"In 1913 further correspondence with the Inspector of Regt'l Colours of the College of Heralds discovered that the originally approved badge was not correct."
message 05 Jan 1972,
RCR Museum document package 14-4767-1983)
District No. 1
London, Ontario, 16th. October 1925.
To- Secretary, (Q.M.G.)
Dept. of National Defence
Cap Badges & Regimental Buttons
The Royal Canadian Regiment
In reply to H.Q. letter of 23rd. June, and with reference to my letter of 7th. July, I beg to forward herewith a design of the Crown which the Officer Commanding, the Royal Canadian Regiment recommends should be substituted for that at present appearing on the cap badges and buttons of the unit under his command.
The design now submitted is a tracing of one received by him from the College of Arms, with the information that it represents the only crown which was ever authorized to surmount or ensign the Victorian Cypher.
The O.C., The RCR states that whole designs of the badges and buttons have not been prepared because no change in them is recommended other than the replacement of the crown as above.
D.O.C., M.D. No. 1
(RCR Museum document 14-4767-1983)
Dec. 9th, 1925.
District Officer Commanding,
Military District No. 1,
LONDON - Ont.
Cap badges and buttons,
R. C. R.
Adverting to your [file number] 47-4-4 of the 29th October 1925, please note that the recommendation for the change of design of the crown on the badges and buttons for the R.C.R. is approved. However, it is not proposed to provide dies and tools for new badges etc., until the existing stocks of these articles for R. and F. are used up, but the necessary action will be taken when new supplies are required. the enclosure forwarded with your letter referred to above are returned herewith, together with nine photograph prints of the badge and buttons embodying the new design of the crown, as requested in your 47-4-4 dated 29th May 1925.
(RCR Museum document 14-4767-1983)
Although the enclosed photos were no longer with the found copy of the document, an accompanying copy of the letter had the following image photocopied over top of some of the letter text. This image shows the narrow based Imperial Crown design coupled with a style of VRI that, while heavier in text form than earlier badges, still shows the wrapped leg of the "R" which was lost in the eventual production of the block letters on the next 50+ years of Imperial Crown badges.
The first Imperial Crown badges are also shown in the graphics of the Maj. H.T. Cock Collection, as illustrated in the first volume of the Regimental History. Item number 46 in this full page illustration shows an early Imperial Crown design and states it was a "Rank and File Cap Badge" in use from 1926 until 1933 (when the volume was compiled). This is also the first appearance of the heavy block letters for the "VRI" cypher, replacing the finer "VRI" previously used.
A photocopy of a photo of the same array of badges and accoutrements (RCR Museum document 14-3059-1883/927) describes the same badge as "R. and F. Puggaree Badge, 1927." Accompanying text reads"
"It is satisfying to know that the cap badge and buttons worn by the regiment are now correct. The crown is correct, and the cypher in its distinctive form has been approved by the King.
"No collar badge or shoulder badges were worn by the regiment prior to 1894. In that year the badge of the Infantry School Corps with its motto "Pro Patria" was adopted as the collar badge.
"To ensure perpetuity of badges, it is essential to adhere to the patterns worn by officers. These being made by private firms, when new dies are necessary the old badges are copied exactly. With issue badges this is not always so; either for reasons of expense or other reasons, badges produced by Government Contractors vary considerably. Succeeding batches of badges and buttons are not always made by the same contractor. Uniform, badges and so forth, at first consideration appear to be of minor importance, yet like regimental history and traditions, it is by these means esprit-de-corps, morale, èlan and fighting efficiency is built up."
Despite that many variations on detail, finish and specific styles of front piece and star, one major aspect appears to divide these badges from the ones produced later. That difference is the styling of the crown, the earlier badges all exhibit a narrower base to the crown, and often a finer degree of detailing than the later badges of the 60s and 70s. During this period we also see some of the early attempts to develop an anodized badge which would resist tarnishing.
It is, however, as likely that the two patterns merely exhibit the work of two different makers, since very few badges to the RCR have even been makers' marked. According to the Regimental Museum's display, some differences are also as a result of the Regimental Store and the Quartermaster offering different badges from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Imperial Crown badges were of government manufacture and issued, while the St Edward's Crown badges were produced for the Regimental Store.
By T. Vicary (an excerpt)
The Connecting File, Volume XI, No. 3; July 1932
In the comparatively short existence of the regiment, some fifty different patterns of badges and buttons have been worn.
From a strictly regulation point of view the badges and buttons issued with the cypher of Queen Victoria, ensigned with the Imperial crown as granted by Her late Majesty, were wrong in design in every detail. The crown as issued was a five-arch crown instead of the Queen's low arch crown.
The cypher V. R. I. (Victoria Regina Imperatrix) on the helmet and cap badges, also the buttons, should have been an entwined V.R.
The Queen being Empress of India only, the "I" should not have been included. A1l the same, the regiment is intensely proud of the V. R. I. which now is borne by no other regiment in the British Dominions, and any attempt at change would be resented even as the change in the crown, which, though wrong, was resented in 1926.
In 1901 the regiment lost the V. R. I. and all attempts to have it restored were unavailing until 1919, when through the offices of our Colonel in Chief, His Majesty restored the V. R. I. to be worn on the badges and buttons in perpetuity.
It is satisfying to know that the cap badge and buttons worn by the regiment are now correct. The crown is correct, and the cypher in its distinctive form has been approved by the King.
No collar badge or shoulder badges were worn by the regiment prior to 1894. In that year the badge of the Infantry School Corps with its motto "Pro Patria" was adopted as the collar badge.
To ensure perpetuity of badges, it is essential to adhere to the patterns worn by officers. These being made by private firms, when new dies are necessary the old badges are copied exactly. With issue badges this is not always so; either for reasons of expense or other reasons, badges produced by Government Contractors vary considerably. Succeeding batches of badges and buttons are not always made by the same contractor. Uniform, badges and so forth, at first consideration appear to be of minor importance, yet like regimental history and traditions, it is by these means esprit-de-corps, morale, élan and fighting efficiency is built up.
Auth: Amdt No. 14, RCR Standing Orders 1927, Appendix 2, Part I, Orders of Dress, New Paragraph - 9.
Warrant Officers Class I and Warrant Officers Class II will wear officers' pattern cap badge. Cap badges will be worn with the lowest point of the star just touching the upper edge of the chin strap. (Collar badges and shoulder badges, no change.)
This decision [in 1919, for the Regiment to wear Queen Victoria's cypher,] settled one point, but there remained the difficulty in regard to the incorrect crown. This also was settled when, in 1927, Lieut.-Col. Seely Smith applied to National Defence Headquarters and received permission to change the crown from the inappropriate Hanoverian type to that actually used in the time of Queen Victoria. As a result, the Regiment's badges and buttons now bear the Imperial cypher, V.R.I., surmounted by the Imperial crown, though, on the Regimental Colour, the cypher borne is that of the reigning sovereign. - (pp. 212, The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1883-1983, R.C. Fetherstonaugh,1936)
10th May, 1939
Major General H.H. Matthews, C.M.G., D.S.O.
Department of National Defence,
My Dear General,
I have just received two enormous photographs from Windsor Castle………
The other picture is a large lithograph of Queen Victoria. The King heard privately that The Royal Canadian Regiment were very anxious to obtain such a portrait. They are, apparently, one of the few Regiments within the Empire authorized to use Her late Majesty's Cypher on their buttons. This, again, is a personal gift from The King and not connected with the forthcoming visit. I am forwarding it direct to Colonel Hollway.
(Sgd) A.S. Redfern.
From The Connecting File, April, 1947:
Early in 1940 at the Infantry Training Centre in Toronto, a unique Regimental cap-badge appeared on the scene. Cap-badges were in short supply and an enterprising R.C.R. recruit had his made to order. The metal-worker, who turned it out, however, made one error—instead of punching the Imperial Cypher "V.R.I." in the centre he substituted the letters "R.C.R."! The badge is now [i.e., 1947] believed to be in the collection of Major John Young.
From the 1947 edition of the Regimental Dress Instructions:
Caps forage NP of regimental pattern in English melton cloth will be worn by all officers on duty or parade, with the exception that caps beret, officers' pattern, will be worn on ceremonial parades.
2. Cap Badge
When worn on the NP cap the badge will be positioned so that the lowest point of the star is just touching the upper edge of the chin strap. The badge will be the Officers' pattern type.
DRESS WARRANT OFFICERS, S/SGTS, AND SGTS.
Warrant Officer Class II will wear caps NP in Barathea material when on duty or parade with the exception of ceremonial parades when all ranks will wear berets. NCOs will wear regulation issue berets.
2. Cap Badges
Warrant Officers will wear officer type cap badges on cap NP and beret. NCOs will wear the issue badge.
(RCR Museum Collection, document 14-780-1947)
Note: "Caps, NP" refers to "Naval Pattern" caps, i.e., forage caps.
THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT
OFFICERS' MEMO BOOK - 1952
4. A number of Officers are wearing the cap badge incorrectly on drab service peak caps.
The badge will be centred on the hat band with the top right and top left of the star even with the seam of the band.
The chin strap will be under the bottom point of the cap badge.
Extract from a brief concerning the crown on badges and insignia of The RCR prepared in 1953:
Authority for the RCR Crown varies. On the Regimental Colours, the Crown and Cypher of the reigning monarch must be borne. The original RCR cap badge was designed and approved at Militia Headquarters. The Militia list described in the badge of the Regiment as "The Royal and Imperial Cypher (VRI) surmounted by the Imperial Crown (G) 35, 1894). As with the colours, the Cypher was changed for successive monarchs (Edward VII - George V). In 1913 following correspondence between an officer of the Regiment and the then inspector of Regimental Colours, Sir Henry Farnham Burke, regarding the restoration to the Regiment of Queen Victoria's Cypher, it became known that not only was the Cypher originally employed not the Royal Cypher, but in addition the Crown on the cap badge instead of being the Imperial Crown was somewhat like a Hanoverian Crown worn during the reign of King William IV and continued in use by many regiments up to the year 1902. It was stated further that the letters VRI were incorrect in block and separated. The approved Cypher design had the letters entwined. The reason given for the use of VRI instead of the Royal Cypher was considered correct. Following submission by the Regiment, Royal approval was given in 1919 that the RCR may wear the Cypher VRI in perpetuity on their badges and buttons as notified in General Order 53 of 1919. In 1924 the Regiment advanced the proposal that the crown borne on the RCR badges and buttons which was not the Imperial Crown and in fact not even a British Crown, should be altered to the crown originally authorized in 1894, but never borne on the Unit badges. This proposal was approved and the badge now worn by the RCR was produced, the crown being patterned from a drawing received from the College of Arms together with the information that it represents the only crown ever authorized to surmount or ensign the Victorian Cypher. A copy of this design is attached together with a photoprint of the badge produced in 1925 or 1926. It will be noted that in each case and particularly the cap badge, these are good representations of the St Edward's crown as compared with the design authorized in 1953. CAO 64-5 Annex A refers.
(RCR Museum Collection, document 14-56-1925. The mentioned images were not duplicated along with the brief's text.)