I'm quite surprised at the reaction that the reinstatement of the 'Royal' to the Canadian Air Force and Navy has caused. There have been a few discussions on Facebook and the blogosphere about it, and oddly I found myself debating it with otherwise fairly traditional and conservatively minded friends, who were, much to my surprise, opposed.
A quick history lesson for my non-Canadian readers: way back in 1968 the government of the time rammed through unification of the three services into one Canadian Armed Forces, claiming it would save money (only one supply, training and admin establishment, shared uniforms and equipment etc.) and create visionary forward thinking 21st century service free of our British colonial past. Everyone got to wear hideously ugly 'tri-service green' uniforms that made them look like gas station attendants and the government kept cutting the budget until trying to deploy on peacekeeping missions became an embarrassment as aircraft kept breaking down.
So a few years back the government re-instated three separate services. They still share much of the recruiting, logistic, administrative and training establishment (e.g. my recruiting interview was conducted by an Air Force officer and my BOTC syndicate includes Naval and Air element Officer Cadets), but now at least have distinctive uniforms. But when passing the bill they didn't just default back to the old names of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. Two days ago that was finally rectified.
Some (like the Minister of Defence who unified the three services back in '68) have said it is a 'great step backwards'.
I admit it. I'm not just a Monarchist, I'm an Imperialist. I think the world (or at least Africa) was better off under the British Empire. But all things pass and the collapse of the British Empire was going to happen and at least it wasn't as sanguinary as the fall of many empires. But I digress...
So here is my stand on the dreaded 'R' word.
I took an Oath to Queen and Country. We have crowns on our crests and cap badges. Our ships are "HMCS". Our oldest regiments are the ROYAL Canadian Artillery, the ROYAL Canadian Regiment and the ROYAL Canadian Dragoons. The 'Van Doos' are the ROYAL 22nd Regt. What's wrong with putting the 'R' back in the RCN and RCAF? We may as well use all the traditional bling we can until such a day as the Canadian voters decide to dismantle the constitutional monarchy in Canada.
If we're going to distance ourselves from our British past and traditions than lets do it all. Take out all the 'R's. The RCR can be the 1st Canadian Regiment of Inf. The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry can be the 2nd (or maybe the 3rd, I think the R22e may have seniority). Call the RCDs the 1st Cdn Armoured Regt. The Lord Stathconas Horse can be the 2nd CAR. Take all the crowns off our cap badges and crests.
All or nothing.
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