By 1937 the Regiment had 27 officers and 277 other ranks but only a year later, the strength was up to 34 officers and 297 other ranks. It seemed that bright young men wanted to be a part of this new tank technology. All we needed were tanks to train with, a common problem among the new tank regiments.
In this photo from the Windsor Daily Star, probably taken in 1937, show the troops in the old style uniform with the maple leaf cap badge.
Training consisted of marching and drill, field craft and the Vickers Machine Gun. Here is a photo from 1937 of the Regiment at Cedar Springs rifle range with the troops wearing the early militia summer dress with cowboy hats. A few of the boys are wearing the famous black beret.
This announcement from the Windsor Daily Star describes the uniform that would be worn by the new Tank Regiment.
Learning about the Vickers Machine Gun was an important part of the training regimen. In these photos from the Windsor Daily Star, the troops are wearing the old interwar years service dress uniform with the general service “Maple Leaf” badge. The small tank badges mentioned in the announcement has yet to be issued when this photo was taken.
In February and March of 1938, Captain Gordon Carrington-Smith, the second in command of the Tank School and an NCO, Quarter-Master Sergeant M.M. Philpott traveled to Windsor to conduct training at the armoury in tank tactics and machine gunnery.
In 1937 Lt Col Masson designed the new badges for the Regiment. Below is the original drawings for the new badges and the final product as issued to the troops. You’ll notice the motto of the Regiment on the collar badges, “SEMPER PARATUS” which means ALWAYS PREPARED. To the best of my knowledge, the button was never produced but if anyone has a sample, please contact me.
Below is the announcement of the new badges in the Windsor Daily Star and the first photo of the badges being worn in August of 1938, in this case, by the band.
A frosted silver officer’s badge with the red cloth as mentioned in the article above.
From the 26th of June to the 2nd of July, 1938, the Regiment attended the annual training camp at Pine Hill with the rest of the 1st Brigade, of which we were part. Below is a photo of Lt Col Masson with two other officers of the Regiment at the Pine Hill Camp. It is interesting to note that Lt Col Masson is wearing his old Essex Scottish Regiment cap badge on his black beret.
From 11th to the 23rd of July, 1938, 12 members of the Regiment attended Course #1 at the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle School in Borden, Ontario. Here they were introduced to the Carden-Loyd tracked carrier (Canada’s only armoured vehicle at the time) and to the mysteries of armoured warfare.
By 1939, the Regiment was wearing a small First World War style tank on the right sleeve of their uniforms to further distinguish themselves from other, non-tank units. In these photos, the tanks badge can be seen being worn during the Royal Visit Parade in Windsor on 6 June, 1939.
Close up look at the tank badges.
Below is a photo, taken in August of 1939 of Lt Col Masson and Major Gow, the Regiment second-in-command, with Col F. F. Worthington, Officer Commanding the C.A.F.V.S. and the man known as the Father of the Canadian Armoured Corps. It is interesting to note that “Worthy” is still wearing the collar badges of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, his home Regiment. He had served with the Motor Machine Gun Brigade during the Great War where he was introduced to mechanized warfare. Worthington was awarded the Military Cross, twice and the Military Medal, twice for bravery in the face of the enemy during the Great War, a true Canadian hero.