Royal Canadian Navy Regulating Branch
And Naval Police

Ratings' Uniforms
1910 - 1945

Class II Uniform
"Square Rig"

DND Photo

The Class II Uniform consisted of a jumper and bellbottom trousers with the navy flat cap. The image above is of a young RCNVR seaman circa the mid 1920s. He is wearing an early pattern cap with RCNVR cap ribbon, blue serge jumper and blue collar with three white "wavy navy" tapes.
Of interest are the 3/4 inch embroidered "V" badges on his cuffs, indicating Volunteer status. These were introduced into British service in 1923, evidently Canada also adopted the practice.
With the exception of the cap ribbon and "V" badges, this uniform is identical to that worn throughout the First World War.


The normal cap worn in Class II Rig was the well known flat cap made of blue cloth. It was always worn with the appropriate cap ribbon. Removable khaki, oilskin or white cap covers were provided, and worn according to local dress instructions. Sennet hats were introduced into Royal Navy Service in the late 1800's and were worn by the Canadian Navy until the mid 1920's. They provided a great deal more protection from the sun and rain than the flat cap and were very popular. Sennet hats were also worn by officers, especially on Naval landing parties.

This blue cloth cap is the primary pattern worn in Class II Rig from the late 1920s until Unification. It stands about 1 inch higher than the pattern of cap worn during the First World War. It was fitted with a blue cloth chinstay (not illustrated)that was folded inside the rim when not in wear. According to dress instructions it was to be worn centered evenly on the head with the ribbon name centered. Period photographs often show the cap being worn "flat aback" or tilted on the back of the head.

Closeup view of the bowtie securing the cap ribbon. Sailors, being above ordinary mortals, found inventive ways to tie their cap ribbons and yet stay within the letter of dress regulations. One very popular method during the Second World War was to tie the regular bow, then spread out and iron the ends into an upswept teardrop pattern. Naval lore also mentions that some sailors placed a dime in the center of the bowtie in order to have emergency beer money or tram fare.

Interior view of the cap showing the maker's stamp and cloth chinstay.

Sennet Hat

The Sennet Hat was introduced into Royal Navy Service in the mid 1800s and was adopted by the RCN in 1910. It was made of woven sennet (a type of straw)and the edges were bound with blue cloth tape. The Sennet Hat was made obsolete in the 1920s and was replaced by a sun helmet.

Blue Serge Jumper

The blue serge jumper was a close fitting garment that extended to 3 inches below the hips. There was an inside pocket made of denim or cotton drill on the left breast. There were two black buttons on each cuff, the cuffs were lined on the inside with cotton drill.

View of the jumper back showing the attached collar.

Closeup view of the front, showing the collar and stitching details.

Detail of the NAVAL property stamp on the inside of the jumper.

Flannels and Dickys


The flannel was a short sleeve wool shirt. It was usually cut for a very close fit and sometimes the sides were slit for ease of dressing. It was bound around the top with 1/2 inch blue denim.

Closeup showing the collar detail.

Blue Jersey dicky worn in place of a flannel.

Very Tiddly, a private purchase silk shirt dicky. Worn only off duty.

Blue Collar

A number of different patterns of blue denim collars were issued. These were buttoned or tied inside the jumper, with only the back and a few inches of the sides showing. As the blue tended to fade with age, some sailors would wash and rewash their collars to give the impression of long service.


The collar worn by RNCVR and RCNVR ratings from the First World War until the mid 1920s had 3 wavy tapes. Although this pattern of tape was declared obsolete in 1923, the collars continued in wear for a number of years.


Typical collar worn by RCN ratings from 1910 to the 1950s. This pattern was also worn by RCNVR ratings as of the early 1920s.

Silk Handkerchief


A long black silk handkerchief was worn as a necktie. The ends were joined by sewing or pinning into a loop, the join was concealed under the collar and the loop in front, known as the "bight" was secured by the two black tapes on the front of the jumper. For dress occasions the knot was tied in a bowtie, for duty, in a sailor's knot. The end of the illustrated handkerchief has been fanned out to show the folds. Note the white NAVAL stamp near the edge.

Blue Serge Trousers


Blue wool serge trousers were worn with the blue jumper. The trousers were a 4 button fall front pattern, the waist area was lined with denim. Note that in the Class II Uniform the trouser creases are at the sides.


Closeup view of the trousers illustrating the fall front and buttons.


Closeup of the manufacture's label and the "NAVAL" property stamp. This stamp indicated that the article of clothing was Canadian Navy property and conformed to Navy standards.

Web Gaiters

Gaiters or leggings were worn on guard and patrol duties and on some occasions, for training and parades. They were worn by all ratings up to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Gaiters were made of a khaki coloured web material and were secured by two brass tabbed buckles and a length of thin cord fashioned into loops. Gaiters were whitenened or left in the original khaki colour subject to local dress instructions. Similar gaiters made of blackened leather were worn by Officers in some orders of working uniform.

Gaiters were issued in left and right pairs. The buckled edge was worn on the outside of the leg, buckles facing the rear.

Typical Canadian manufacturer's markings.

White Duck Working Uniform

An example of Dress No.6, worn in hot climates. It consists of the duck working uniform jumper with blue RNCVR collar, silk handkerchief, and knife lanyard.

Duck trousers were made of a medium weight canvas and were a 4 button fall front, similar in pattern to the blue serge trousers.

Closeup view of the trousers illustrating the fall front and buttons.

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