Hon. Brooke Claxfon (Minister of National Defence):
Mr. Speaker, some days ago I was asked by the hon. member for Brandon-Souris (Mr. Dinsdale) a question regarding the cap badge in use in certain headgear of the R.C.A.F. I should now like to reply to that question.
There are five designs of cap badge in use in the R.C.A.F.-one for officers of air rank, two for other officers and first-class warrant officers, and two for other personnel.
The cap badges for officers and W.O.l's are a crown, eagle and laurels for use on general service caps and a brass crown and eagle for use on field service-that is, wedge-caps. Subject to minor changes in design and material, these remain the same as they have been since before the second world war.
For other personnel the badge on general service caps continues to be the initials of the R.C.A.F. in the centre of a laurel wreath, surmounted by a small crown. On the field service-that is wedge-cap-and the winter cap the badge is an eagle.
The recent interest in R.C.A.F. cap badges relates solely to the badge on the field service -that is wedge-cap. It may be observed that, in addition to this badge which is an eagle, there are two small brass buttons on the front of this cap which display a crown, an eagle and the letters "R.C.A.F."
The eagle was introduced for use on these two types of caps because the badge with the initials "R.C.A.F." in the laurel wreath was considered too large and too heavy in appearance for use on these caps.
The new badge was differentiated from that of the officers and W.O.l's, as has been the practice in the R.C.A.F. since 1925. Cap badges for officers and men are also different in the R.A.F., R.A.A.F., R.N.Z.A.F., R.C.N. and R.N. The badge in question was introduced by revised dress orders of the R.C.A.F. which were approved on July 7, 1952, on the authority of the chief of air staff, as provided for by paragraph 36.01 of Queen's regulations and orders for the air force. Though the revised dress orders for the R.C.A.F. were
adopted in 1952, the badge only came into general use on this type of headgear early in 1953.
There is, of course, nothing in the suggestion that this in any way affects the traditions or sentimental associations of the R.C.A.F.
The eagle is generally in use by the air forces of many nations. All members of the R.C.A.F. wear the crown, the eagle and the initials R.C.A.F. on all buttons on their jackets and caps. All members of the R.C.A.F. wear the word "Canada" on their shoulders.
As has been stated, a particular type of badge was adopted by the R.C.A.F. for use by certain personnel on two out of several types of headgear. The change was made by the chief of staff and the other air members, acting within the authority given to them, and it would appear that they are the people who could be relied on to do nothing which would adversely affect the traditions or sentimental attachment of their own service in which they had spent many years of their lives.
Subtopic: INQUIRY AS TO CHANGE IN WEDGE CAP INSIGNIA