Over the past decade we 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 current and 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. We 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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Major General Richard Rohmer, A Man of Many Modes of Dress... Most of them Wrong

Honorary Deputy Commissioner of the OPP
It appears as though our dear friend Richard Rohmer -- soon to the poster-child of this blog -- has invented all sorts of amazing ways to wear his many orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. This has to be one of the most hilarious photos ever taken of someone wearing their insignia incorrectly. It is as though Rohmer is attempting to compete with the likes of Idi Amin and Jean Bedel Bokassa in his mode of dress. This is truly embarrassing. Under no circumstances are you supposed to wear three neck insignia while in mess dress. It is impractical and it looks absolutely bizarre.  This is the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome gone wild. I can't say I understand why a hero of the RCAF with a DFC and all would go to such great lengths to look the head of a certain Axis air force c. 1944. Let us hope that Lieutenant Governor Ethell of Alberta doesn't see this photo or he might start wearing 3 neck badges!

Sadly it gets worse. Here we have Rohmer wearing the uniform of a Major General. Can you spot the problems? Some are more obvious than others. You can't really see it but here Rohmer is again wearing three neck insignia, all in violation of the CF Dress Instructions(CFP-265), but it gets worse. See that little badge above Rohmer's wings? That is the Aide de Camp cypher for an ADC to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. It is supposed to be worn on the shoulder, under the second maple leaf of his Major General's rank, it is not supposed to be worn on the upper part of the breast, this too is in violation of the CF Dress Instructions.

I have saved the most glaring offence for last. Beside his Distinguished Flying Cross Rohmer is wearing the insignia of a Officer of the Order of St. John. He is not an Officer of the Order of St. John, he is a Knight of Justice of the Order, so he is wearing a medal that he is not entitled to. This is in violation of Order-in-Council 1998-591 and the Statutes of the Order of St. John which clearly explain you can only wear the grade of the Order that you are entitled to.

As with Mrs. Haverstock, Rohmer has substituted a lower grade of an Order all so that he can wear an extra medal on his medal bar, having run out of room around his neck. This is truly embarrassing. Given that Rohmer has not been an Officer of the Order of St. John since 1983 when he was promoted to Commander of the Order, he can hardly claim that he just hasn’t had time to get his medals remounted!   

As an esteemed lawyer and one of Her Majesty's Council Learned in the Law (he is a QC) you would think that Rohmer would be adverse to breaking a federal Order-in-Council and the statues of the Order of St. John.


  1. Agree the rest looks bizare, but according to the regs he is allowed to wear 3 neck insignia. Only in mess dress do you only wear one.

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