New Canadian Army insignia unveiled! November 9, 2013Posted by J. Hawkes in Military, News.
Tags: Great War, Military
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The new Canadian Army insignia is unveiled. This involves a return to the pre-1968 military unification style of the military in a number of ways. See the details in the link.
Famous Kitchener poster from the Great War a ‘myth’ August 13, 2013Posted by J. Hawkes in Art, Military.
Tags: British Empire, Great War, Kitchener
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It seems that the famous poster of Lord Kitchener, pointing at you and saying that ‘your country needs you’ which has inspired countless imitation by so many others (particularily the American’s Uncle Sam) is actually a myth as it was not a poster but a magazine cover.
“In his new book, Your Country Needs You, Mr Taylor traced the picture back to its origins, on 5th September 1914, barely a month after the start of the war.
On that day, the image was used on the front cover of the popular magazine London Opinion, beneath the masthead, and alongside two promotional offers: “This paper insures you for £1,000” and “50 photographs of YOU for a shilling”.
It had been designed by Alfred Leete, a graphic artist, who had adapted a portrait of Kitchener to give him the distinctive pointing finger. The slogan was adapted from the official call to arms, which said: “Your King and Country Need You”.
In a subsequent edition, a week later, the magazine, which had a circulation of almost 300,000, said readers would be able to buy postcards of the image for 1s. 4d for 100.
Despite this, Mr Taylor has not been able to track down any surviving examples in public or private collections. He is now offering a £100 reward for anyone who can find the first.
Mr Taylor, who will present his research at an event at the National Army Museum, west London, next month, found that the original artwork for the magazine was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1917 and was mistakenly catalogued as part of the poster collection, contributing to later misunderstanding about its use.
“There has been a mass, collective misrecollection. The image’s influence now is absolutely out of all kilter with the reality of its initial impact. It has taken on a new kind of life. It is such a good image and saying that it was later seized upon. Some many historians and books have used it and kept repeating how influential it was, that people have come to accept it…””
Mr Taylor’s book shows how the Kitchener image did inspire similar posters, which were used, including one, which was produced by LO, with the word BRITONS, above the same picture of the Field Marshal pointing, with the words “wants YOU – Join Your Country’s Army!”, beneath, and the words ‘God Save The King’ printed along the bottom.
However, Mr Taylor said there was no evidence the poster was particularly popular or a dominant design of the war, as some historians have claimed.
The only occasion in which the image and the wording did appear in poster form was an elaborate design, when the words and picture appear, in a smaller scale, below five flags and surrounded by details or rates of pay and other information, including the additional slogan – “Your Country is Still Calling. Fighting Men! Fall In!!”. The effect is very different from the image of popular imagination and again, Mr Taylor found no evidence it was particularly widespread or popular at the time.
He found that the most popular poster of the era, in terms of numbers produced, did feature Kitchener, but without the pointing finger and featuring a 30-word extract from a speech he had made.”
Mr. Taylor’s new book Your Country Needs You does sound fascinating. But then I quite like First World War poster design, although most of them had far too much text, the reduction of ‘chattyness’ was a definite improvement in Second World War poster art, although I personally feel that the Canadian posters of the Second World War were far too standardised and government controlled, generally lacking in the vitality of First World War posters.
Restoration of RCAF Traditions July 20, 2013Posted by J. Hawkes in Military, News.
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As I noted in a previous post the Canadian Army is reviving various traditions including the Pips and Crown which are integral to our military heritage. It seems that there is a possibility of doing so for the Royal Canadian Air Force as well…
According to Peter MacKay: “We’re looking at a number of ways in which we can continue to restore historic symbols, ranks, insignia that respect the history of the Canadian Forces,” he said. “So specific to the Air Force ranks, we’ll look at it. this is consistent in keeping with what was stripped away and taken from the Canadian Forces in 1968 by a previous government”.
I definitely was not expecting this! I shall add further detail on this issue when I become aware of it.
Tags: Fenian Raids, Maple Leaf Forever, monarchy
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The tree that is said to have inspired Alexander Muir to write “The Maple Leaf Forever” which was long Canada’s unofficial anthem and is also the regimental march of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment. Muir had served in the Queen’s Own Rifles to defend Canada from the Fenian raids and fought in the Battle of Ridgeway.
Here is the song for those unfamiliar with it:
In days of yore, from Britain’s shore,
Wolfe, the dauntless hero, came And planted firm Britannia’s flag On Canada’s fair domain. Here may it wave, our boast our pride And, joined in love together, The lily, thistle, shamrock, rose entwine The Maple Leaf forever!
Chorus: The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear, The Maple Leaf forever! God save our Queen and Heaven bless The Maple Leaf forever!
At Queenston Heights and Lundy’s Lane, Our brave fathers, side by side, For freedom, homes and loved ones dear, Firmly stood and nobly died; And those dear rights which they maintained, We swear to yield them never! Our watchword evermore shall be “The Maple Leaf forever!”
Our fair Dominion now extends From Cape Race to Nootka Sound; May peace forever be our lot, And plenteous store abound: And may those ties of love be ours Which discord cannot sever, And flourish green o’er freedom’s home The Maple Leaf forever!
On merry England’s far famed land May kind heaven sweetly smile, God bless old Scotland evermore and Ireland’s Em’rald Isle! And swell the song both loud and long Till rocks and forest quiver! God save our Queen and Heaven bless The Maple Leaf forever!
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced today the Government of Canada’s intent to restore Canadian Army rank insignia, names and badges to their traditional forms.
“Our Government is committed to honouring the traditions and history of the Canadian Army,” said Minister MacKay. “The restoration of these historical features will encourage the esprit de corps of our soldiers and reinforce a rich military tradition that will continue to develop as they serve their country. Wherever I travel in Canada, these changes continue to be cherished in the hearts of our veterans.”
The changes include the re-introduction of divisional nomenclature and patches for the current Land Force Areas; traditional rank insignia for officers; corps shoulder titles from the restoration of Royal titles to a number of Canadian Army corps in April 2013; and the Canadian Army’s secondary badge. Further, the Minister of National Defence announced the intention to restore the historical Army rank names for non-commissioned members.
“The restoration of these features is a significant step in the restoration of the Canadian Army’s traditions,” said Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, Commander of the Canadian Army. “Symbols and traditions establish links to soldiers’ heritage, and are important. It is very significant that our non-commissioned members have the prospect of being able to bear the same ranks as their forbearers, and our officers will proudly wear the same insignia worn by Canadians who fought in the First and Second World Wars and Korea.”
These restorations are the next step in the phased approach that began in August 2011, [personally, I would say it began in 2010 with the restoration of the Elliot’s Eye for sailors as part of the Naval Centennial] when the historical name of the Canadian Army was restored. Stemming from this initial restoration, and in line with historical lineage, the Canadian Army’s secondary badge will be reinstated, and the Land Force Areas will be renamed under division names, with division patches introduced accordingly.
Additionally, following from the restoration of traditional titles to a number of Canadian Army corps, shoulder titles for members of these corps will be restored. The intent is also to restore historical rank names for non-commissioned members, the traditional and internationally recognized convention of army insignia of stars and crowns for officers, and gorget patches for colonels and general officers.
(below from the DND/CF backgrounder):
When the Government of Canada announced that it was reinstating the historical name of the Canadian Army in August 2011, it restored an important part of the Canadian Army’s heritage. The restoration of traditions related to the historical identity of the Canadian Army appropriately reflects the re-designation of the institution.
The proposed changes include the re-introduction of divisional nomenclature and patches for the current Land Force Areas; traditional rank insignia for officers; corps shoulder titles following the restoration of traditional titles to a number of Canadian Army corps in April 2013; and the Canadian Army’s secondary badge. Further, the Minister of National Defence announced the intention to restore the historical Army rank names for non-commissioned members.
Divisional Nomenclature and Patches
Land Force Areas will be renamed as divisions and Canadian Army personnel will wear appropriate division patches. Formations will be renamed as follows:
- Land Force Quebec Area will be referred to as “2nd Canadian Division”;
- Land Force Western Area will be referred to as “3rd Canadian Division”;
- Land Force Central Area will be referred to as “4th Canadian Division”;
- Land Force Atlantic Area will be referred to as “5th Canadian Division”; and
- Land Force Doctrine and Training System will be referred to as “Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre”.
There will be no change to 1st Canadian Division Headquarters.
Corps Shoulder Titles
Following the restoration of the Canadian Army’s corps in April 2013, corps metal and cloth shoulder titles will be produced.
Army Rank Names
The historical rank names for non-commissioned members, which have long been used informally, are being considered for formalization, at which point they would change as follows:
- Privates of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps will be referred to as “Trooper”;
- Privates and corporals of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery will be referred to as “Gunner” and “Bombardier” respectively;
- Privates of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers will be referred to as “Sapper”;
- Privates of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals will be addressed as “Signaller”;
- Some Privates of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps will be referred to as “Fusilier,” “Rifleman” or “Guardsman”, depending on their type of unit; and
- Privates of the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers will be referred to as “Craftsman”.
In addition, the second lieutenants and warrant officers in Guards regiments will be addressed as “Ensign” and “Colour Sergeant”, respectively.
Traditional Insignia for Officers
In line with the formalization of historical rank names for non-commissioned members, the traditional army officer rank insignia – with the stars, or “pips,” and crowns – are being restored. This ranking system is more than a hundred years old and continues to be used by armies the world over. Historically, the variations of the stars and crown were used to delineate rank so that officers could recognize each other on the battlefield. Canadian Army colonels and general officers will also wear the traditional gorget patches.
Canadian Army Secondary Badge
The new Canadian Army secondary badge is based on the historical Canadian Army badge used during and after the Second World War. It features the crossed swords, overlaid by three maple leaves conjoined on one stem. A crown is placed atop the maple leaves. The secondary badge will be displayed on the Canadian Army ensign and pocket badge.
(News release from the DND)