Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps, First Canadian Army, North West Europe, 1944-1945

Canadian Army Pay Corps, First Canadian Army

During the Second World War, the RCAPC provided overseas a Chief Paymaster, Command Pay Office, Paymasters Canadian Troops, eight field cash offices, and a number of unit paymasters, as well as pay services for base units and formations in Canada. The advance party sent to the UK to establish Canadian Military Headquarters in London in Nov 1939 included three officers and two other ranks of the RCAPC. Six officers and 25 other ranks travelled with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division the next month as part of the First Flight. By 1945, the RCAPC establishment overseas included approximately 65 officers and 225 other ranks, with 425 paymasters in addition. Unit pay Sergeants were not members of the RCAPC at that time.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3224896)

Canadian Army soldiers in Germany receiving their pay in German marks, 9 July 1945.

Managing the pay and allowances for army personnel was the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps (R.C.A.P.C.). The Corps was authorized in 1907, and granted the Royal designation for service in the First World War. Responsibilities included the administration of pay for personnel both overseas and in Canada during the Second World War. In the post-war army the RCAPC continued with these duties, for both the reserves and the regular army, in Canada and on deployments.

The R.C.A.P.C. was unique among army corps. Purely administrative in nature, it provided the Chief Paymaster, Command Pay Offices, Paymasters Canadian Troops, field cash offices, and unit paymasters overseas, and pay services for base units, formations and units in Canada. Similar duties continued after the war, with the R.C.A.P.C. providing pay services for the regular army and reserves. With a small establishment spread throughout the army, the need for Corps insignia was essential. Unique titles and formation signs were authorized to identify R.C.A.P.C. personnel and foster Corps esprit.

Personnel of the R.C.A.P.C. had proceeded overseas with 1 Canadian Division in 1939, and as the overseas Canadian contingent expanded, the number of Pay Corps personnel grew. In the fall of 1940, the decision to adopt cloth insignia for the Canadian army overseas immediately affected the Pay Corps. Routine Order 450 1 (c) stipulated that “Corps Troops (other than MG battalions) – (wear a) Diamond in colours of respective Corps and Services”.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.

Accounts Department CMHQ January 1942.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583136)

Cpl Franklin M., Pay Accounts, 1 February 1944.

RCAF Pay Department

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583518)

Pay and Accounts Section, Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 26 September 1944.

RCN Pay Department

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3334295)

Lieutenant A.D. Stanley, the Accounts Officer of the destroyer HMCS Algonquin, plotting on a chart, April 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583525)

Pay and Accounts staff group, 29 September 1944.

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