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 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.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
“The Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association (CPVA) does not approve nor condemn the purchase and wearing of private commemorative medals and other insignia by its members. However, CPVA members should exercise good judgement regarding the sentimental value of these unofficial commemoratives versus the greater value of the official service decorations which they wear in public. These medals and devices are not recognized by the Government of Canada and are not listed in the official order of precedence. Members are hereby advised that such commemorative devices are to be worn over the right breast only and may not be juxtaposed with official service medals or affixed to the ribbons thereof. Members are further advised to consult the official website of the Governor-General of Canada.
It has been rumoured that Colonel Ethell is soon to be made an honorary Colonel in the CF. I wonder if there is an RSM out there who will be brave enough to confront Ethell on his host of errors in wearing Canadian orders, decorations and medals?
Several readers from Alberta have expressed the view that their Lieutenant Governor just doesn't care about the rules. I have no idea if this is the reality of the situation, however in the New Year the plan is to send this blog out to a few media outlets -- it seems that public attention to the total lack of respect for the regulations governing the wear of Canadian medals is the only tool we have to get this erstwhile Colonel/Lieutenant Governor to follow the rules... rules that he spent a highly successful career in the service of his country following. Sadly Ethell's knowledge and regard for what is proper (in terms of wearing medals) appears to have evaporated in civilian life.
|All is correct.|
|Why wear the CC lapel pin?|
The Governor General has been spotted "doubling up" on honours by wearing his CMM, medal bar and Order of Canada lapel pin. While this is a relatively minor infraction, it should be dealt with as wearing a Order's lapel pin with other full size or miniature insignia is improper.
A few readers have sent me photos taken on Remembrance Day, I encourage others to do so in advance of a posting on the subject.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
|Miniature medals are in the wrong place, just look at the|
Aide de Camp to see where they should be worn.
Above is a great example of His Honour wearing mess dress with his various accoutrements as "fashion accessories." First off the dress instructions are clear; miniatures are worn 1 cm below the notch of the lapel, not in the middle of the chest. Point seems to have done this to accommodate his Lieutenant Governor's Badge, which is not approved for wear on any CF uniform. Why didn't the Aide de Camp included in this photo not correct Captain(N) Point? Too caught in the magic of the moment no doubt.
|Two neck gongs at a time.|
At least in this photo Mr. Point has managed to wear the correct ribbons on each of his neck insignia! It is not even worth speculating on the mystery medal worn on the right side in this photo.
Several readers have flooded me with photos galore, too many to post here. Unfortunately 8 times out of 10 Point is wearing his medals incorrectly. When in CF uniform Captain(N) Point has only managed to get things right 1/10th of the time.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
|The Hon. Don Ethell. Layering of miniatures is not a Canadian practice.|
The last 2 medals Ethell is wearing are unofficial "assocation" awards
and shouldn't be worn with official honours.
|At a distance all looks fine, but wait, |
what is that he is wearing around his neck?
|The Order of St. John worn with the ribbon of|
the Order of British Columbia
|Full size medals with lapel pins? Where is his OBC? |
Mr. Point seems to like the mix and match approach.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
|Ribbons upside down, where is his aiguilette |
and where is his head-dress?
|Ribbons clearly in the wrong order. Upside-down!|
|A grey undershirt -- it should be white? |
Where is his aiguillette?
|Ribbons upside down again, |
where is his aiguillette, and he
shouldn't be wearing the
Lieutenant Governor Badge
|Investiture length ribbons are fine for those who were just awarded the OBC, |
but NOT for the Lieutenant Governor. He has had almost 3 years to shorten the length of his ribbon, nevertheless he persists with the olympic style ribbon.
|Miniatures during the day? Where is his neck badge for the OBC or Order of St. John?|
|What is the mystery medal at the neck, |
why is this man's Jubilee Medal being worn in the armpit?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
|The Hon. Don Ethell|
Monday, October 25, 2010
First off, you CANNOT wear the medals of a deceased relative -- EVER! If you do you are breaking the Law and you can be fined or go to jail under Section 419-10 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Next, only wear official national honours on the left, and if you have association medals or other unofficial or unrecognized awards they can only be worn on the right side. The Royal Canadian Legion seems to have done a solid job of ensuring that most of its members wear their Legion Medals on the right side, and their official national honours on the left.
|Mr. Chadderton, a good example, |
real medals on left,
unofficial ones of the right.
Mounting these fake medals in with official national honours is a violation of Order-in-Council 1998-591, which prohibits this sort of self-agrandizement. More evidence of the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. Now some readers may be of the mindset that "this person served Canada in the Second World War, Korea or in the Cold War, who are we to go after them for adding something." Well, the fact is that their contemporaries didn't dress up their medal groups with "fake medals," if they were serving members of the CF they would be charged for wearing "fake medals" and it is just patently wrong to engage in this sort of behaviour.
|How not to wear your medals.|
|Where is H.E.'s CC?|
|Even the CC was rarely worn.|
Sunday, October 24, 2010
|Duchesne, a good example|
|Lee, another good example|
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
|Honorary Deputy Commissioner of the OPP|
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.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
|Excellent work, everything is correct!|
As the mandate dragged on Lafond almost completely ceased wearing his Order of Canada, perhaps he felt embarrassed that he collected one of Canada's highest honours for civil achievement through the accident of marriage (why the spouse of the Governor General gets a free CC makes little sense to me, but that is another issue altogether).
|Where is Mme. Jean's Order of Canada?|
|Make up your own caption for this photo!|
|Where is her CMM and DStJ Star?|
Lastly we have a photo of Mme. Jean wearing miniatures. This is great, aside from the fact that this photo was taken in the middle of the day -- and you don't wear miniatures during the day. Photos taken following a recent Order of Canada investiture reveal Jean wearing her miniatures on a 45 degree angle to follow the collar of her dress, more treatment of honours as fashion accessories. Jeanne Sauve would not be impressed!
For keen readers here is a photo of the star that Mme. Jean should be wearing. Things are in a pretty sad state when a Governor General is going around incorrectly dressed while in CF uniform -- even the Commander-in-Chief of Canada needs to follow the dress regulations.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
While he may be the most decorated peacekeeper in Canadian history he doesn't know how to wear his medals at all. First off his medal bar is twice the length allowed by CF regulations. If the Duke of Edinburgh can overlap his medals, surely Colonel Ethell can do the same. Next there is the issue of two neck orders. In civilian attire you are only allowed to wear one at a time, yet this Lieutenant Governor is doubling up, as though he is a recently returned athlete from the Beijing Olympics, wearing all his gold medals. It just looks utterly ridiculous. We all know that Colonels are difficult to control but surely someone can offer this otherwise distinguished Canadian some direction on the proper wearing of his many orders, decorations and medals. You would think that a retired Colonel would be at least peripherally aware of the rules and regulations for wearing his various honours -- especially as they are so plenteous in this case.
|The Hon. Myra Freeman in centre front.|
|ADF Champion Shot Medal|
Wearing one bow on each side is never appropriate. In this photo we have Senator Wallin wearing her Saskatchewan Order of Merit on the right and her Officer of the Order of Canada on the left. You can just see the red and white ribbon of her OC in this photo. Bravo to the Senator for wearing her Orders on bows, but please in future wear only one at a time, and wear it on the left!
Here we have yet another example of the highly problematic nature of putting civilians into a military uniform. Wallin is wearing only 3 insignia, yet she is wearing all of them incorrectly. Let us start with the easy part. The Golden Jubilee Medal should be court mounted and worn higher and be centred. The Officer of the Order of Canada bow should not be pinned to a neck ribbon, the OC insignia should be unclipped from the bow and put on a neck ribbon that should be worn at the neck (ribbon under the collar of the shirt), the badge should rest just below the knot of the tie. The Saskatchewan Order of Merit should similarly be unclipped from the bow and worn on a short ribbon that protrudes from the top button of the tunic.
Here is a wonderful picture of Major General The Honourable George R. Pearkes, taken while he was still Lieutenant Governor of BC. Despite being a Companion of the Order of Canada, Companion of the Order of the Bath, Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John and Commander of the Legion of Merit (US) -- thats a total of four neck orders he held -- Pearkes always followed the rules and only wore what was appropriate. In this case it was one neck order and his medal bar. Here is an example that others could well emulate. Notice that Pearkes had just been awarded the CD in this photo.
I understand that Rohmer has been told repeatedly that he is only allowed to wear two neck orders at a time, yet he insists on wearing three, which just looks silly. Here we see him with his OC, CMM and OOnt. Thankfully he did not add his fourth neck order to the mix here (his KStJ). Even illustrious heroes of the Second World War have to follow the rules. When in CF uniform the rules are all the more important because you are setting an example for your subordinates and peers.