Skip to content

Metal Shoulder Titles of the Royal 22e Regiment

December 14, 2013

by Clive M. Law

In early April 1951, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion of the Royal 22e Regiment wrote to Army Headquarters to point out a discrepancy between the General Orders and the metal regimental title currently on issue. In his letter, Lt-Col L.F. Trudeau wrote that General Order 203 of 1941 states that the title should read ‘R22eR’ and that ‘the Ordnance issue badges for the R22eR do not bear the ‘E’ required by General Orders.’ Lt-Col Trudeau suggested, rather than change the titles, that the GO be amended.

This unexpected missive caught AHQ by surprise and an examination of both the GO and an actual example of the title in question was ordered. However, AHQ did not hold an example and one was requested from the Regiment. On 9 July, AHQ replied that the title was in accordance with Orders and that the measurements of ¼ inch for the ‘E’ and ½ inch for all other letters, and a width of 1 ¾ inches, were all in accordance with the General Order. The letter closed with the comment ‘In view of the above, the comments of the Commanding Officer, 1st Bn Royal 22e Regiment are not understood.’

The title worn by ORs of the Royal 22nd Regiment. The CO of the 1st Battalion believed that the 'E' should be represented in a lower case 'e'.

The title worn by ORs of the Royal 22nd Regiment. The CO of the 1st Battalion believed that the ‘E’ should be represented in a lower case ‘e’.

Shortly thereafter, the General Officer Commanding Quebec District weighed in by pointing out that the original order suggested that the (uppercase) ‘E’ should actually be a (lowercase) ‘e’. However, nothing came from this and both sides agreed to disagree.

It would be another five years before the question of metal shoulder titles for the R22eR was raised and, when it was, it again originated with the Regiment. In September 1956, Maj-Gen J.P.E. Bernatchez, General Officer Commanding (GoC) Quebec Command and a former CO of the Regiment, wrote on behalf of the Regimental Senate[1]

Bernatchez, in his role as GoC, wrote to support the Senate’s recommendation that metal and cloth shoulder titles include the Battalion numeral. HQ did not immediately deny the suggestion but instead asked the Regiment to report on their stock of existing titles, an estimated cost to produce new titles if approved, and the length of time it would take to acquire these. At the same time it was pointed out that this would increase the number of titles from one to six.[2]  This seeming willingness was surprising as wartime policy was to avoid using battalion numbers on insignia[3]

Within two months approval was given for numerals to be added to the titles and the CO of the R22eR Regimental Depot was asked to review two proposals and to sign and return the design favoured by the Regiment. These two designs differed in having the numeral precede the Regimental abbreviation, or be placed above it. The chosen design was the latter and the dimensions were described as ‘letters ¼ inch high with the exception of the ‘E’ which is 1/8 inch in height.’ The width was to be one inch.

One of two designs submitted to the R22eR. This one featured the battalion numeral preceding the title.

One of two designs submitted to the R22eR. This one featured the battalion numeral preceding the title.

Examples of the accepted design. None has been found for the 4th or 6th Battalions although they were most likely produced.

Examples of the accepted design. None has been found for the 4th or 6th Battalions although they were most likely produced.

In approving the drawing the CO of the Regimental Depot identified that the title was to be made of brass for Other Ranks but ignored specifying the material for titles worn by officers and Warrant Officers First Class and stated in an accompanying letter that the new design would not be worn by officers or WO 1.

In response to a follow-up letter from AHQ, Maj-Gen Bernatchez informed them that the officers of the Regiment had worn a specific metal title since 1920 and ‘it would seem advisable that its use be continued.’ A sample of the title in question was included. Nonetheless, Bernatchez admitted that review of correspondence failed to uncover any information on how the badge came into use but it was requested Orders and Instructions for Dress be amended in order to authorize its continued use. The badge in question featured a crown above the R22eR.

The problematic title. This pattern was taken into wear in 1920-21 but with no authority for its use.

The problematic title. This pattern was taken into wear in 1920-21 but with no authority for its use.

Once seen by AHQ, the R22eR title for officers caused concern. The use of the Crown on any insignia requires the approval of the Monarch and there was no evidence that such permission had ever been sought in the over 35 years that this title was in wear.  When asked to explain its history the Regiment was at a loss. No records existed and it was evident that the badge had been brought into use without any approvals – at any level.

A comparison of the sizes of the two titles. As officers wear rank stars it was not possible to make the title much larger.

A comparison of the sizes of the two titles. As officers wear rank stars it was not possible to make the title much larger.

In an effort to further uncover the history of the title Bernatchez communicated with a number of retired officers as well as with the curator of the regimental museum.  None could remember a formal request and all believed that the title dated from the era when the Regiment’s named was changed from 22 Infantry Regiment to Royal 22 Regiment.[4]

Further complicating the issue was a request from the Regiment to retain Tudor Crown (informally termed the King’s Crown) in lieu of adopting the St. Edward’s Crown as was dictated by Army Order 64-5 of 22 April 1953. The Regiment argued that the King’s Crown was taken into wear shortly after they had been awarded the title ‘Royal’ by H.M. King George V, in 1921. They included in their submission that the Regiment was formed under that King’s reign and was the first French-Canadian regiment to be made part of the Permanent Force. Under H.M. King George VI it was the only regiment to stand guard at Buckingham Palace formed completely of soldiers of non-British extraction (in 1938) and saw the Regiment grow from one battalion to three during his reign.  Based on these points the Regiment sought permission to retain the Tudor Crown. Existing documents do not include AHQ’s answer to this request but it is known that the Crown did indeed change to the St. Edward’s Crown.

In November 1957, the Royal 22e Regiment made a formal request for retention of the historic metal shoulder title stating;

‘This Regiment is very proud of the fact that it is the first French-speaking Regular unit formed in the British Commonwealth and is most desirous of displaying its loyalty to the Crown by the addition of the Crown in the officer’s metal shoulder badge.’

Accordingly, the Governor General corresponded with Buckingham Palace and, on 17 December 1957, Government House confirmed that Her Majesty The Queen had given her approval. The badge is still worn today by officers and Chief Warrant Officers of the ‘Van Doos’.

This drawing, from the Royal Warrant, shows the badge worn since 1958 and still in wear today.

This drawing, from the Royal Warrant, shows the badge worn since 1958 and still in wear today.


[1] A Regimental Senate is usually comprised of the serving Battalion/Regimental commanders as well as previous COs and the Honourary Colonel. They act as a Board of Directors for the Regiment.

[2] At the time the R22eR consisted of five battalions, numbered 1 to 4 and 6 as well as a plain title for members posted to the Regimental Depot and those assigned to extra-regimental duties.

[3] Some exceptions existed, most notably that of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion.

[4] Correspondence from 1926 show that there was a concern about the actual translation of the Regimental name. General Order 149 of 1922 gave the French translation of Royal 22 Regiment as ‘22e Regiment Royal’ which, when translated back into English would read as ‘22nd Royal Regiment’.  Records indicate that the translation was supplied by the King’s Printer and they were duly informed. Of interest is that the titles clearly stated R22eR and a note on the file shows that no title was approved for wear by officers. This would indicate that the ‘crowned’ title was in wear as early as 1926.

You can ‘rate’ this article by clicking on the stars below.

From → Badges

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: