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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Canadian Flag

Guest Rhys

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I think it was the Red ensign carrying the arms of Canada, the maple leaf flag was adopted in the 1960s . A little trickle of caution affects me at this point becuase I remember reading that red maple leaves in the base of the arms were red to represent Canadas sacrifices inthe Great War The implication would be that the arms used on the ensign during the war could have been slighlty different


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I hope I am not too pedantic to point out that the only official flag used by Canadian forces was the Union Jack (the small navy of course flew the White Ensign). The Red Ensign was, I believe, only officially approved for Canadian use at sea.

Of course this is merely theory. In practice the Red Ensign was widely, if unofficially, used as the "Canadian" flag, and many individuals and groups took personal examples to France.

A little Googling provides this link to a photo of a flag taken up Vimy Ridge in 1917. Note that the shield is a bit different from that on other versions. Apparently there was some variations on the shields.

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This is a site by a big fan of the Red Ensign.

All about the Red Ensign flag.

To summarize, he explains that the red ensign was very popular in the Victorian Era and flew over Parliament. However, during Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, and later the excitement over the South African war, it was felt by local politicians that the British flag should be flying over Parliament, and the Red Ensign taken down. It was not restored over Parliament until 1945.

He goes on to state that the Red Ensign remained popular, and provides examples of WWI era postcards. This page gives further detail.

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I have one. Not the one the Canadian troops carried into battle, but the 1907 version. Slightly torn, etc.

So, not much help; different continents, different flags.

I can take a photo if that would be of any use.


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Many thanks for all your help - now I have to find a red ensign to use in a UK documentary on some of the Canadian soldiers executed for desertion...

A welcoming comment - at least someone has researched this and will use it properly.

The recent 2004 productions for D-Day showed the incorrect flags!



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