Osprey Men At Arms 359 - Canadian Forces in WWII

John Prigent

Men-at-Arms 359, Canadian Forces in World War II, by Rene Chartrand, illustrated by Ron Volstad, ISBN 1-84176-302-0, Osprey Publishing Ltd.

This is a very welcome book, with text by an acknowledged expert and plates by a master.  Both Rene Chartrand and Ron Volstad are so well known for quality that I shouldn't really need to say more!

However, the text looks first at the raising of the Canadian forces with the massive public response to the call for volunteers, a record to be proud of  -and women's response was equally magnificent, too!  Conscription and the public debate surrounding it is examined too, before a brief look at the Canadian Army's combat record and a chronology of its operations.

Next comes a chapter on Army unit organisation and the Home Service units, including the Veteran's Guard of Canada and the Pacific Coast Militia - the latter with a section on its uniforms, separate from the main treatment of uniforms which forms the remainder of the book.  Chapters cover the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, and the Women's Services. 

The text is succinct but clear, with tables of all the Army regiments and their service and of the regimental distinctions of the Highland regiments.  Alas, space did not allow the service of the RCAF and RCN to be similarly detailed.  There's an excellent selection of clear photographs of all services showing their dress, though not surprisingly the Army gets the lion's share. Ron Volstad's plates back up the photographs in admirable fashion, showing 15 Army figures, 3 Navy, 3 Air Force and 3 of from the Women's Services.

If I can be permitted a personal interjection, Rene Chartrand describes the greenish khaki summer battledress and mentions that the Canadian-made serge BD was sought after by British troops for its higher quality, but doesn't mention the colour difference between this an the British serge BD.  This was still sought after when I joined the British Regular Army in 1959, and in those days was definitely a greener shade of khaki than the British version - not much, but enough to notice.  Maybe this was an effect of age after 15 years in storage?

Be that as it may, this book is very highly recommended!