|The Rt. Hon Adrienne Clarkson, |
once again doubling up with her CC around the neck and CMM on a bow, all at the same time.
Over the past decade I have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. I like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.
Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.
When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”
This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
|General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier, OC, OMM, ONL, MSC, CD|
Unfortunately our former Chief of the Defence Staff, a well respected and appropriately recognized retired soldier, has succumbed to the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The blog email box has been flooded over the past two months with emails about Canada's former top solider dawning three neck insignia simultaneously, while in civilian attire.
With all due respect General, you don't need to do this. Your group of miniature medals more than adequately reflects your service to Canada, and one neck insignia is always enough when it comes to wearing mess dress or civilian clothing.
|One neck gong is enough Sir...|
Even the precedence for his OC, CMM and ONL is wrong, and in Black Tie/Dinner Jacket the neck insignia is to be worn from miniature width ribbon. If you want to look like a Soviet olympian then I suppose this is the path to follow. Let us hope that one of General Hillier's colleagues will eventually point out that he is out of dress and looks rather desperate to impress with three neck insignia.
|Major-General George Pearkes. |
Paragon of propriety and correct civilian deportment.
As noted in our post of October 9, 2010, if the VC winning Major General George R. Pearkes, VC, PC, CC, CB, DSO, MC, CD, (also a Knight of the Order of Saint John and a Commander of the US Legion of Merit) who was entitled to four neck decorations, could get by with wearing one neck gong at a time while in civilian attire, why can't others?
Friday, September 20, 2013
In happier times Senator Pamela Wallin was featured in one of the earliest postings on this blog in October 2010. Sadly things have not improved for the Senator who also serves as an honorary Colonel. After three years she remains totally unable to wear her medals correctly. We think it is unlikely that any officer in the Canadian Forces has ever found so many ways to wear their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly as this embattled Senator and Honorary Colonel. The Senator/Honorary Colonel has been well recognized with numerous honours; Officer of the Order of Canada (OC), Saskatchewan Order of Merit (SOM), 1967 Centennial Medal, 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal, 2012 Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Saskatchewan Hundredth Anniversary of Confederation Medal. This means that in her RCAF DEUs (Dress Uniform) when wearing orders, decorations and medals she should be wearing her OC at the neck, her SOM out of the first button hole and her FULL SIZE medals on the left breast... instead we see the "mix and match" approach to military dressing. I challenge readers to find us ONE photo of Senator/Colonel Wallin wearing her full size insignia correctly while in a CF uniform. Some of her errors have been so basic, it is unbelievable that no one has spent 5 minutes explaining to her how to wear her multiple honours correctly.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that even the incorrectly affixed miniatures on Wallin are just haphazardly pinned on like a Rotary lapel badge or piece of jewellery.
|The haphazard approach to affixing insignia combined with |
the "mix and match" method of choosing what insignia to wear.
|What's wrong here? No OC at the neck, no SOM out of the first button hole and some red lapel pin attached to the left side. We are also assuming this is a parade so it is ok for the Colonel to be wearing her wedge cap indoors.|
The blog notes that even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has had difficulties with wearing the correct insignia on his ribbons. The Americans have many more medals than Canada in their honours system, and dozens of devices that get attached to ribbons and undress ribbons which makes matters exceedingly complex, but this eagle eyed blogger has picked up even the most minute detail. It is nice to know that these sorts of issues aren't limited to our fellow Canadians, but also extends to our Allies.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Answer Key: c,d,b,a,a,c,d,b,b,d.
|Honorary Captain (N) Bata|
This photo explains well why we have miniature medals – full size medals look ridiculous on mess dress and are never to be worn in this fashion. It would have been much better if Bata had decided just to wear her Officer of the Order of Canada. On the bright side at least she knew to wear her OC on a miniature ribbon. Given the good work Bata has done for the CF I feel a bit reluctant to post this, nevertheless it is a significant error and dress faux pas.
Below is the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley who serves as honorary Colonel for a number of regiments. What's wrong with this photo? He isn't wearing any ribbons or any of his full size insignia. He is a Knight of the Order of St. John, Chancellor of the Order of Ontario and has the Canada 125 Medal and the Diamond Jubilee Medal, but for whatever reason he has decided not to wear any of them, despite the dress regulations. Here we see a CF DEU treated as just a business suit that you can pin stuff on if you want, or leave it empty. Onley features prominently in our upcoming Vice-Regal Report Card as he has thrown the wearing guide out the window.
|The Hon. David Onley, |
Honorary Colonel of 25 Field Ambulance
In this next photo we find an Honorary Naval Captain, Myra Freeman wearing an unofficial Commissionaires ribbon at the very end of her undress ribbons and on her Order of Canada ribbon she is wearing a RED maple leaf signifying that she is a COMPANION of the Order of Canada (the highest level of the Order), when in fact she should be wearing a SILVER maple leaf as a MEMBER of the Order of Canada (most junior level of the Order). The Governor General's website confirms she is indeed a Member and not a Companion. Not a bad self inflicted promotion! The same issue appears in an earlier photo found on the web. This honorary Captain (N) was featured in one of our first posts on October 9, 2010 with a variety of issues.
|Honorary Captain Myra Freeman|
|Freeman's Undress Ribbons|
To be fair, here is an RCAF Honorary Colonel for 439 Squadron from about a decade ago. This Honorary is well turned out aside from wearing two completely unofficial, unauthorized decoration of unknown origin. Interestingly the Honorary Colonel this offender took over from also had several green ribbons at the end of his medal group.
|Our token RCAF Honorary Colonel Offender, Ross Gaudreault|
All this highlights a serious problem with the Honorary Captains(N) / Honorary Colonels program run by the Canadian Forces. So many of these dress-up officers have no clue how to wear a CF uniform and the accompanying insignia that they are entitled to. It is difficult to understand why no one has nicely corrected them in their various errors. It would save the regiment(s) embarrassment and set a good example for the regular and reserve members of the CF.