battalion CEF wore a similar cap badge to the 83rd CEF. Badge is a Maple Leaf, with a scroll, with the writing “Nunquam Dormimus,” and with “Canada Overseas,” encircling a number 95.  there were no distinctions between Officers and men with it being of a bronze.

95th Battalion CEF Cap badge – QOR Museum photo
95th Uniform – QOR Museum Photo


Winter 1916, 166th Battalion CEF was raised, the Battalions cap badge was the distinctive Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada cap badge. The differences was instead of a numeral “2,” the numeral was “166,” and no unit moto but “Overseas battalion.” The Enlisted wore a bronze and the Officers a gun metal versions.

166th Battalion CEF Cap Badge – QOR Museum Photo
166th Battalion CEF Uniform – QOR Museum Photo


198th Battalion CEF the battalion was known as the “Canadian Buffs.” The first cap badge that was worn by the battalion was a Maple leaf with numeral “198,” and with “Overseas Battalion” surrounding on a band around the numeral, and with “Canadian Buffs” below the word Battalion. The Officers of the Battalion wore a more distinct cap badge which consisted of the Welsh Dragon, wording “Canadian Buffs” on a ribbon, with a maple leaf wreath, with the imperial crown affixed to the top of the badge. Up on reaching England the Battalion adopted the Welsh dragon cap badge of The Buffs Regiment in England for the enlisted men.

198th Battalion CEF First cap Badge – QOR Museum Photo
198th Battalion CEF Second Version – QOR Museum photo
198th Battalion CEF Uniform – QOR Museum Photo

255th Battalion CEF the Battalions cap badge was the distinctive cap badge of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada cap badge. The differences was similar to the 166th CEF with instead of numeral “2,” the numeral “255,” was used and instead of the unit moto the words “Overseas Battalion.” The enlisted men wore a bronze version and the officers had a gun metal badge.

255th Battalion CEF Cap Badge – QOR Museum photo
255th Battalion CEF Uniforms – QOR Museum Photos


With the end of hostilities after the First World War the CEF battalions were disbanded and the CEF Battalion’s that the QOR perpetuated turned back into the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the readopting of the Queen’s Own cap badge. This badge had changed for all ranks Officers and Rifleman to wear a White metal cap badge with the Officers wearing a Silver badge. The cap badge is similar to the pre 1910 cap badge but instead of measuring 6.5mm the cap badge shrank to a smaller badge measuring 5.3mm when worn in field dress. The cap badge worn with Full dress has not changed since pre war with Bronze for Rifleman with scarlet backing behind the numeral and the Officers cadge more gunmetal with the fibers of the leaves and numeral relived with silver with scarlet backing behind the numeral.

3rd Battalion Corporal 3rd Battalion CEF – QOR Museum Photo


Upon Mobilization the adoption of Battledress was conducted.

Rifleman in Newfoundland 1940 – QOR Museum Photo

6 June 1944 



Germany 1950s – QOR Museum Photo


Exercise in Canada 1960s – QOR Museum Photo
Cyprus 1865 – QOR Museum Photo
1984 Canada – QOR Museum Photo
Exercise in CFB Meaford 1990s – QOR Museum Photo


1. Chambers, Ernest J. 1901. The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada: history of a splendid regiment’s origin, development and services, including a story of patriotic duties well performed in three campaigns. Toronto: E.L. Ruddy.
2. Regimental Diary 1860-1895 – City of Toronto Archive

See Also:

1880 RSOs – Regimental Standing Orders 1880

1894 RSOs Regimental Standing Orders 1894

1925 RSOs – Regimental Standing Orders 1925

1940-1943 RSOs – Regimental Standing Orders 1940-1943

D-Day 6 June 1944D-Day Rifleman’s Uniform

Enlisted Uniforms QOR WWIIEnlisted Uniforms

Evolution of Enlisted Tunics – Enlisted Tunics

Evolution of Cap Badges – The QOR of C Cap Badge Evolution

See also:

2 thoughts on “Timeline: Uniforms”

  1. good morning . does anyone there have access to platoon photos from 1965 , i am looking for 132 platoon from 1965 currie barracks,or individual potos that they took when we signed up , are they out there?? vhart408@msn.com. thanks


    1. Hello Victor, not sure if you’re still interested but we do have a photo of 132 Platoon at the Depot at this link:
      00555.18 - 132 Platoon


We welcome your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

%d bloggers like this: