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Battle Honours and Colours question

vangemeren

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Theoretically, if a an infantry unit or armour unit is converted to an engineer or artillery unit, what happens to its colours and battle honours?
 

George Wallace

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As long as that Unit exists, it will perpetuate the Battle honours of it's previous incarnations.  There are numerous Units in the CF that have switched roles back and forth over the years.  The Governor Generals Foot Guards are an example of an Infantry Unit, who in the Second World War fought as an Armour Unit.  They still carry their WW II Battle Honours on their Colours.
 

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Interesting question van Gemeren.
If we consider The Elgins - It is obvious that the earned battle honours of the Infantry / armoured unit were earned in the blood, sweat and tears of their past members. So the Unit still retains them BUT

The CME branch carries the distinction "UBIQUE", which translates as "everywhere" - signifying that Engineers have been present and have fought on every front and every battle - thus having right to a monumental list of battle honours. Said list being so large that it would require Colours many yards long and many yards wide - and there being a shortage of Colour Ensigns tall enough to carry said Colours, it was decided that the single designation "UBIQUE" would summ it up quite nicely, thank ou very much (Engineers are known for their humility & skills at understatement ;))

An Engineer Regiment on ceremonial parades will carry the Canadian Ensign - that's it, that's all.

So as to your question about what would happen to their Regimental Colours.... they would get laid up - either at the Regimental Church or the Regimental Museum/Offcers Mess - as is the tradition of the Regiment when a stand of Colours is "retired". The old colours would no longer be paraded under any cisrcumstance... unless, of course, the Regiment is re-roled back to an Infantry or Armoured role.
 

Michael OLeary

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A-AD-200-000/AG-000
THE HONOURS, FLAGS AND HERITAGE STRUCTURE OF THE CANADIAN FORCES

Chapter 5 - COLOURS

SECTION 1
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

20. Colour-bearing units converted to units of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery or the Military Engineering Branch may continue to hold and parade their Colours when the unit is parading alone on exclusively unit occasions and no non-unit personnel are present in an official capacity (see note below). These Colours shall not be maintained or replaced at public, non-public or private expense. In all other cases, and when the above are worn out, units converted to non-Colour-bearing status shall lay up their Colours at the time of the conversion.

NOTE
Colour-bearing units converted to artillery or army field engineer retain the right to parade their Colour as, by definition, The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery also possesses Colours (see paragraph 5 above) and, along with the Military Engineering Branch, have been awarded an honorary distinction "to take the place of all past and future battle honours and distinctions gained in the field." (See Chapter 3, Section 2, paragraph 10.)


SECTION 2
RETIREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF COLOURS

7. Colours in possession of a unit shall be deposited or laid-up:

a. when a unit is to be disbanded or made dormant;

b. when units are amalgamated or redesignated and the old Colours are no longer to be carried, but only after new Colours have been obtained;

c. when a unit cannot provide a suitable Canadian based rear-party and is assigned to the Special Force on mobilization and warned for active service duty outside of Canada, or when a unit is ordered on active operations, including United Nations, NATO, international and other peacekeeping-type missions; and

d. when a unit is converted or re-roled to a non-Colour-bearing unit (see Section 1, paragraph 20).
 

vangemeren

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Thanks for the replies. I have more questions. From what I understand each unit has its own church. How do they pick the church? Also if a unit is reduced to nil strength (not disbanded), who looks after the colours?
 

Michael OLeary

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Historically, the chapel would normally be selected by the Regiment, and would have been based primarily on the Commanding Officer's decision. In many garrisons, one church was designated the garrison chapel and used by the Regiments that rotated through the station; I would suspect that in many cases it depended upon the religious background of the social group from which the officers and the majority of the other ranks of a regiment were composed.  More recently, in cases where there is no base chapel, particularly for Reserve units, it may vary on a case by case basis between the historical Regimental chapel (where there is one) and the church from which the unit Padre (if there is one) comes from.

As for the laying up opf colours, including preservation and ownership, here is the relevant extract:

RETIREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF COLOURS

SECTION 2
OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL

1. All Colours which have been consecrated and
presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces (CF),
whether donated or provided at public expense, are and
remain Crown property in perpetuity, and are controlled
by the Department of National Defence on behalf of the
Canadian government. The Colours are memorials to
the brave deeds and sacrifices of the units and
individuals who serve under them. If deposited or laidup,
they are the responsibility of the custodian and must
remain accessible to the public. Formal permission
from National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ)/Director
History and Heritage (DHH) is required before removal
for any purpose.

2. Custodians shall ensure that laid-up and
deposited Colours are kept on display to the general
public. They may not be stored or displayed in
unaccessible areas, e.g. stored in sliding drawers in
museum curatorial spaces with restricted access for
scholarly research purposes only.

3. Under no circumstances are Colours or
portions of Colours allowed to pass into the possession
of private individuals. If the custodian can no longer
preserve them, they must be returned to NDHQ/DHH
for disposal, unless mutually satisfactory arrangements
can be made with the unit and DHH.

4. When Colours are honourably retired and laidup,
they are left to decay and disintegrate, normally on
their pikes or lances, until they cease to exist. Although
the custodian may preserve the Colours under glass or
otherwise handle them to retard disintegration, they
shall never be restored. To do so would be akin to
creating facsimiles of the consecrated originals.
Although there are instances of replicas being made of
Colours, NDHQ will not authorize their use or
production. If replicas are identified, they must be
clearly marked for historical or display purposes.They
cannot be consecrated, carried or deposited, and they
are not entitled to the honours accorded consecrated
Colours.

5. Pieces which become detached while a Colour
is laid-up, lose their sacred status and shall be burnt to
ashes (see Section 1, Paragraph 39). Pikes, cords and
pike heads for laid-up Colours shall not be replaced
from public, non-public or private funds.

6. Serviceable Colours of a disbanded unit remain
the property of the Crown and may be reactivated
should the unit be reconstituted. In such case, DHH
shall issue instructions through command headquarters
to ensure that Colours can be reclaimed from the
custody of those persons entrusted with deposit.

PROCEDURE

7. Colours in possession of a unit shall be
deposited or laid-up:

a. when a unit is to be disbanded or made
dormant;

b. when units are amalgamated or redesignated
and the old Colours are no longer to be
carried, but only after new Colours have been
obtained;

c. when a unit cannot provide a suitable Canadian
based rear-party and is assigned to the Special
Force on mobilization and warned for active
service duty outside of Canada, or when a unit
is ordered on active operations, including
United Nations, NATO, international and other
peacekeeping-type missions; and

d. when a unit is converted or re-roled to a non-
Colour-bearing unit (see Section 1,
paragraph 20).

8. In addition, when Colours are replaced for
reasons of non-serviceability, the old Colours shall be
disposed of in a laying-up ceremony as detailed in
A-PD-201-000/PT-000, Manual of Drill and Ceremonial.

9. Lay-up shall be in either a sacred or public
building, in accordance with unit preference. Churches,
legislative buildings and city halls are most common. A
military museum which is generally open to the public
is acceptable as a public building; an officers' mess is
not. DHH will give further guidance on request if
necessary.

10. When Colours have been deposited or laid-up,
a report shall be forwarded through normal channels to
NDHQ/DHH, which shall include:

a. the nature of the Colour(s) deposited and date;

b. the name and location of the building in which
deposited;

c. the custodian (e.g., church, municipal, county,
provincial or federal authority);

d. certification that the custodian has been fully
briefed regarding ownership and procedure
issues, and is aware that deposited Colours
may be reactivated; and

e. verification that the location is in accordance
with unit preference.


11. Commanding officers of units depositing
Colours shall ensure that the custodian is provided with
a copy of sections 1 and 2 to this chapter.

12. In a church:

a. Colours are normally laid up in the nave or
body of a church rather than the sanctuary,
which is usually used for temporarily deposited
Colours.

b. In a sanctuary, Colours shall be positioned to
face the congregation, with the sanctuary's
right (its left as seen by the congregation) the
position of honour. Thus a Standard, Guidon or
the Queen's Colour of a stand of Colours shall
be placed on an altar's right (congregation's
left), with the command/college/regimental
Colour of a stand of Colours on the left.

c. In the nave, directions are reversed. The right
side of the congregation is the honour side, and
the Queen's Colour will be placed on that side,
with a command/college/regimental Colour
placed on the left.

d. If circumstances require a single stand of
Colours to be laid up side-by-side, the Queen's
Colour shall be nearest the alter.

e. If unconsecrated flags are permanently
displayed in a church for commemorative
purposes, they may be displayed anywhere the
church authorities deem proper, bearing in
mind the dignity and precedence of the flags
involved and the presence of any Colour. In
general, if both consecrated Colours and other
flags are permanently located in a church, the
Colours should be grouped on the right
(honour) side and forward in the nave, and the
other flags on the left side of the nave and
behind (rearward) of the Colours. For example,
if the Queen's Colour of Maritime Command is
to be laid up in the same church where a
Maritime Command Flag is to be permanently
displayed for commemorative purposes, the
former would be hung on the right side of the
nave and the latter on the left.

f. If unconsecrated flags are to be permanently
displayed for commemorative purposed in a
church, only a simple ceremony should be
used to prevent confusion with the honours
accorded consecrated Colours.

13. In a public building, a stand of Colours shall be
placed in accordance with normal protocol; e.g., the
Queen's Colour shall be on its own right.

14. Colours deposited or laid-up simultaneously in
a church or public building shall be positioned in
accordance with normal precedence.

15. After Colours have been laid-up, they are
considered memorials and are not normally displaced
by Colours laid-up later, e.g., by the Colours if a
regiment senior in precedence to the one whose
Colours were originally laid-up. Laid-up Colours
become extremely brittle and delicate over time.
Custodians should ensure that they are disturbed as
little as possible to extend their life. See also
paragraphs 1 to 6.
 

geo

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Michael..........
Thanks for pointing out the little technicality about the Colour-bearing units converted to Combat Engineers; retaining the right to parade their Colour as, by definition, the Military Engineering Branch, have been awarded an honorary distinction (UBIQUE) "to take the place of all past and future battle honours and distinctions gained in the field." however....... considering that these Colours shall not be maintained or replaced at public, non-public or private expense and when the above are worn out, units converted to non-Colour-bearing status shall lay up their Colours.............. so..... you can lay them up now OR lay them up later.... but they will be laid up.
 

vangemeren

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Does the Navy and Airforce have "battle honours" or "colours" in the same context as the army?

P.s what is a good source for Canadian military traditions and practices? (So I don't have to ask all of these questions)

Thanks, Jack
 

George Wallace

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Have you tried going to the source.....DHH?   Try their web site.   That is where all these decisions and regulations are made.
 

geo

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here's the link for DHH

http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhh/engraph/home_e.asp

note that DIN connection will give you more info & access... unfortunate fact of life :(

With respect to the Air force - each unit has it's Squadron "standard" and I believe they are granted "campaign" honours VS battle honours in the army.

The Navy has it's "white ensign" but it does not identify any specific unit/base/ship... then again, they have their "ship's bell"  - no battle honours are carried on their "colours"
 

reccecrewman

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Well, just to toss this out into the ring..................... Why does 12eRBC carry battle honours on it's Guidon?  The battle honours emblazoned on it's Guidon come from the 86th Bn. & Trois Rivieres Regiment.  Funny enough, TRR is still on the orbat, so how is this allowed?  The Windsor Regiment carries a Guidon with no battle honours because the personnel from that Regiment was used as a replacement pool for the 1st Hussars, Ontario Regiment &  Governer Generals Horse Guards............... so, why can't the Windsor Regiment carry battle honours those Regiments earned with the assistance of the Windsors crewman????
 

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Reserve 12RBC is the RTR (or TRR).....in Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers)    -
don't think TRR is still on the Orbat from where I sit (LFQA Puzzle Palace)
if you would, the Regulars are like..... their 2nd Battalion.

lots of things have been done
Hmmm.... Regiment de Chateauguay became 4 R22R and carry all the R22R battle honours
Regiment de St Hyacinthe became the 6 R22R and carry all the R22R battle honours
Fusiliers du St Laurent were "supposed to become the 5R22R but changed their minds..... so there is this weird gap between 4 & 6

Hmmm..... Original Battalion of Black Watch carries the designation 3RHRofC.... while the "new" battalions of Black Watch have come and gone and are now reduced to nill strength...

Am certain that I could pull a couple of other "weird" ones for you..... don't have an answer for you on the Windsor Reg't other than to state that the Regiment's founders figured they could stand on their own without having to make up history.
 

GGHG_Cadet

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My affiliated regiment, the Governor General's Horse Guards carry a standard, what is the difference between a standard and a guidon?
 

Michael Dorosh

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reccecrewman said:
so, why can't the Windsor Regiment carry battle honours those Regiments earned with the assistance of the Windsors crewman????

Where do you draw the line? 
 

geo

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GGHG_Cadet said:
My affiliated regiment, the Governor General's Horse Guards carry a standard, what is the difference between a standard and a guidon?
Hmmm...
- in it's most simple answer -
Defenitions:
Guidon: A small flag or pennant carried as a standard by a military unit.

Standard: A flag, banner, or ensign, especially:
a. The ensign of a chief of state, nation, or city.
b. A long, tapering flag bearing heraldic devices distinctive of a person or corporation.
c. An emblem or flag of an army, raised on a pole to indicate the rallying point in battle.
d. The colors of a mounted or motorized military unit.

Guidons carried by: RCH, SherH,12RBC, RdeHull, 8CH
Standards.... GGHG

But... hey.... I'm part of the CME branch and I have no Regimental Colours
 

George Wallace

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Standards are held by "Guards" Regiments.  There are only two in Canada designated as 'guards', the Governor General's Horse Guards and IV Princess Louise Dragoon Guards (who were placed on the Supplementary Order of Battle (SOB) in 1964 by the Suttie Commission.)

Up to 1951, only former cavalry units designated as dragoon and 'horse' regiments had been entitled to carry guidons or standards.  This excluded the hussar regiments and any regiment that had originated as an infantry unit.  In 1951, the British Army ruled that all armoured units, regardless of their origins, would be entitled to carry a Guidon or Standard.  The Canadian Army adopted this policy also.
 

reccecrewman

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Correct me if I'm wrong George, but does our Unit not have both?  I'm pretty sure I've seen a Kings Standard located in F-104.  I know we don't carry one now but did we not used to carry a Kings Standard?
 

George Wallace

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Actually, it is the "King's Banner".   It was presented to The Royal Canadian Dragoons in 1904 by his Excellency the Governor General of Canada, The Earl of Minto, on behalf of His Royal Highness King Edward VII in recognition of services rendered to the Empire in South Africa.   The RCR received one at the same time.
 

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are these standards (kings banner) unit specific or are they similar to the "silk ensigns" (union jack) that a large number of units received during ww1?
 
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