Last modified: 2018-08-08 by rob raeside
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Air Command/Air Force Ensign, 1985-
image by Miles Li, 17 August 2009
From the Canadian Air Forces 16th Wing site:
Eighty Years Ago- a Flag
By MWO Normand Marion, 16 Wing
On Friday November 30th ..., senior staff at 16 Wing Headquarters took a few moments to commemorate a highly symbolic event that took place eighty years ago in front of the Wing Headquarters at Camp Borden.
On that date in 1921, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Ensign was hoisted for the first time in Canada, as officers and airmen of the newly formed Canadian Air Force (CAF) were asked to salute "their new flag".
At the time, the ceremony was an attempt to establish the Air Force' unique identity as a separate service from the Army and the Navy, and to reinforce its links to the RAF. Although it had been proposed that a maple leaf be included on the flag to single out the Canadian version, the suggestion was rejected on the basis that both Air Forces' flags should be identical in order to retain "the sentiment of unity between the Air Forces of the Empire."
A group of senior officers of the CAF were present, as Air Vice-Marshal Gwatkin, member of the Air Board and at the same time Inspector-General of the CAF, had requested that the ceremony be made "as pompous as possible". For some reason, no representative from the Army or the Navy were present, and neither was the Minister of Militia and Defence, even though invitations had been sent.
The RAF Ensign continued to be flown in Canada as the Canadian Air Force Ensign from 1921 to 1924, and subsequently as the Royal Canadian Air Force Ensign until the Second World War. In 1941, a maple leaf was added inside the roundel and this new RCAF Ensign was flown until the RCAF was disbanded in 1968.
Finally, in 1985, the Canadian flag replaced the Union Jack in the corner of the Ensign and gave birth to a new Air Command Ensign, which is still flown today by Air Force elements of the Canadian Forces.
Mark Sensen, 21 April 2003
Royal Canadian Air Force, 1941-68
image by Miles Li, 27 July 2018
One of our members recently perused your homepage and asked me to bring to your attention that the RCAF Ensign no longer exists. In 1972, the RCAF Association petitioned Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, through Government House, to decree that the Ensign, (declared "obsolete" by DND's Director of Ceremonial) should become a "living symbol" for the Association. In September, 1973 our Association was formally advised that by Royal decree, the Ensign was ours, and would henceforth be known as the "Association Ensign." It was "suggested" by DND at the time that the Association alter the Maple Leaf to match the one in the 1965 Maple Leaf flag.
As you may know, our Association changed its name to Air Force Association
of Canada in 1994, and on January 1, 1997 the Ensign was officially trade-marked
under Section 9 of the Canada Trade Marks Act, to be known as the Air Force Association
Ensign. This information is detailed on our Association's homepage at www.airforce.ca.
No doubt you know that in 1984, an Air Command "flag" was authorized by DND. Basically,
it looks like the Ensign with the Canadian flag replacing the Union Jack. I'm
not sure if that "flag" still exists, as Air Command no longer exists.
Bob Tracy, 05 March 2000
Executive Director, Air Force Association of Canada
image by Pierre Gay
The Canadian Aviation Corps was formed on September 16, 1914 later to become
(see history page at http://www.rcaf.com/1914_1938_formation/
- or flag page)
Until 1946 the RCAF used the RAF insignia
Military Aircraft Insignia of the World shows 5 roundels for RCAF since 1946. Two more are added for the Canadian Armed Forces - Air wing in other sources.
In 1946 the RCAF adopted a separate roundel by changing the red ball in RAF type B with maple leaf (and with Type C fin flash)
This combination was not distinctive enough and in 1947 a white background added (still with type C fin flash).
Note the Military Aircraft Insignia of the World shows the maple leaf as today, while the site show both two versions with the design of maple leaf different from the current one.
According to Military Aircraft Insignia of the
World, in 1958 the fin flash was changed to the former Canadian flag.
Two roundels were used by Canadian Armed Forces before it was united into RCAF in 1969 to be the new Air Command.
Since both shows the standard maple leaf and not the post WWII RCAF version, I guess that those were used after 1964.
In 1965, the RCAF adopted a new standard roundel based on the maple leaf design as in the national flag, and the new national flag as fin flash.
The only change afterwards (except the 1997 change in structure) was the adoption
of a low visibility marking in 1988.
Dov Gutterman, 13 June 2004