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Officer's Pattern Tunics
Originally introduced in 1902, the British officer's Service Dress (SD) tunic had shared some common features with the Other Ranks 1902 models, such as removable Corps shoulder straps piped in Corps colors and a stand and fall collar secured by a hook worn closed at the neck. However, officers were required to purchase their own uniforms and equipment so the officer's tailored tunics differed considerably from Other Ranks jackets in appearance and quality. Examples can be encountered in brushed cotton, wool, or khaki twill and are generally found with full silk lining including the sleeves.
The officer's Model 1902 tunic was fitted at the waist and carried an external waistband. Five large (23 mm) buttons secured the front opening. The upper patch pockets carried box pleats and the lower pockets were large bellows (expandable) pattern. Both upper and lower pockets were secured by scalloped flaps and 18 mm buttons. Rank was indicated on the Model 1902 officer's tunic through a series of vertical braiding and knots worn at the bottom of the sleeves. This method of rank indication was very short-lived, being replaced in November 1902 by a series of cuff rings and scallops made from worsted braid with embroidered rank pips and crowns.

By 1912 the closed collar had been replaced by an open collar with lapels requiring that officers were to wear a shirt and tie. After this time the front opening was closed with only four buttons.
Captain J.A.B. McClure
Killed in Action 21 Aug 1917
The Canadian Officer's Model 1903 Tunic

The system of rank for officers in the Canadian Permanent Force and those of the CEF were different and it is often a quagmire at best to decipher. Canada adopted the British officer's tunic in 1903, but rather than removable straps, the straps were sewn permanently into the shoulder seams and secured by small buttons. Corps piping was used. Rank was to be displayed on the shoulder straps with metal pips and crowns from 1903 onward, but strangely, the worsted braid cuff outline remained.

When the CEF mobilized in 1914, it was decided that CEF officers would wear rank on the cuffs in the British style. Permanent Force officers, however, continued to wear their rank on the straps as described above.
At some point during the war officers in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) started wearing their rank on their shoulder straps, possibly as experience proved this distinction made the officers a visible target, however, this is simply conjecture and probably "collector's myth" than anything. What is known, is that officers of the BEF were given the option of wearing their rank on the sleeves or shoulder straps in 1917, and the officers of the CEF followed suit. There is no evidence that I am aware of, that cuff rank was ordered removed during the war, as cuff ranking for officers was not officially abolished until 1920.

This photograph shows Lieutenant W. West, from the 31st Battalion, Calgary Alberta, wearing the 1912 pattern officer's tunic with cuff ranking and formation patches. This photo was taken in January 1919 which seems to contradict the commonly held belief that cuff ranking was ordered removed during the war. In fact, many photographs survive that show CEF officers in 1918 and 1919 wearing formation patches and cuff ranking.
A typical officer's Service Dress tunic worn by Captain William Campbell McQuad of the 26th Battalion, Saint John New Brunswick. The tunic is made of khaki twill with Captain's rank pips on the shoulder straps. Each shoulder carries an officer's pattern 2nd Canadian Division gold hand embroidered maple leaf on a 26th Battalion formation patch. The buttons are correct wartime brass 26th Battalion pattern.

As officer's tunics were tailored, it is not unusual to find cloth or paper labels with the name of the tailor, the city, and occasionally the owner.
This photograph shows an officer of the 10th Canadians from Calgary Alberta. It was taken later in the war, as he has been wounded twice and carries at least three overseas chevrons on his sleeve, indicating three years overseas after Jan 1915. Note that he does not have cuff ranking and wears his rank on his shoulder straps.
Based upon the multiple options for displaying ranks explained above, it is not unusual to find a period photo of officers wearing a combination of rank insignia: some will have the rank on the cuff, some on the shoulder straps with no cuff braiding, and some on the shoulder straps with cuff braiding.

This photo of the 78th Bn from Winnipeg Manitoba was taken in December 1919. All the officers carry formation patches on their shoulders. Two Captains are flanking the Commanding officer; one has cuff ranking and one has his rank on the shoulder straps. The same situation applies to the two Lieutenants on the ground; one has cuff ranking and one has his rank on the shoulder straps.
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