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Old 03-12-16, 10:53 PM
zorgon's Avatar
zorgon zorgon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 219
Default Yukon WWII era RCAF jacket patches by Crest Craft

One of the finest examples of the patch-maker’s art has to be those manufactured by Crest Craft of Saskatoon with the Golden age of his products being in the 1940’s and 50’s. Representative of the high quality of this Maker are a series of crests fabricated for RCAF units which were involved on the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway during and after WWII. Typical of Gus Werle’s crests at Crest Craft, were the multi-layered, multi-coloured felt designs which were hand stitched by his select team of seamstresses. Variations in the colour of the felt, stitching and hand shading (typically seen on areas of white felt, such as on the mountains), are apparent in two of the illustrated examples below and confirm these crests were individually hand made. Apparently Gus was very strict in his final selection of patches and any items not meeting his high standards were rejected. The consistency between the patches is quite amazing really.

From on-line reading, I have gleaned the following:
The RCAF took over operations of the Northwest Staging Route from the DoT in 1942 and retained control until handed over to Northwest Air Command in 1944. The Operations center for the Yukon was located at Whitehorse with detachments initially located at Teslin, Aishihik, and Snag; later to be followed by Watson Lake in 1946. Aircraft routinely flown into these bases included Expeditors and Dakotas.

According to Steven Scriver, the back-stamp illustrated below was one of the more commonly used Maker’s Mark’s found on Gus’ crests during this period and dates all of these Crests to between 1943 and 1955. If one comes across used or washed crests, it is often found that the water soluble ink stamps are faded or not visible at all. One occasionally will find even new, unused crests which are missing the stamp or label but are still clearly manufactured by Crest Craft. In addition, one can find examples where the initial backing whether it is paper, cheesecloth or lighter woven material has fallen away and the stitching on the background felt is visible. These particular patches each measure about 6" across.

A photo (dated 1946) of my father at Watson Lake is included below where he is sporting a No. 15 SFTS shirt that he must have picked up during his training stint at Claresholm, Alberta. As I recall, I have another period photo somewhere where the famous Watson Lake Sign Post was only on a single pole; compared to the 72,000+ signs now, sigh…

Wayne Logus
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aishihik.jpg (75.9 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg Snag pair.jpg (56.3 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Watson Lake.jpg (72.5 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Teslin pair.jpg (49.0 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Crest Craft back-stamp.jpg (66.5 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Whitehorse.jpg (72.3 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 1946, John Logus, Watson Lake.jpg (103.1 KB, 32 views)
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crest craft, patch, rcaf, wwii, yukon

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