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Category: Colour patches

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Dimensions of Colour Patches

The following section is intended as a guide to the dimensions of the various shapes allotted to units and formations between 1915 and 1946. It should be noted that anomalies in size exist, primarily as a result of manufacturing differences. External measurements include the grey background of 1/4 inch all round approved for the Second AIF in 1939.
On 6.5.1942, the Adjutant-General directed that all square colour patches currently on order should be reduced to I and 1/2 inch square in size, and that these dimensions should govern all future supplies to facilitate production and reduce wastage. Minute, Adjutant-General, dated 6.5.1942, to the MGO. AA(Vic): CRS B1540, item 36/702.

A grey background of 3/16th inch wide would be added where necessary for AIF personnel. Contrary to popular belief this reduction in size affected very few other existing shapes, and then only for certain new designs approved after May 1942.

Stocks of colour patches already held at this point continued to be issued as required, and maintenance stocks were manufactured to the original dimensions. The depiction in MGO Branch Line Drawings of all pre 1942 colour patches for CMF units and formations in reduced sizes is incorrect.

Deviations from the approved size, or unusual sizes, are included in the text relating to each colour patch.

i) Standard oblong, 1915-1946. Superseded (xxv) from 1917. Some post 1942 examples were reduced to 2 inches by I inch.

(ii) Standard ellipse, 1916-1946. Some new designs were approved as 2 and 1/2 inches by I inch from mid 1942.

(iii) Standard diamond, 1915-1946.
(iv) Standard equilateral triangle, 1916-1948. At least three new designs approved during 1943 are shown as I and 5/8th inch equilateral triangles in full size draft GRO drawings.

(v) Standard circle, 1916-1946.
(vi) Standard square, 1916-1946.
(vii) 3rd Aust. Army Tank Brigade, 1942-1944. Size shown in GRO drafts, although actual examples can measure from 2 and 1/2 inches long and I and 1/2 inches high.

(viii) 1st Aust. Armoured Division, 1941-1945.
(ix) 3rd Aust. Armoured Division, 1943-1945.
(x) 4th Aust. Armoured Brigade, 1943-1946.
(xi) 2nd Aust. Motor Division, 1942-1943.
(xii) Standard square, 1942-1949. It should be noted that many CCF supplied examples will measure I and 3/4 inches square.

(xiii) I Corps Signals and RAE(M) Non-divisional units, 1928-1942.
(xiv) 11 Corps Signals, 1928-1940.
(xv) 9th Aust. Division, 1942-1946.
(xvi) Independent Companies and Commando units, 1942-1946.
(xvii) Chemical Warfare and Docks units, 1943-1945.

(xviii) Dental and Independent Signals Group, 1942-1945.

(xix) Standard arm of service shape, 1944-1949.
(xx) RAE line of communication units, 1942-1945.
(xxi) Mining and tunnelling engineer units, 1916-1919.
(xxii) Ammunition parks and sub-parks, 1916-1919.

(xxiii) AFC and Topographical Section, 1917-1919.
(xxiv) Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company, 1917-1919.
(xxv) 1st Aust. Division, 1915-1917.
(xxvi) HQ 4th Light Horse Brigade, Camel Battalions and Casualty Clearing Stations, 1917-1919.
(xxvii) 1st Army Troops Company, 1917-1919.
(xxviii) Dental, 1918-1919 and Dental, 2nd AIF, 1940-1943.
(xxix) Machine Gun Corps, 1916-1919.
(xxx) 11th Aust. Division, 1943-1945.

Woven and embroidered colour patches: 

The dimensions of specific patches of this type of manufacture are; 

No's 246 and 250: 2 inches square
No. 1103: 2 inches square
No. 1104: 2 and 1/8th inches square
No. 1020: 3 inches square
No's 533, 534, 536: 2 and 11/16ths inches long and 1 and 5/16 inches high.
No's 532 and 537: Between selvedge: 3 and 1/8th inches long and 1 and 3/8th inches high
No. 673: between selvedge: 2 inches square
No's 1675, 1678: Average 2 and 1/8th inches wide and 2 and 3/8th inches high
No's 1676, 1677: 2 inches high and 2 inches wide vide MBI 16/1946 in practice however height is approximately 2 and 3/8th inches.

The material on this section of the site is drawn from "Distinguishing Colour Patches of the Australian Military Forces 1915-1951" by Keith Glyde. ISBN 0-6460-36640-8  


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