• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

The Wearing and Location of The Poppy- Uniform/Civilian



A couple of years ago, the order came down the we were no longer to wear the remembrance poppy in our headdress, but "over our hearts" on our uniforms. A lot of serving soldiers resented this change and saw it as interference with a time-honoured tradition.

Where do you think it should be worn?

Edit to add BLUF:

Authoritative reference is here: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/pub/oth-aut/rd-js/doc/rd-js-eng.pdf
I believe that it should still be worn on the headdress, beside one‘s unit cap brass/badge. It doesn‘t make sense to me as to why the decision was made to change it. Correct me if I‘m mistaken, the tradition of wearing the poppy on the headdress was to signify respect to our war dead while saluting or otherwise.

-the patriot-
The decision was made by the CDS a couple of years ago because he was at a meeting with other government officials and everyone had a poppy on except for him (his was on his beret). He then questioned the practice and "presto" we have it on our tunics/shirts.

I fault the CFCWO (I can only guess what went on but I do have some indication from certain sources) at the time for not taking him aside and telling him it was WRONG to do this as the military has gone through to many changes to its traditions to be screwing around with another one.

What has happened? Alot of troops p*ssed off over something else the generals have done to them and another tradition gone because of percieved political correctness? Am I wrong in assuming that this is exactly what happened?

Remainder of the commonwealth still wears it on the beret!
I wonder if the General (I mean, general) would have a serious objection to the wearing of the poppy beside my Regimental cap badge? As I understand it the story previously posted is quite accurate and is with out a doubt one of the most flagrantly ignorant commands given to the CFCWO regarding dress regulations.

I will be quite happy to take a charge of disobeying a lawful command and giving an unlawful order when it comes time to wear my meagerly respectful symbol next to my Cap Badge. I would respectfully suggest that we all, silently but blatantly, disregard the order of convenience and continue to wear the poppys as we always have. Perhaps the best place to give that unlawful order would be at the cenetaph before the Old Comrades, the Alumni and the Fallen. What say you?

Dileas Gu Brath
There is an old southern US hymn that has as part of the refrain...."sometimes it causes me to tremble...tremble...tremble". The whole question of the poppy and where it should be worn is just one of those things that makes me tremble. In the military headress has always been seen as a mark of distinction, either to earn the rite to wear a particular form of headress, ie. the marroon beret, or the more elaborate bearskin of the guards. The military takes its symbols very seriously. If you look in the dress regs you will find a whole host of things we can wear in our hats....some of it would really make you wonder however, to some it is a matter of great pride. Imagine the humble leek...it is worn by some of the finest soldiers in the world....on their headress. In our understanding of showing respect and commeration, the headress playes a unique role, more so than placing things on the tunic. I couldn‘t imagine any other military simply changing the placement of a poppy because they thought others might question their show of support of the fallen. If, as a general officer, your convictions can be so easily shaken then mabey you should take off your headress and give it back. Your wearing of a uniform should speak volumes to others about the respect and understanding you have of the sacrifices made by our fallen. To think that changing the position of a poppy so that it better suits the requirements of NDHQ is a facile decision based on nothing but poor self image and, an improper understanding of how the military shows respect for itself and others.
Such a decision really does cause me to tremble, not just for what it has changed but more importantly because those who made the change did so for the poorest of reasons. AS for me I think I will start putting roses, leeks, shamrocks, and anything else in the book just to prove a point....and as for the poppy. It goes next to the cap badge, not as a sign of disobedience but, as a mark of respect and an acknowledgement of a debt of rememberance. So, put that in your hat!
Before you start a rebellion or are charged with treason, I think the safer route to go is simply to voice your objections next time a unit officer, CO, Brigade Comd, General Officer visits and asks you how its‘ going. Tell them the truth.

As I stated above its simply a small thing (really does it matter where you wear your poppy? - Its the act of remembrance that is the symbolism) but it is seen as one more of the militaries traditions struck down by the faceless Ottawa bureaucracy.
Count me in for the side which favours wearing the poppy on our headdress ... where it belongs.

Members of the military should, and must respect traditions which set them apart from the civilian populace (despite pressures from anarchists and politically correct, petty-minded bureaucrats).

Hypothetically, if I were ever to have been in a situation whereby I was wearing a uniform at a meeting with a bunch of civvie pukes who were wearing their poppies on their lapels, I‘m quite confident nobody in the room would have dared questioned me as to my commitment to the memory of our fallen comrades. The simple fact that I would have been loyal enough and professional enough to wear a uniform would have been adequate testament as to my respect for those who have gone before.

"The Soldier Trade, if it is to mean anything at all, has to be anchored to an unshakeable code of honour. Otherwise, those of us who follow the drums become nothing more than a bunch of hired assassins walking around in gaudy clothes . . . a disgrace to God and mankind."
- Carl von Clausewitz, 1832

Dileas Gu Brath
M.A. Bossi, Esquire
This goes hand in hand with now being allowed to wear decorations on the overcoat on Rememberance Day, to match the practice of Legionaires who do the same thing. I don‘t see a problem in changing "traditions" when the rationale for the tradition has been long gone. Sergeants used to carry spontoons into battle, but I wouldn‘t expect to see one either in the field or on ceremonial parade. I therefore don‘t see a problem in displaying decorations on Rememberance Day. While the Canadian Army has never displayed decorations on overcoats in its history (as far as I know), other armies such as the French and the Russians have done so.

As for poppies; Military dress standards come directly from the civilian world. The old Service Dress jacket is a direct relation to civilian lounge coats from the early years of the 20th Century. Spats worn by Highland regimens are a descendant of the "spatter dashers" that every gentleman wore with his shoes. The necktie in regimental colours, the collared shirt, padded shoulders, and many other items of dress come directly from civilian fashions. When viewed from that perspective, it makes a little more sense to relocate the poppy to the lapel, matching the practice of civilians, the majority of whom no longer wear hats. (Thank John F. Kennedy for that).

I do recognize the importance of military headgear and all the traditions surrounding it (taking it off when on charge parade or in the mess, the wearing of maple leaves, cock feathers, shamrocks, leeks, roses, etc., according to tradition). I also agree with the comment that simply being in uniform should clue anyone in as to your dedication to this country and your respect for those who died in its service.

But I don‘t see the relocation of the poppy as terribly troubling. If anything, it makes the poppy visible when the headdress is not worn. Even when worn on the glengarry or wedge cap, the poppy didn‘t stand out very much, and could only be viewed from one side.

My problem is not so much the location as the method of attachment; why the Legion hasn‘t changed the stick pin to a push pin and "dammit" backing, I‘ll never understand. Working in combats with the stick pin over your heart can be both painful and troubling (when the damn thing falls out and you have to go buy another one lest someone find you "improperly dressed").

Perhaps a solution to this would be a compromise - wear the poppy in the headdress, and when headdress is not worn, wear it on the lapel? Then when you go to a meeting or work in an office, your poppy would be visible - otherwise, it is in your headdress where traditionalists would prefer it.
That‘s exactly what I was going to suggest. In fact that‘s
what I do now. It‘s a bit fumbly, but there‘s less chance
that the poppy will fall off your headress when your out and
about than the tunic.
Actually, the reason the poppy position was changed, I am assured by the head cheese of the Legion at the national level, was because the veterans had made an issue of it. I know this because I e-mailed him about it 18 months or so ago and his response was quite pointed. I have no doubt that our CDS simply bowed to the pressure from the Legion members and issued the order accordingly.

My original point was that we have been wearing the poppy on our headdress for a great many years (longer, in fact, than the vast majority of our surviving veterans have been alive). That they should suddenly decide that the headdress of the serving members is not the appropriate place for the poppy to be worn is their prerogative. However, I don‘t feel we should jump every time someone says we should. I think we should first pay some regard to our traditions (which are rapidly being stripped from us) and to the earlier generations of veterans who are now gone and who were, apparently, quite happy with us wearing the poppy on our headdress.

Nope, I have to say that I will not be issuing any seditious orders. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing things and as soon as you stop playing by the rules of the establishment, not only are you no longer a player, but you are also in very hot water. It is also somewhat ridiculous to suggest that this issue is important enough to forsake our oaths of allegiance. My suggestion, is to make our voices heard on the issue, either via the chain of command, or to our respective MPs and legion reps, so we may obtain a democratic solution. In the mean time we bite the bullet and soldier on. To do otherwise is an affront to our forebears.

Dorosh‘s idea is a quite reasonable solution in my mind, though it could be a pain in the neck entering and exiting buildings, etc. where headdress is not worn.

Not to dig up old news, but it's that time of year again and though it is a moot point now, I wonder if the poppy-on-headdress was strictly army or if we sailors did it, too?

And on which side of the cap badge was it worn? 
What a load of bollocks.

The poppy is an extremely important dress distinction: therefore it should be worn all the time. If you put it on your headdress, it will spend large portions of the day on a desk or hatrack.(and that includes for people in field units when in barracks or Armoury) If, on the other hand you put it on the tunic/shirt,(where we put other important things like medals and decorations,) it' always visible. The poppy in the the hat almost always seemed to fall out or get twisted about, and had a nasty habit of blowing away on windy parade squares, as parade squars often are in November.

I really wouldn't panic: traditions are constantly being developed (every tradition started somewhere, right?) or modified. We still respect what the poppy stands for, we still wear it on our uniforms, and  Nov 11 is still an important day. Cheers.
Perhaps a minor point, but if the poppy is on the headdress, then I found it is less prone to damage due to jacket on / jacket off. As well, this necessitates only acquiring one poppy, instead of 3 or 4 (one per layer). True, the beret may be off the noggin for a part of the day - but would you object to a veh tech / AVN tech NOT wearing a poppy when up to his / her armpits in grease?
I also recall when the change occurred, someone pointed out that we were not to pierce the gortex jacket with anything - hence the poppy on the rank epaulet. I lost more poppy's that way :(
WRT push pins - I took push pins from the metal rank tabs (name escapes me) , polished it, and used it in place of the skin stabbers. It looks a lot smarter, and it holds the poppy in place much better. As well, there is a small craft store that sells push pins with heads that look like the whole centre of the poppy. I have one and it stays on better, and looks even smarter.

LEST WE FORGET. :cdn: :salute:

(P.S. Thank goodness for spell checkers! :blotto:)
Remainder of the commonwealth still wears it on the beret!

Yes, but the poppy they wear is also significantly different. What I'm trying to say is that we in Canada have already modified the tradition slightly, by using the stylized felt-stamped poppies we wear today. So another modification of the tradition, like wearing it on the lapel, is not unprecedented.

Modifiying a tradition to give it more value - i.e., wearing it in a place where it will be more visible and worn more often - is a positive thing. I don't have a big problem with it - I'm glad we have the tradition in the first place. It's something our American friends are missing out on, I think.

The poppy is an extremely important dress distinction: therefore it should be worn all the time. If you put it on your headdress, it will spend large portions of the day on a desk or hatrack.(

    Exactly, and if the CDS is on TV and he is seen without a poppy on, as it would be on his beret, do you think Canadian public would understand why? No, I don't think they would.
The real question should be : operationally, where is the best spot for the poppy? ;D
The real question should be : operationally, where is the best spot for the poppy?

  Again, right above the slip on. Operationally, while in camps head dress is rarely worn, you have to show the poppy all the time.
Rounder said:
   Again, right above the slip on. Operationally, while in camps head dress is rarely worn, you have to show the poppy all the time.

I agree, a poppy wouldn't look right in your helmet, however with the slip-on, you chance getting stuck with the pin becoming a casualty

rifleman said:
The real question should be : operationally, where is the best spot for the poppy? ;D

Nowhere near my uniform, it's FOD. We even have our slip ons sewn onto our flight suits, so having a poppy that can easily become dislodged is not a good idea on the flight line. To my knowledge, and I'll check on this tomorrow, we don't wear poppies on flight suits.

ARMYboi69 said:
The best spot for the poppy would be the Beret. During Rememberance Day is the only time you wear a Poppy, and when you're out with your Corps on Remembrance Day, then your headdress will always be on anyway ;)

Actually, you're supposed to wear it from the 1st of Nov until Remembrance day, so you would probably wear it prior to Nov 11th and no, your headdress isn't always on, you take it off when inside the Legion.

As a side issue: where do you put your poppy after the parade on Nov 11? It seems wrong to me to throw them out. In our unit we pin it to some MacKenzie tartan above the bar in the mess.