The 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada formalized the association with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of the British Army in 1911 becoming officially “Allied” Regiments. The regiment was awarded its Royal designation in 1945, by King George VI. The name pays to tribute to Queen Victoria.
In 1961 upon amalgamation of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders with the Seaforth Highlanders to form the Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) continuation of the alliance was reaffirmed.
The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
In 1994 when the Queen’s Own Highlanders were amalgamated with the Gordon Highlanders to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons), the alliance was again reaffirmed with the new regiment in Scotland.
On 28 March 2006 the six regiments of the Scottish Division were merged into a single, five-battalion regiment titled The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Even prior to the official Formation Day, steps were taken to once again reaffirm the alliance.
In 1923 the Regiment formed an alliance with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, who had been raised as a rifle regiment in 1881 but converted into a Highland (kilted) regiment in 1920.
The dress of the Regiment is based upon the dress of the Scottish highlands and draws its traditions from the customs of the highlanders and the regiments of infantry raised there, especially from the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. Every effort has been made to preserve and enhance these traditions.
Cameron of Erracht Tartan
Tradition has it that when the 79th Foot were raised in 1793, Sir Alan Cameron’s mother, Marsali MacLean created a distinctive tartan for her son’s Regiment. She was the daughter of Ranald McDonnell and based the design on a mixing of the McDonnell and Cameron tartans.
The Blue Hackle
In 1939 the British War Office ordered that the standard battle dress would be worn by all units, abolishing the kilt as the uniform of a highland soldier in battle. When His Majesty King George VI inspected the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (of the British Army) in the field on 5 December 1939, the Camerons paraded in kilted order for their Colonel-in-Chief, who was notably impressed. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel D.N. Wimberley, suggested that if the regiment was no longer allowed to wear the kilt, it should be at least allowed to wear a white hackle behind the badge in the Balmoral as they had worn with the tropical helmet. The King agreed to the suggestion of wearing the hackle but suggested that as the Camerons were a royal regiment, Royal Blue was more appropriate. Eight hundred hackles were made up and the battalion wore them at Arras for the first time on 11 February 1940.
After the Camerons were withdrawn from Dunkirk (still in kilted order and consequently the last battalion to wear the kilt in action) wearing of the royal blue hackle was discontinued pending war office approval. It was finally approved in 1951.
Upon their arrival in England, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada adopted the blue hackle of their allied regiment. The Blue Hackle was worn sporadically throughout the war, but never officially approved. In 1945 His Majesty George VI approved the right of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada to wear the Blue Hackle.
The 79th and CEF Badges
The cap badge originally worn by the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Canada depicted a lion rampant imposed over St. Andrew’s Cross enclosed in a wreath of Maple Leaves on the right of the badge and Thistle on the Left. The Lion was encircled with the title “CAMERON HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA” with the regimental number 79 resting between his feet. At the top of the badge was the Tudor Crown and at the bottom a scroll with the Regimental motto – “ULLAMH”. This style badge is referred to within the Regiment as either the 1910 pattern or the 79th badge. The original cap badge, as with almost all of the original accoutrements, was manufactured in Scotland by William Anderson & Sons Ltd.
This badge was worn on the Glengarry and as a sporran badge on the undress and dress hair sporrans. A larger version of the badge was worn with a black leather backing on the feather bonnet.
The 79th badge was modified for wear by the three CEF Battalions the Regiment raised during the First World War: the 43rd Battalion CEF, 174th Battalion CEF, and the 179th Battalion CEF. The basic pattern of the badge was kept and the CEF Battalion number was substituted for the regimental number 79. Other minor cosmetic differences were made in various patterns of the CEF badges. Some replaced the “Ullamh” scroll with the title “Battn CEF Winnipeg”, and the 179th badge enlarged the size of the number, reducing the size of the lion rampant. There are three major patterns of the 43rd badge, only one for the 174th and two for the 179th. The CEF badges were made by a variety of manufacturers: Scully, Birks, Gaunt, Tiptaft, Roden, and McDougall to name but a few.
The 79th badge was worn by the Regiment from its raising in 1910 until 1920 when the numerical designation 79th was deleted from the unit’s title. In keeping with the Regiment’s new title the 79 was punched out of many of the existing badges. The 79th badge and both the 43rd and 174th Battalion CEF badges were worn with the number punched out during this period. A new badge was also manufactured without the 79.
The St. Andrew Badge
On 24 October 1923 the Regiment was granted the title “Queen’s Own” by His Majesty King George the Fifth. With this change the decision was made to adopt a cap badge more in keeping with the pattern worn by the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of the British Army. The official description of the new badge was:
The figure of St. Andrew holding in his arms a Cross, enclosed by a wreath of thistles and leaves; across the lower part of the wreath are scrolls inscribed: QUEEN’S OWN CAMERON HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA.
Despite being authorized by the War Office on 31 August 1925 and received by the Regiment on 24 February 1927, the new cap badge did not come to be worn until late 1930. The new cap and collar badges had been held in stores pending the acquisition of a new sporran badge to match. Finally the collar badges were issued in January 1930 and the cap badges towards the end of the year, with the sporran badge still yet to be acquired. The Sporran badge chosen was of the same pattern as worn by the Imperial Camerons.
The Royal Blue hackle was added to the new cap badge badge in 1940 after His Majesty King George the Sixth granted the distinction to our allied Regiment, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, while inspecting the unit in France during the “Phony War” period. This pattern badge continues to be worn today with the hackle. The primary manufacturer for this pattern was Scully although a particularly detailed stamping of the badge was also produced by Roden Bros. during the Second World War. The current issue badges are marked NEMO with a two-figure date on the back and are supplied to the unit through the Canadian Forces supply system, so the actual manufacturer is unknown to the Regiment.
Officer’s and Other Ranks’ Patterns
Officially no difference exists between the Other Ranks’ and Officer’s cap badges. Having said this, many officers have had badges privately commissioned for themselves in Silver, Sterling Silver, or Frosted Silver. Silver “Officer’s” badges exist for both the 79th pattern and the current pattern and also for all the CEF Battalions. Bronze was also favoured for CEF Officer’s badges. Many of the Officer’s badges were made by Birks here in Winnipeg or J.R. Gaunt in London.
Upon relinquishing command of the Regiment in October 2005, Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Walsh presented a set of ten silver cap badges to be issued to serving officers. These badges were manufactured locally in Winnipeg by Cal-Law and as far as can be determined, represent the first officer’s pattern cap badges in the history of the Regiment to be issued rather than privately purchased.
Metals of Construction
The 79th badge was made exclusively of white metal or silver for some Officer’s badges as mentioned above. The CEF badges were made in a variety of metals. The 43rd Battalion badges can be found in white metal, brass, copper, bronze, and silver and in some cases plated or “pickled”. The 174th badge was made in white metal and brass. The 179th badge was made primarily in white metal and white metal or silver-plated copper or bronze. Some un-plated bronze versions also exist. The St Andrew pattern badge was originally made exclusively of white metal with the exception of privately commissioned badges made in silver. Recently, when the procurement of accoutrements was centralized in Ottawa rather than left to the individual unit, a chrome plated, stamped brass cap badge came to be issued for all ranks.
From 1910 to 1929 the regiment wore a smaller version of the cap badge as collar badges. The collars were approximately and inch and a half in height (4 cm). The 79th collar badges came in left and right with the lion facing right and left respectively (inwards).
The original collar badges of the 43rd Battalion CEF followed the common CEF practice of using a maple leaf with a crown, the regimental number and Canada. In addition to the usual devices included on CEF collar badges, the 43rd added the title CAMERONS. Later 43rd Battalion collars adopted the 79th’s practice of using a miniature of the cap badge. As with the 79th collars the second pattern 43rd Battalion CEF collars came in left and right with the lion facing right and left respectively (inwards). When the 174th Battalion CEF was raised the collar badges adopted from the onset were a miniature of the cap badge with a left and right (lion facing inwards). The most notable difference between the 174th collar badges and the other “Lion Rampant” patterns was the size. Whereas the 79th collars and 43rd Battalion collars were an inch and a half high, the 174th were much smaller being just an inch in height. The 179th Battalion departed from the both the regimental and CEF patterns completely choosing their own unique pattern. The 179th collar badge consists of the number 179 surrounded by a banner with the title “Cameron Highlanders of Canada”. The banner is surmounted by a Tudor Crown, flanked on the left by a pair of Maple Leaves and on the right by a sprig of thistle. Under the Maple Leaves is the title “Overseas”, under the thistles is the title “Battalion” and under the banner is the title “Canada”.
When the decision was made in 1923 to adopt new accoutrements more in keeping with the pattern worn by the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of the British Army, the collar badge chosen was of the same pattern as was then worn by the Imperial Camerons – a thistle surmounted by the Tudor crown. With the ascension of Queen Elizabeth the Second to the throne in 1952 the collar badges were changed to a thistle surmounted by the St Edward’s Crown accordingly.
Four patterns of Shoulder Title have been worn by the Regiment. The 79th wore a brass title “79th” over “CAMERON” curved downwards. The CEF Battalions wore a variety of shoulder title, the most common being the general issue CANADA title which was made in brass, copper, and bronze. The Numbers 43, 174 and 179 were also worn respectively. When the Numerical designation was dropped a brass title “CAMERON” was adopted which was of identical pattern to that worn by the British Regiment. Both these patterns of shoulder title fastened with lugs/cotter pin. Upon unification of the Forces in the late 1960s metal shoulder titles were no longer worn. When Distinctive Environmental Uniforms were re-introduced in the late 1980s a modern version of the shoulder title was adopted. The style of lettering is different from the older brass titles and the badge is finished in gold plating. The first issue of the post unification shoulder titles fastened with pins rather than lugs. The most recent issue fasten with screw posts.
When the Battledress was first issued, the Regiment wore the brass “CAMERON” title on the epaulette. Once overseas in 1940 the brass title was replaced with a slip-on and the universally worn “CANADA” cloth shoulder flash. Two variations of the slip-on exist: one titled “CAMERONS” over “CANADA” and the second just “CAMERONS”. Sometime in 1941/42 the “CANADA” shoulder flash was replaced with the division and brigade patch as worn by CEF units in the First World War. The brigade patch was discontinued in 1942 but the division flash (the Royal Blue rectangle of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division) continued for the duration of the war. A unit flash was adopted for wear with Battledress in late 1942 and continued to be worn by the Regiment until 1951. The pattern worn by the unit was a rounded rectangle in royal blue with the title QUEEN’S OWN in white over CANADA in yellow, over CAMERON HIGHLANDERS in white. In 1951 this title was replaced with a green flash with yellow lettering and red borders, curved downwards which was worn until 1973.
With the unification of the forces the green “CF Tunic” was adopted to replace Service Dress. No brass shoulder titles were to be worn with the new tunic and initially only the CANADA shoulder flash was worn. In 1981 the unit resurrected the old blue unit flash to replace the CANADA on the CF Tunic. With the re-introduction of different uniforms for each of the elements in the late 1980s, the CF Tunic was replaced with the Army green and tan DEUs (Distinctive Environmental Uniforms) and the shoulder flash was again discontinued. The blue shoulder flash came into use once more for a brief time with the introduction of the “Garrison Dress” jacket in the early 1990s. With the abolition of “Garrison Dress” in the late 1990s, the shoulder flash once again ceased to be used.
When the olive green combats came on issue to replace battledress in 1974, slip-ons were issued with unit designation. Over the years there have been five different version of unit title worn on the combat slip-ons: The first, originally worn with the twill bush dress prior to unification had a buff CAMERON on an olive green background (1960s and 1970s); the second a green/gold CAMERONS on an olive green background (early 1980s); the third a green/gold CAMERON on a dark green background (mid 1980s until mid 1990s); the fourth a gold/green CAMERON on an olive green background (mid 1990s until 2003) and the current titles a gold/green CAMERON on CADPAT background.
With the retirement of service dress and the adoption of the CF uniform in the 1970s, CF slip-ons were issued for wear on the CF shirt, overcoats and the Work Dress uniform. Initially slip-ons had unit flashes sewn-on. The titles were black felt with CAMERON in gold. When Garrison Dress was adopted to replace Work Dress, the slip-ons were worn on the Garrison Dress shirt and a CANADA slip-on on the Garrison Dress Jacket, the rule being that units with a unit flash on the shoulder could only wear CANADA slip-ons on the Garrison Jackets and units without a flash could wear unit titled slip-ons. In the late 1990s, the title CAMERON came to be sewn directly on the slip-on.
The original buttons worn by the Regiment when it was raised came in two sizes: 18 mm and 24mm and in two patterns, officer’s and other ranks. All were in brass depicting the Lion Rampant with the Regimental number 79 below and the title Cameron Highlanders of Canada around the outside of the button. The officer’s pattern differed from the other ranks in that they had a raised rim around the edge. A third type of button was worn exclusively on the waistcoat of officer’s mess kit. These buttons were gilt with a silver lion rampant and were just 12mm in size.
During the First World War the 43rd Bn wore brass buttons of exactly the same pattern as the 79th pattern but with the battalion number 43 replacing the 79. The 43rd Bn buttons had two sizes: 18mm and 25mm came in officer’s and other ranks patterns matching those of the 79th . The 174th and 179th Bns had no unique buttons of their own, both wearing the 79th buttons.
When the Regiment changed badges to resemble those of our allied Regiment new buttons were eventually procured as well. These brass buttons, which came in three sizes: 18mm, 20mm and 25mm, matched exactly the pattern worn by the Camerons of the British army depicting the Tudor (King’s) crown over the Scottish thistle and the title Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders around the outside of the button. When the Regiment went overseas in 1940 the 1st Battalion adopted distinctive buttons. These were brass, 18mm and 24mm in size and depicted St Andrew and his cross with the title 1st Bn below and Camerons of Canada above. The 2nd Battalion in Canada continued to wear the Imperial Cameron pattern buttons, as did many replacements who joined the 1st Battalion overseas.
With the ascension of Queen Elizabeth the Second to the throne in 1952 the Regimental buttons were changed once again. The “Queen’s Crown” buttons also closely followed the pattern of the Imperial Cameron buttons. They were brass and came in three sizes: 16mm, 19mm, and 25mm. They depict the St Edward (Queen’s) crown over the Scottish thistle and the title Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. Currently an anodized version of the “Queen’s Crown” buttons are issued in two sizes: 17mm and 19mm.
Robbie Burns Dinner
Held the closest available Saturday to Robbie’s Birthday January 25th, the Robbie Burns Dinner is a mixed dinner hosted by the Warrant Officers and Sergeants and is open to all members of the Regimental Family and guests.
Every year the Regiment holds Church Parade as close as possible to the first Sunday in February to commemorate the raising of the Regiment on 01 February 1910. The Regimental Church is First Presbyterian Church located at 61 Picardy Place in Winnipeg (the corner of Canora Street and Picardy Place – one block South of Portage Avenue on the East side of Vimy Park).
St Valentine’s Day Massacre
In 1996 then Lieutenant Dennis Desrochers proposed an all-ranks floor hockey game be held pitting the Junior Ranks (Private to Master Corporal) against the Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (Sergeants and up). The date chosen for the even was February 14th – Valentine’s Day. The event was a great success and has become an annual event held on the parade night closest to 14 February.
1996 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
1997 – Junior Ranks
1998 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
1999 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
2000 – Junior Ranks
2001 – Junior Ranks
2002 – Junior Ranks
2003 – Junior Ranks
2004 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
2005 – Junior Ranks
2006 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
2007 – Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers
Each summer the Regiment holds its Annual Reunion on the weekend closest to 19 August to commemorate the Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942. The reunion weekend generally consists of a meet and greet on Friday night, the Annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, and Church Parade and a farewell luncheon on Sunday.
Officer’s Mess Dinner
Every year the Officer’s Mess Dinner is held on the weekend closest to 26 October to commemorate Robert Shankland’s winning the Victoria Cross at Bellvue Spur on 26 October 1917.
Regimental Christmas Dinner
A custom peculiar to the military is the Christmas tradition of role reversal. The youngest member switches places with the commanding officer for the day, the officers serve dinner to the non-commissioned members and they in turn serve dinner to the stewards. All these activities stem from the ancient Roman custom of Saturnalia.
The festival of Saturnalia honours Saturn and falls at the same time as Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice and/or Kwanzaa. Christmas decorations such as swathes, garlands, wreaths and tree ornaments began with the merriment of Saturnalia.
During the time of Saturnalia slaves and children got to be waited on for meals, lead the rituals, and participated in the revelry as if they were their parents/masters. The parents/masters jokingly played the part of children and slaves by waiting on them. The role reversal was symbolic as slaves were not really free to make decisions as free persons nor were children able to enter into contracts or make business deals. Role reversal was only for minor privileges.
As with the ancient Romans the Canadian Forces today practices role reversal in terms of minor privileges and in the spirit of good cheer. Although, the origins of the custom cannot be traced to any specific event or even time period, it has however become a ‘standard’ practice from at least the 18th Century.
Before the introduction of mechanization and sophisticated systems of logistics in the 20th century, enlisted personnel occupied much of their time in tedious routine. In an effort to boost morale, and to show general appreciation for junior ranks, officers took it upon themselves to organize celebrations for the enlisted ranks. One tradition that has been preserved over the ages has been Christmas dinner. Officers and senior non-commissioned officers not only organize the dinner, but they also prepare and serve it to the junior ranks of their unit. When the dinner is over their task is not complete until they clean up the cafeteria.
On this special occasion, one tradition can be found throughout the Forces during the Christmas season. During these festive times, rules are bent in a playful way. The Commanding Officer switches roles tunics with the youngest member of the unit. This soldier then becomes the honourary commander for the dinner.
Each December the Regiment holds its Regimental Christmas Dinner. In addition to serving members, the dinner is attended by former members belonging to the Cameron Association and the Regimental Advisory Board. The dinner is served to the soldiers and guests by the officers and senior non-commissioned officers of the Regiment. After dinner, the Commanding Officer presents any Unit Achievement Awards or Commanding Officer’s Commendations from the year and the Regiment’s Annual Awards are made to the Soldier of the Year, the Top Corporal, and the Russ Miller Memorial “Cameron of the Year”.
New Year’s Levee
The Regiment starts each new year bright and early, meeting at the mess New Year’s morning for PeeWees (Scottish meat pies) and Scotch Broth. The Officer’s and Warrant Officers and Sergeants each gather in their respective messes. The two alternate each year in hosting the other for a New Year’s toast.
The serving stand of Colours are kept in the Officer’s Mess when not on parade. Retired stands of Colours are laid up in the Cameron Chapel at the Regimental Church.
The Geddes Brooch
Captain John Geddes was the first Cameron officer killed in action during the First World War. Serving with Number 3 Company of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), Captain Geddes fell during the second battle of Ypres on the night of 22-23 April 1915. So well regarded was Geddes by the men of his company, that they commissioned a broach modelled after the Cameron Officer’s crest in precious stones and presented it to his widow. The Geddes Broach is now held by the Regiment, and is loaned to the Commanding Officer’s wife for wear on special Regimental occasions.
The Reid Brooch
The J.Y. Reid Brooch is a jeweled version of the 174th Battalion collar badge. Reid was the commanding officer of the 174th and later an Honourary Colonel of the Regiment. The brooch was purchased from the Reid estate by Major Bill Grey on behalf of the Cameron Advisory Board and is designated for wear by the wife of one of the Regiment’s Honouraries.
The Senior Subaltern’s Stick
The Senior Subaltern is entitled to carry a blackthorn stick that was brought back from Africa and donated to the Regiment by Major Reid to be used as a symbol of that appointment.
The Commanding Officer’s Dirk
When placed on the table in the mess, is a sign that all may speak freely under the CO’s protection. An earlier form of this tradition had the CO’s sgain dubh passed from officer to officer, allowing the holder to speak his mind. This was likely amended as attempts were often made to keep the sgain dubh away from those whose opinions were unpopular.
Originally a Regimental Shooting Trophy, His Nibs must sit on the head table of any dinner the Commanding Officer presides over. Typically, these are the Officer’s Mess Dinners and the Men’s Christmas Dinner each year.
The two pewter cups used by the CO and the Pipe Major to make the Toast to the Regiment at mess dinners. The Toast to the Regiment is made with neat Scotch Whiskey, each quaich holding three ounces.
Portrait of Lieutenant S.A. Chopp
Commissioned to represent the typical Highland soldier for use as a wartime recruiting poster in Scotland, the portrait was painted in Britain during the Second World War by Jadwiga Walker, a Polish artist who took the painting back to Warsaw with her in 1945. The subject, Lieutenant Stan Chopp of Winnipeg, is reputed to have destroyed a German tank with a PIAT and was killed during the fighting in Normandy. In 1964 the portrait was secured on behalf of the Regiment by Colonel Peter Bingham who came across it while serving as Canadian Military Attaché in Poland. The portrait currently hangs in the Deputy Commanding Officer’s office.
Pipes and Drums
|Regimental March Past:||Pibroch o’ Donuil Dubh|
|Regimental March:||The March of the Cameron Men|
|A Company March:||Blue Bonnets Over the Border|
|B Company March:||A Hundred Pipers|
|C Company March:||Glendaruel Highlanders|
|D Company March:||Bonnie Dundee|
|HQ & Support Company March:||The Muckin’ O’ Geordie’s Byre|
|Administration Company March:||Queen Elizabeth|
|Reveille:||Johnny Cope & Up in the Morning Early|
|Retreat:||Point of War|
|Lament:||Flowers of the Forest|
|15 minute call:||High Road to Garroloch|
|5 minute call:||Jenny’s Bawbee|
|Leaving Station:||79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar|
|Lights Out:||Sleep Dearie Sleep|
|March on/off:||appropriate Company Marches|
|March on/off the Colours:||The March of the Cameron Men|
|General Salute:||Loch Leven Castle*|
|Inspection:||Morag of Dunvegan & Davie Adamson|
|March Past:||Pibroch o’ Donuil Dubh|
|* Standardized throughout the Canadian Forces. The Regimental tunes used prior to standardization were Point of War and Lord Lovat’s Lament respectively.|
The motto of the Regiment is the Gaelic word “Ullamh” which means “Ready”.
Toast to the Regiment
Pipe Major toasts: “Slainte agus sonas de reiligh an regiment, agus du na cardan acha”
Commanding Officer responds: “Slainte du piobar”
Toast to Fallen Comrades
The Lament (Flowers of the Forrest)
one minute silence
4th verse of Binyon’s For the Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
All reply “We will remember them”
Toast: Gentlemen, “To Fallen Comrades”
Response: “To Fallen Comrades”
Regimental dinners are scheduled 1830 for 1910 to commemorate the Regiment’s raising in 1910.
Forms of Address in the Officer’s Mess
In keeping with Highland tradition, all Regimental officers, regardless of rank, address each other by their first names in the mess. The only exception is the Commanding Officer, who is addressed as Colonel by all.
09:36 Cameron Standard Time
Back in the summer of 1978 during a Militia Concentration (MILCON) in Dundurn, Saskatchewan H-Hour for the final attack was scheduled for 09:36. The troops had been out patrolling the night before and as 09:36 came and went, the majority of the patrols had not yet returned. H-Hour was repeatedly delayed until finally sometime after noon, the officer in charge proclaimed, “It is now 09:36! Get the attack in!”. For years afterwards, when asked what time it was, members of the regiment would simply reply “09:36” which came to be known as Cameron Standard Time.
Authorized Company Colours are as follow:
When the unit is not at full wartime establishment, Company Colours are combined as follows: