Author Topic: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread  (Read 69817 times)

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Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2008, 12:15:03 »
Pictures speak so much louder than words -- especially erroneous words. And many, many words have been expended trying to prove that the Red Ensign was "not seen" in the First World War.

The most notable was from the mouth of former PM Lester Pearson, who twice misled the House of Commons in the 1964 flag debate when he said that the Red Ensign was "not seen" in France during the First World War.

Apart from misinformation, the other tactic used by the Anti-Red Ensign Brigade is to abuse or demean the Red Ensign. For example, Gord Jenkins saying in his last post that the Red Ensign on the podium at Vimy in 1936 is "droopy." In fact it is obvious that it is attached to the railing on the podium. The crowd below can see clearly the top half is a Union Jack, the bottom half is bright red - the distinctive Canadian flag that everyone could recognize at the time.

Here is an artist's view of the victory parade in Paris in 1918. Note the prominent Canadian Red Ensign that is being carried by our victorious troops. Art speaking truth to denial.




Offline Proud_Newfoundlander

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2008, 21:44:41 »
Pictures speak so much louder than words -- especially erroneous words. And many, many words have been expended trying to prove that the Red Ensign was "not seen" in the First World War.

The most notable was from the mouth of former PM Lester Pearson, who twice misled the House of Commons in the 1964 flag debate when he said that the Red Ensign was "not seen" in France during the First World War.

Apart from misinformation, the other tactic used by the Anti-Red Ensign Brigade is to abuse or demean the Red Ensign. For example, Gord Jenkins saying in his last post that the Red Ensign on the podium at Vimy in 1936 is "droopy." In fact it is obvious that it is attached to the railing on the podium. The crowd below can see clearly the top half is a Union Jack, the bottom half is bright red - the distinctive Canadian flag that everyone could recognize at the time.

Here is an artist's view of the victory parade in Paris in 1918. Note the prominent Canadian Red Ensign that is being carried by our victorious troops. Art speaking truth to denial.





Very Nice Bannerman

Offline gordjenkins

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2008, 22:24:10 »
artists can be fanciful cant they
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

as for the 'Vimy so called flag'
The Red Ensign was presented to this Museum in 1918 to commemorate the Canadian achievement at Vimy Ridge by Lieutenant Colonel Lorn Paulet Owen Tudor of the Saskatchewan Regiment, who commanded the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion from 29 June 1917 to 8 March 1918.
David Penn
Keeper, Exhibits & Firearms
Imperial War Museum


Canadian red ensign in Imperial War Museum (Canada)

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ca_wwimu.html


Vimy exhibit]
courtesy Imperial War Museum through Gordon Thompson

[Vimy flag]
contributed by David Penn through Gordon Thompson
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In a the quote by Former Prime Minister, Lester Pearson in "Canada's Flag - A Search for an Identity" , it is noted:: "The Red Ensign, though many of my correspondents do not seem to appreciate this, was not used during World War I in anyway, shape or form for the Canadian forces".

I have some concerns about this statement. The photo above is the flag donated to the Imperial War Museum in 1918 to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge along with back-up information. The flag is a Red Ensign. Also I have seen photographs in Canadian history books covering WW1 displaying the Red Ensign with Canadian Forces. I also recently purchased a Canadian flag from a collection from an American serviceman who served with the Canadian Forces in WWI. It also is a four shield Canadian Flag. I believe this refutes the above statement and displays that the Red Ensign was used by Canadian Forces (primarily the Army) in WWI.

I believe that Lester Pearson served in the Royal Flying Corp which was entirely British, since the RCAF was not formed until 1924. The only distinctive Canadian forces that served overseas in WWI was the Army. I also believe the former Prime Minister's statement was somewhat politicized due the ongoing debate at that time versus those who wanted the new flag and those, including the Canadian Legion, who wanted to retain the Red Ensign.

The Red Ensign has served this country well both in an official and un-official capacity. For those of us born under it, we mourned its passing. The new Maple Leaf flag has served us well since 1965, but I believe the old Red Ensign deserves it fair shake for the period of time it represented this country.
Gordon Thompson,

Canadian red ensign in Imperial War Museum (Canada)

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ca_wwimu.html




CA (R) ret'd

Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2008, 11:06:07 »
Showing the flag on the Western Front:


Offline bannerman

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The Red Ensign on the Western Front 1915-1918
« Reply #54 on: April 17, 2008, 13:23:07 »
Showing the flag on the Western Front. "A new concept of Canadian nationality is born."



This and other pics can be viewed at http://bannerman2.googlepages.com/home

Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #55 on: April 17, 2008, 13:37:16 »
Sir Arthur Currie unveils a monument to the Canadian Field Artillery at Vimy in 1918.

showing the Canadian Flag of that time, bearing a shield with the arms of the nine provinces.



For better detail, see the Canadian Heritage website, which offers a poster called the "Evolution of the Canadian Red Ensign" at http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/posters_flags_e.cfm

Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #56 on: April 17, 2008, 13:42:11 »
Available from the Department of Canadian Heritage at http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/posters_flags_e.cfm

Evolution of the Canadian Red Ensign (1870-1965)


Drapeaux du régime français (1534-1760)

Offline Yrys

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2008, 13:47:13 »
I suddendly feel that my history course was lacking, never heard of  "Drapeaux du régime français (1534-1760)".
And I'm pretty sure to be young enough to have had one that was rewrite by the P.Q. ...
Louvre website

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Offline DeweyDecimalSystem

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #58 on: April 17, 2008, 14:16:29 »
I suddendly feel that my history course was lacking, never heard of  "Drapeaux du régime français (1534-1760)".
And I'm pretty sure to be young enough to have had one that was rewrite by the P.Q. ...
Covering 4000 years of history in 180 days of school leaves little time for flags.

Offline Yrys

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #59 on: April 17, 2008, 14:27:27 »
Covering 4000 years of history in 180 days of school leaves little time for flags.

I had an history course for the 4000 years in secondary 2, but my secondary 4 was on "history of Canada" and we saw
the Québec and Canadian flags (how they came into being), and the hymn of Canada, etc.

digression : I had a professor of economic in my  secondary 4 history course, and a professor of history in my secondary 5 economic course.
                One teacher said that it was because of "ancienneté" (lenght of service, seniority) .
Louvre website

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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #60 on: April 17, 2008, 19:54:11 »
Rally to the colours! 

That was probably a cry often heard in the cities and towns of Canada between 1914 and 1918.  Unfortunately those who answered that call were not available to attend the re-dedication ceremony in question or to give their opinion about which flag they rallied to.  Their response may have been different from those who gave their opinion on this thread.   It may have been different from the colours under which they swore allegiance.  Saying that the "Red Ensign" was the flag they fought under is easy for those who came after to say.  But at the time the “official” flag was the Union Flag.  This was probably very familiar and the symbol to follow for most when they enlisted for overseas service as the population of the young nation was heavily of British ancestry (or were actually immigrants from the British Isles).

However, as it is said that Canada became a "nation" on Vimy Ridge, many of its soldiers probably felt some stirring to distinguish themselves from the British Army and thus used the Red Ensign much like many of us (well, those of my generation) used the maple leaf flag on backpacks to identify us as “not being American”.  Though it has been reported that the Red Ensign was popularly used in Canada before and during the war, a quick review of contemporary recruiting posters seems to suggest that the Union Flag was frequently used to entice potential recruits.  (any examples using the ensign that I found are shown) (click on image for larger view)






(edited to add this image)


And also in Victory Bond campaigns


And it seems that Canada's image of itself was somewhat similar in the next war.

   

« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 20:37:24 by Blackadder1916 »
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Offline RangerRay

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #61 on: April 17, 2008, 20:23:49 »
It appears the Red Ensign was used as early as 1891 in election advertising...

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Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2008, 12:54:18 »
First World War poster


Offline geo

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2008, 13:28:04 »
First World War poster
Looks like the kind of poster that would have been printed and distributed about the time of "post VIMY RIDGE", end of WW1.

When Canada went to war in 1914, there were some Canadian reservists but, a large part of the 1st contingent were Brit expats who had emigrated here and were being called back to the colours - to defend their homeland.... sorta thing.  Using the Union Jack made a lot of sense.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 13:32:00 by geo »
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Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #64 on: April 21, 2008, 10:52:29 »
The Maple Leaf Forever, circa 1918


Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #65 on: April 21, 2008, 10:57:44 »
Don't we already have enough red ensign threads?

It was a grand old flag and deserves our respect, but not two or three threads worth, thank you.
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Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #66 on: April 21, 2008, 20:48:57 »
Hmmm ... 4070 readers  ... yeah we had better hide this thread in the history section!


Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #67 on: April 21, 2008, 20:52:07 »
Hmmm ... 4070 readers  ... yeah we had better hide this thread in the history section!


Hmmm, the sum total of the readers of the five or so merged threads, most of which would have been viewed by the same members each time a post was added to each of the separate threads. 

Isn't discussion on the red ensign actually a historical topic?


Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #68 on: April 21, 2008, 20:58:09 »
Some of the threads are historical, but I think the original GordJenkins thread should go back into the news section where it began (i.e. Vimy 2007 and follow up).

The "Historical Flags of Canada posters" are also news - they are brand new posters that were created in 2007 and they are available from Heritage Canada now. They just published "Military Flags of Canada in the 20th century" last month...

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #69 on: April 21, 2008, 21:32:15 »
Some of the threads are historical, but I think the original GordJenkins thread should go back into the news section where it began (i.e. Vimy 2007 and follow up).

The "Historical Flags of Canada posters" are also news - they are brand new posters that were created in 2007 and they are available from Heritage Canada now. They just published "Military Flags of Canada in the 20th century" last month...

2007?  Isn't the past, history?  While a comtemporary event (though new posters from the gov't hardly seems 'news' worthy) may seem that it should be placed in "Military Current Affairs & News" the subject matter being discussed in this thread deals with history.  The history of an event and the historical use of a flag.  The controversy of flags at the Vimy re-dedication ceremony may have been suitably a current event at its time (or more aptly a topic for Canadian Politics) but it has moved on.  The amount of traffic that it might attract in another forum should not be a criteria for its placement.
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Offline ArmyVern

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #70 on: April 21, 2008, 21:37:55 »
This merged topic makes it much easier to find in a search too.

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Offline bannerman

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #71 on: April 21, 2008, 23:04:39 »
"None of us saw a Canadian Red Ensign in those years." - Lester Pearson, Prime Minister, to the House of Commons, 30 June 1964.


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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2008, 08:01:09 »
IIRC... As you get old, memory is the 2nd thing to go......
I can't rememebr what the 1st thing to go.
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #73 on: April 25, 2008, 17:08:14 »
      or     

In battle all appears to be turmoil and confusion, but the flags and banners have prescribed arrangements. (Sun Tzu, Art of War, c. 700 B.C.)

The symbolism of a flag.    Men and women have fought and died for what such a piece of cloth represents.  Some have performed outrageous acts for the sake of what they “perceive” it to mean and some have ascribed a greater significance to the flag than to the people (individually and collectively) it represents.  Canada has a long history of trying to figure out what it means to be “Canadian”.  For much of our history we were identified as being just a small (perhaps minor) part of a greater empire or by what we were not. “We’re (or not) British”.  "We’re not American”.  And of course the “duality” of our founding has added to the discussion.  Our use of flags has been just a reflection of that dilemma.   So what was that reflection years ago, when flags were used much more than today as a national rallying point or identifier in times of war.  Examples of a flag, either the Royal Union Flag or one of the many versions of the Red Ensign , being used in recruiting advertisements or on rare occasions in the field overseas have already been posted here.   But who rallied to what colour?

http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/disp/dis001_e.html
Quote
Fully two-thirds of the men of the first contingent had been born in the British Isles. Most had settled in Canada in the 15-year period of massive immigration which had preceded the Great War. The same attachment to the Mother Country was less obvious among the Canadian born, especially French Canadians, of whom only about 1000 enlisted in the first contingent. At the time war was declared, only 10 percent of the population of Canada was British born. Yet, by the Armistice in 1918, nearly half of all Canadians who served during the war had been born in the British Isles. These statistics indicate that voluntary enlistments among the Canadian born were never equal to their proportion of the population.

Following the despatch of this first contingent, the Department of Militia and Defence delegated the task of recruiting to militia units across the country. This decentralized and more orderly system raised a total of 71 battalions — each of approximately 1000 men — for service overseas. Posters, which appeared in every conceivable public space, were an important part of this large recruiting effort. The poster text and images were usually designed and printed by the units themselves and tailored to local conditions and interests. Many of the posters on display are good examples of these.

Recruitment, however, was already tapering off in the fall of 1915. In October of that year, Ottawa bowed to the pressure of patriotic groups and allowed any community, civilian organization or leading citizen able to bear the expense to raise an infantry battalion for the CEF. Some of the new battalions were raised on the basis of ethnicity or religion, others promoted a common occupational or institutional affiliation or a shared social interest, such as membership in sporting clubs, as the basis of their organization. For example, Danish Canadians raised a battalion, two battalions recruited "Bantams," men under 5 feet 2 inches tall, and one Winnipeg battalion was organized for men abstaining from alcohol. Up to October 1917 this "patriotic" recruiting yielded a further 124,000 recruits divided among 170 usually understrength infantry battalions.

In July 1915, with two contingents already overseas and more units forming, Ottawa set the authorized strength of the CEF at 150,000 men. Extremely heavy Canadian casualties that spring during the Second Battle of Ypres indicated that additional manpower would be required on an unprecedented scale. There would be no quick end to the fighting. In October, Borden increased Canada's troop commitment to 250,000; by the new year, this had risen to 500,000. This was an almost unsustainable number on a voluntary basis from a population base of less than eight million. Within months, voluntary enlistments for Canadian infantry battalions slowed to a trickle.

Unemployment had been high in 1914-1915, and this perhaps had prompted the initially heavy flow of enlistments, especially from economically-troubled Western Canada. By 1916, the booming wartime industrial and agricultural economies combined to provide Canadians with other options and employers competed with recruiting officers for Canada's available manpower. Those keen to volunteer had already done so; the rest would have to be convinced — or compelled.

By the end of 1916, the CEF's front-line units required 75,000 men annually just to replace losses, which were extremely heavy among the infantry; yet, only 2800 infantry volunteers enlisted from July 1916 to October 1917 and not a single infantry battalion raised through voluntary recruitment after July 1916 reached full strength.

Some additional examples of recruiting posters.  Probabably from early in the war when the Union Flag may have been more prominently used. (and helmets were not)

         

However some (from Central Recruiting Committee, No. 2 Military Division, Toronto, 1915) made use of both flags.

     


And there were also some very specific recruiting campaigns such as this one aimed at Jews.  Though this poster may have been a copy of an British one which may explain the use of the Union Flag.
 

Quote
Britain expects every son of Israel to do his duty
Poster shows a soldier cutting the bonds from a Jewish man, who strains to join a group of soldiers running in the distance and says, "You have cut my bonds and set me free - now let me help you set others free!" Above are portraits of Rt. Hon. Herbert Samuel, Viscount Reading, and Rt. Hon. Edwin S. Montagu, all Jewish members of the British parliament.
Text continues: Enlist with the infantry reinforcement for overseas under the command of Captain [Isidor] Freedman, Headquarters, 786 St. Lawrence Boulevard, Montreal.
A version was also used with the text in Hebrew


Of course not all recruiting advertisement made use of a flag, some provided some very sensible information.




Use of the Red Ensign during the war.     


This small photo is identified as “Mobilization camp in Vernon, B.C”.  While the date is unclear, it appears to be an ensign flying from the flagpole.

There is some well known film footage of Canadian soldiers crossing the Rhine at Bonn and passing General Currie on the saluting dais.  Though it is not clear from this out take (couldn’t find one from a different perspective) of the flags flying, this (NFB) description of the film made by the Canadian War Records Office, Ministry of Information provides some info.



Quote
This footage documents the arrival in Bonn of British cavalry units on December 12, 1918, and the arrival the next day of the 2nd Canadian Division. Events are not depicted in their actual sequence. A segment filmed along a country road showing Currie taking the salute from passing troops — some on horseback and others pushing bicycles — was probably shot in the Bonn area during the same period. This is followed by scenes shot at the Canadian Corps Headquarters, where Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig is paying a formal visit. In a separate segment, a travelling shot shows a line of mounted Canadian staff officers.

December 13 was the date set by the Allies for crossing the Rhine — an event with even greater significance than crossing the German border. . . .

The following day, under pouring rain, the men of the 2nd Canadian Division, commandeered by Major-General Sir H.E. “Harry” Burstall, entered the city. The parade of troops was 18 km (eleven miles) long and took over five hours to cross the bridge. Some scenes from this momentous event are documented here — in the sections that show Currie standing on a dais to the left of the bridge. Although the clip does not depict the parade in its actual sequence, we know that troops marched in order of seniority. . . .

Note the presence of a small Canadian Red Ensign on the dais — one of the first instances of its use by the Canadian Army in the field, and a sign of the greater sense of Canadian nationhood that had emerged over the course of the First World War. The Union Jack, the flag normally used by Canadians during the war, can also be seen, to the left of the frame.

Though it has already been shown that the Canadian Red Ensign had been occasionally used (either officially or unofficially) during the war, it is significant that such a description of its use was made for this widely viewed film footage.

But use of flags extended beyond recruiting campaigns and patriotic symbols to stir the nation.  It also was a symbol of past and faithful service when the guns were silent.



Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King laying a wreath during Remembrance Day Service on Parliament Hill, Nov. 11, 1937, Ottawa.   Note the many Union Flags lining the steps, perhaps held by veterans displaying the flag under which they served.


General Currie’s 1933 funeral procession.  Though he has been recognized as partially responsible for ensuring that the Canadians during the Great War were identified as being distinctly Canadian, he is laid to rest under the flag which he served.

And Currie was not the only one laid to rest under the Royal Union Flag.  Though I wasn’t able to find any photos of  overseas military funeral ceremonies, there is this description of the military funeral of N/S Forneri.

http://www.johnowensmith.co.uk/churches/bramshoi.htm
Quote
Sister AGNES FLORIEN FORNERI
NURSING SISTER'S BURIAL - The late Miss Forneri of Kingston Given Full Honors - Particulars have come to hand of the funeral obsequies of the late Nursing Sister Agnes Florien Forneri, who died in the Canadian Hospital, Bramshott, on the 24th April (1918). Miss Forneri was buried with military honors, every battalion in the camp being represented.  The coffin was draped with the Union Jack and was borne on a gun carriage, her hat resting on the top among the flowers. The six officers who were pallbearers, and the senior chaplain, Major Hepburn, followed. Then came the matron of the hospital and the nurses and a large number of patients, her own and others, some of whom could hardly walk, and who carried several lovely wreaths and other floral tributes, among which was an enlarged maple leaf composed of white and yellow flowers, given by "her boys" as a token of affection and esteem. The service (Anglican) was conducted by the senior chaplain, the first part in the hospital and the remainder beside the open grave in the nearby churchyard of Bramshott church, a beautiful burying ground, which look more like a garden than a cemetery. There was a large firing party, and at the end, "The Last Post" was sounded. All was most beautiful and impressive, the band contributing its exquisite strains to the pathetic and solemn effect, and then the burial. The spot in which Miss Forneri lies, with another devoted sister, is in a special part of the cemetery which has been set aside for Canadian soldiers. These nursing sisters rest beside the men they served and for whom they gave their best. And it is most fitting that our dear Canadian sisters should be buried like soldiers and in a soldier's grave, for they are indeed as brave and true as any soldier and "faithful unto death."
Her name is here in the Book of Remembrance.

"Flag Flying" an editorial from the Toronto Mail and Empire of 5 June 1925
Quote
. . . ordinary flag owner need pay attention to are few and simple. For him is just one flag that can properly be flown; that is the Union Jack. The Red Ensign, called the Canadian Flag, with the Canadian Coat of Arms in the field is proper only afloat. . . . In hoisting the flag the broad white stripe of the Cross of St. Andrew should be next to the mast-head for if reversed it is an indication of distress. The flag should never be hoisted before sunrise, nor should it continue to fly after sunset.

And what was the view we wanted our neighbours to the south to have?

         

But then, Canada wasn't the only member of the British Empire that was beginning to assume an identity of its own with some similiar (though not as much) flag issues.

         

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Offline hunterphfr

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Re: The Red Ensign and Historical Canadian Flags thread
« Reply #74 on: May 30, 2008, 23:39:07 »
"None of us saw a Canadian Red Ensign in those years." - Lester Pearson, Prime Minister, to the House of Commons, 30 June 1964.




Let's not forget Lester had a political agenda, and the Red Ensign certainly had no place in it.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 23:45:03 by hunterphfr »