Talk:Canadian Air Force (1920–24)

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Copyvio content?[edit]

The recently added content re: insignia seem to be directly copied from a source. I base this assumption on how the content is worded. If indeed this is the case, this is a copyvio issue and the original poster should change the content by using his own words. Copied content is usually deleted quite quickly.-- BC  talk to me 18:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Hi Brian No, I've created this from scratch over the last few days although some dates and specifics have been taken from the referenced source (“Eagles Recalled”, Warren Carroll). I'll take it as a compliment that it appears to be a "source" as that was the intent of creating the piece. I felt there was uncertainty and confusion surrounding the CAF insignia of this period by some collectors, dealers and museum staff. I thought I would try to explain the subtleties as I understand them. If you feel a specific sentence or fact should be referenced, please go ahead and do so or I can try to find some documentation relevant to the line in question. If there is a specific sentence that you find I’ve quoted, kindly let me know and I’ll reference it or rewrite it. Likewise, I created the Summary Table based on my own understanding. I have never seen anything like it and I think it’s valuable in describing the CAF cap and collars or to provide a quick reference. It stands to be edited or corrected by those who know more than I do. Thank you for taking the time to read the piece and I look forward to your additional comments, constructive criticisms and edits. Together, perhaps we can make a decent article. A much better place (talk) 19:10, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
No worries, I may try to spruce things up when I get a chance. By the way, no need to use html line breaks in text; Wikipedia does things automatically. Take care.  BC  talk to me 20:27, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

CAF or CAA ?[edit]

Has anyone actually had a really close look at the "Initials" on the Canadian Air Force badges and aviator wings from the period 1920 - 1924??

Upon closer inspection, the initials emblazoned on the badges and wings for all to see are not actually C.A.F for Canadian Air Force, but "C.A.A" with the last "A" being diminuative.

Canadian Army Aviator? Canadian Aviation Authority? Can anyone come up with an answer that is factual and documented from an "Official" Government of Canada primary source document of the period 1919 - 1924 and provide a clear readable copy of that document as well as a source link to where it resides?

CanadianAME (talk) 17:41, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

You're right, it does sort of look like an "A". I think the problem is with the design. The last "A" is actually an "F". For some reason the two bars of the F have been joined with a stem so that the F looks like an A. I suspect that this was just a way of embellishing the letter. The other letters are highly embellished as well. The original poster does mention that the initials were "CAF", and this person is apparently highly knowledgeable about the insignia. He hasn't edited for quite a while, but if he returns, I'm sure he'll see this query and will clear things up.  BC  talk to me 18:32, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi Brian. I suspect that while they were referred to as the Canadian "Air Force" from 1920 thru 1924 in a lot of popular magazines and press articles - not to mention they would have referred to themselves as "Air Force" Officers and Men, the actual Militia and official government documents referred to them as the Canadian Army's Air Corps / force / Service upon their de-mobilisation (which effectively curtailed the fledgling force in it's infancy in England).. it was not until they officers plead their case to have an air service in Canada that they were allowed to begin anew in Canada under the watchful eye of the Canadian Milita - another ARMY oversight and control branch they probably hated. The RFC had been a part of the British ARMY - and in fact actual fact a part of the Corps of Royal Engineers as an experimental section to "Investigate Aeroplanes" until 1912 when they were merged with the RNAS to form the RFC by Parliament.

The initials on the badges and wings are in fact a C an A and an A .. NO F and NO mistake..

Blow up the image and ask anyone not connected with aviation what they think the letters are ... I did this with one of my neighbours.. his direct response "it says C A A"

A jeweler of the day would not have made that bad of an error, they were neither careless OR illiterate - especially when you consider that the badges issued to RFC officers in Canada in 1917 were made in Canada and were clearly "R F and C" and that post 1917 when the RAF came into being they were re-lettered "R A F". No, I would have to say that a "Cursory" inspection from a few feet away would have most people thinking the badge and wings reflect CAF .. but most would never get close enough to see the actual letters and would have simply "Trusted" what the were told or read.

I actually possess ORIGINAL "Paper" parliamentary command documents (Orders from the King to Parliament) from 1912 for the creation of the RFC, from 1916 for the creation of the RAF as well as the complete "Trenchard Memorandum" presented to Parliament in 1919 by Winston Churchill - and my research into the background of the Air Force in the UK and Canada indicates that the "Pilot" officers of the force hated being under Army control .. and, until the "Canadian Air Force" was firmly created and then granted "Royal" status shortly thereafter, that the initials "CAA" on the original badges issued between 1920 and 1924 would tend to indicate "Canadian Army Aviator" with the C in Canadian being large, the A in Army being diminuative - as a way of belittling the Army perhaps? and the A in Aviator being placed on top of it all - as a way of reflecting "Superiority" of the air service?

The badge itself is also unique in its' symbolism, with the wings "supporting the crown/ kingdom / empire" (George V. actually liked flying and supported aviation activities). The wings encircling the Maple leaf represent "the Protection of Canada" with the "CAA" emblazoned over the maple leaf. The 1920-1924 motto "We(re going) go to the Stars" is also unique as the then RAF and still current RCAF motto is "Thu adversity to the Stars".

Another rather curious thing, is that the there are a number of wings and badges which are "Discoloured".. or "impure".. a metalurgical analysis would reflect the "Other Metals" in those discoloured sets of wings and badges - which may well come from one lot of castings. Almost as if they were cast from a mixture of brass and silver resulting in a "mottled" or "Silvered" appearance when polished....

There was a very unique driving force behind the RAF's Halton College and Halton Apprentice program in the UK - to bring the future officers and men together and create a unique comeraderi that would be needed in years ahead.. and since the new force, born of war, under temorary measure became a permanent fighting service of the crown, that meant free from being under both Naval and Army control to create itself as it wanted - as Trenchard wanted..

The Airmen - ALL of them, had lost a lot of friends during the war, seen horrible things and had some rather nasty memories .. they liked a good laugh and frequently sought an outlet for their anger and frustrations - alcohol, women.. playing pranks.. and Army discipline would have not gone over well - even though the KR&O for the RAF is a DIRECT copy of the KR&O for the ARMY - except that "Air Force" replaced the word "Army".

with all the symbolism, heritage and need to let off steam that is inherent in any fighting force, a reason for "CAA" on the badges and wings as well as the assorted "Impurities" in the metal may well be reflected in the wording of the first stanza of "High Flight" ... "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth (Free from Army oversight and control at last!) , And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings" ... Did the officers or the men of the fledgling Air Service in Canada perhaps make a favourite statue or momento of an Army Officer who was demeaning or degrading to them dissapear, only to be included in the "Offering to the plate" used to scrounge the funds / resources to help pay for the badges and wings?

Naturally a "Missing" item had no chance of being located if it had been broken up and melted down ... and if that same Army Officer was the person who would later pin the "New Wings and "Badges" of the Canadian Army-Militia Pilots onto their their Uniforms, the Pilots would have just "Beemed with Pride" .. at the recognition .. not to mention being "Extremely appreciative and Thankfull" to that Army Officer for making the day happen... and then going directly to the nearest bar for a big drink-up with a lot of hillarity over their not sure "Pure Silver" wings...

Something to think about...

if you search Archive.org you can find digital versions of assorted primary source reference documents - including copies of the ones I mentioned. CanadianAME (talk) 10:25, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

All very interesting. Perhaps someone can point to some secondary sources that can explain the initials. It would be great to have this explained in the article. BC  talk to me 20:01, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Here’s the answer. Through a friend I contacted an expert at the National War Museum in Ottawa. This person is a PhD in military history who often identifies service medals, etc. He also volunteers at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. This is what he said: "The third letter is a heavily stylized 'F'. CAF badges went through several iterations, but the stylized letters remained." The Canadian Aviation Historical Society was also consulted and they concurred. Strange though that the other letters are also heavily embellished but at least you could tell what the letters are. BC  talk to me 17:06, 19 May 2017 (UTC)


Thanks for the update.. but the word of a PHD or anyone who cannot provide "Hard Copy" paper and reference as to what the letters are cannot be taken as "Documented proof" .. this constitutes thrird party knowledge and cannot be used as substantiation of fact.. The only "Proof" that can be accepted is a reciept from the jeweler who created the badges and a confirmed copy of the request from the person who comissioned the work as to what they requested. If the National Archive or any other archive holds such document, then that document needs to be produced for inspection of provenance in support of the Badges and wings.. Learned though the PH.D may be, they are still required to substantiate with first person proof .. otherwise their evidence is hearsay.. 206.116.166.9 (talk) 23:16, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Canadian Army Air Corps [1] CanadianAME (talk) 07:46, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

This person is a respected researcher when it comes to air force history so there is no reason not to believe him. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, published sources are obviously necessary. However, even if there were "hard copy paper" proof one way or the other, it probably would not really be valuable for improving the article unless they were secondary sources. I would think that hard copy "First person proof" is considered a primary source, the use of which is frowned upon. Out of interest it would nice to see any paper proof, however. You may want to check this reference; it may have some information that would provide "proof": Canadian flying services emblems & insignia (1914-1984) by Bill Hampson- BC  talk to me 17:40, 21 May 2017 (UTC)


Brian, You hav e missed the point - the term "Source Reference" PRIMARY refers to the original Canadian government documents published or recorded in the perios of 1919 - 1926. NOT something created today by a "Researcher" .. Primary source document .. the actual factual proof.. No matter how well respecte your PhD buddy may be... his word, resppected or not is an "Opinion" unless he or anyone else can substantiate his claim that the last "A" is a stylised "F" ... While that may be the common myth and what was told to people by pilots of the day when asked why there were 2 "A"s and one C on their badges .. continueing to blindly accept word of mouth and what was probably the pilots of the day doing everything they could to remove themselves from being under "ARMY" control... The badge would have had to be agreed to thru the official channels re heraldry and regalia in the Militia and then approved by the treasury as well as a commanding officer of the Militia .. that is the documented evidence required .. and if you ask your PhD friend, you may find that he or she would agree that the actual "Birth Certificate: of that emblem would have to have received formal approval in one form or another.. Any true researcher will have the certificate of provenance of the article - no provenance, no proof - period Tell your friend to provide that because his or her word means nothing without it. 206.116.166.9 (talk) 05:33, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Bill, need I remind you that so called "PhD" scientists - all very "respected" persons who were the heads of a number of museums of archaeology believed that the dinosaur skeletons on display in their museums were "actual" dnosaurs... until someone proved them wrong and pointed out that a great number of those displays were in fact assembled from the collected bones of a "Number of different" species of dinosaur.... Have your friend provide "Proof" as well as the hyperlink to where that proof can be reviewed by the masses.. CanadianAME (talk) 05:39, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

I understand you very well. Your argument is like going to a medical doctor and not believing what he says because he doesn't have documented hard copy factual proof on which to base his belief in an unappealing diagnosis even though he has has an MD and years of training and experience under his belt. Would his diagnosis be just opinion or hearsay? I suppose you could say yes, it's just hearsay and go to another doctor, but the other doctor's diagnoses would only be an opinion or hearsay as well. Would you want the doctor to spend time and effort to find all the relevant research accumulated over decades, photos, original documents and statistics to prove that his opinion/diagnosis is correct? By that time you could be dead. My point still stands; the information/source you seek would be considered a primary source, so couldn't be used as a source by Wikipedia anyway. The secondary source (Hampson book) I mentioned above may point you to the factual proof or original documents, so I would try that one. Most libraries would probably have it. BC  talk to me 16:57, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Provide a link to :Canadian flying services emblems & insignia (1914-1984)" and re your statement about MD's .. well, we know from FACTUAL evidence that there have been a number of them proven wrong over the decades, and that they are NOT all perfect nor omnipotent..and indeed, they do everything they can to cover up their mistakes - hence the need for malpractice insurance - Imagine what would happen if their errors were all made public??? people would never trust them again.. Why? they are human and therefore they can be WRONG.. so, put up or shut up and provide the damned link to the document so that your idea of a "Source" can be confirmed. 206.116.166.9 (talk) 20:36, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

"Put up or shut up"? Wow, nasty. You wanted help with your question, I was trying to help. Believe what you will. And obviously you don't go to the doctor anymore. Here is the "damn" link to the book and some others that may interest you:
https://www.amazon.ca/Canadian-services-emblems-insignia-1914-1984/dp/0969251602
http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/wwi/canada/canada.shtml
http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/canada/canadaCAF.shtml
 BC  talk to me 21:52, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Brian.. while you may believe that a book written by a person weaned on popular fiction is to be taken as fact, you have still failed to substantiate anything because none of your references identify an official point of fact origin of the force or the badge.. please see the next section and the reference to the STATEMENT mande by Brigadier W. J. Lawson, Judge Advocate General, National Defence Department re the origin of the "Air Force" in Canada.. this is a principle source document.. you need to find this type of reference, because this is "Provenance" which substantiates the point being made.. that being Canadian ARMY Air Corps and Canadian ARMY aviators. CanadianAME (talk) 11:04, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Canadian ARMY Aviation Corps[edit]

Here is some "Official History" that identifies that the RCAF was originally a "Corps" under the control of the Canadian Militia / Army:

During the 2nd Session, 24th Parliament, 1959 Bill C-27, "An Act to amend the National Defence Act" [2], (re French name of R.C.A.F. ) was read and considered clause by clause.

Heard by the committee in explanation of the Bill: Brigadier W. J. Lawson, Judge Advocate General, National Defence Department.

Senator Wall: I wonder if the word "corps" in its definition, from its roots, has not a wider connotation than we are actually putting on it right now?

Brigadier W. J. Lawson : I agree with that, Mr. Chairman, but the word “corps” has a special military meaning[3] .

Brigadier W. J. Lawson : "We know that when the Air Force was first established it was a corps of the army" [4] CanadianAME (talk) 10:53, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Regulations and Orders issued by the Crown or Government in Canada are officially recorded in the "CANADA GAZETTE" - Likewise, the same practice is followed in the United Kingdom. Once published in the 'GAZETTE" the regulation and / or order becomes an official document - along with all changes made thereafter. No regulation made [...] is effective until it has been published in the Canada Gazette and every such regulation shall be laid before Parliament within fifteen days after it is made or, if Parliament is not then in session, within fifteen days after the commencement of the next ensuing session[5].”

The Canadian Militia / Army issued regulations pertinent to the uniform, awards, decorations and emblems allowed to be worn by Officers and Enlisted men. This document also contains specific details as to the history, evolution and composition of the heraldry of the badges and insignia worn. The badges of the Canadian Army Aviators from the day they were created until they became a unique force with their own regulations will be referenced in such a regulation book, which more than likely will NOT be found in a Canadian Air Force reference library, but would be recorded in a Canadian MILITIA and ARMY reference library.


Newspapers of the day also documented "happenings and events. These records of actual events are a good source reference that identify people, places and dates.. as well as terminology. One such event which received world wide recognition was the departure of "Amundsen's Polar Expedition" from Seattle on an expected 5yr Scientific Quest. This quest was to include "Polar Flights" and therefore needed pilots.. the" Daily Colonist" newspaper in Victoria BC noted that crew members on the quest include Lieutenant E.G Fullerton, former Canadian army avlator[6] Unfortunately, Lt. Fullerton had more interrest in womanising, and was literally kicked off the boat as a result.

CanadianAME (talk) 11:27, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ SINGLETON, CLINT (1953). "The Black Eagle came home". True Adventure... Mr. (May): 42. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Lawson, William Joseph (10 March 1959). "PROCEEDINGS OF CANADA PARLIAMENT SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE". RECORD OF THE SENATE OF CANADA. Report of the Committee: pg.22. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  3. ^ Lawson, William Joseph (10 March 1959). "PROCEEDINGS OF CANADA PARLIAMENT SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE". RECORD OF THE SENATE OF CANADA. Report of the Committee: pg.22. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Lawson, William Joseph (10 March 1959). "PROCEEDINGS OF CANADA PARLIAMENT SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE". RECORD OF THE SENATE OF CANADA. Report of the Committee: pg.22. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Hayden, Salter A. (10 March 1959). "PROCEEDINGS OF THE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE". Journal of the SENATE of CANADA. REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE: pg.4. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "MAUD DEPARTS FOR POLAR SEA : Amundsen's Expedition Sails From Seattle on Scientific Quest in Arctic". The Daily Colonist. Vol.150: pg.1. 4 June 1922. Retrieved 29 May 2017.