Historical Features of the Canadian Army Restored

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Article / July 8, 2013 / Project number: 13-044

Halifax, Nova Scotia — The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced today at the Citadel National Historic Site in Halifax, Nova Scotia the Government of Canada’s intent to restore several features of the Canadian Army’s (CA) heritage.

The announcement is part of the restoration process begun in August 2011 and will honour the history of the Canadian Army.

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 forebearers, and our officers will proudly wear the same insignia worn by Canadians who fought in the First and Second World Wars and Korea.” 

The CA will rename Land Force Areas under division names and re-introduce divisional patches on uniforms. Additionally, following from the restoration of Royal titles to a number of Canadian Army corps in April 2013, shoulder titles for members of these corps will be restored. 

The restoration of the historical rank names for non-commissioned members is also being considered. Names that have been informally used – such as Sapper, Gunner, Trooper, and Bombardier – may again see formal use. At the same time, consideration is being given to restoring certain forms of address in the Guard regiments (i.e., Second Lieutenants may be referred to as Ensigns, and Warrant Officers may be referred to as Colour Sergeants).

The CA will also restore its army officer rank insignia to the traditional and internationally recognized convention of stars, or “pips,” and crowns. The reintroduction of the stars and crowns will strengthen interoperability abroad, given that so many of our allies have a similar or identical rank insignia.

Furthermore, Army colonel and general officers will resume wearing the traditional gorget patches on their shirts and jacket collars. Originally worn with a fastener to hold a protective device like armoured plates, they became a symbol of rank after armour of this type became obsolete.

The restoration of these features is a significant step in the return of the historical identity of the Canadian Army.