September 17, 2013
By Joanna Calder
Following the national Battle of Britain ceremony, held in Ottawa on September 15, 2013, Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin unveiled the Royal Canadian Air Force’s new badge before a crowd of veterans, RCAF personnel and guests.
Two cadets from 742 “National Capital” Air Cadet Squadron, located in Ottawa – Flight Corporal William Lambert, 14, and Leading Air Cadet Anne-Florence Lambert, 12 – assisted him. The brother and sister knew they were participating in a significant and historic event.
It was “amazing”, said FCpl Lambert. LAC Lambert agreed, saying, “I was very proud.”
“While we are the youngest of the three services,” said LGen Blondin in a message to RCAF personnel earlier this year, “we have a unique military history, proud traditions, powerful symbols and a strong sense of community.
“Now is the time for us to build upon our heritage, to strengthen the unique identity of the modern RCAF and to better understand our history.”
The design of the new badge recalls the pre-unification badge design and shows an eagle flying with its wings outstretched. It replaces the Air Command badge that came into being following the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968 and that displayed an eagle rising from a Canadian astral crown.
“The new RCAF badge mixes pride in the past with contemporary spirit,” continued LGen Blondin. “The eagle flying solo in all environments is a reflection of the confident, experienced, resilient, agile and integrated RCAF.”
The Royal Canadian Air Force retains the Air Command motto, Sic Itur Ad Astra (“such is the pathway to the stars). This is, in fact, the Air Force’s very first motto, adopted when the Canadian Air Force was formed in 1920. Sic Itur Ad Astra was replaced by Per Ardua Ad Astra (“through adversity to the stars”), the motto of the Royal Air Force, when the Royal Canadian Air Force came into being in 1924.
Since the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, all Canadian Armed Forces badges have displayed the St. Edward's Crown (or Queen's Crown), rather than the Tudor Crown (or King's Crown) that was used during the reigns of her father and grandfather
Read more about the new badge’s design and genesis in the fact sheet on the new Royal Canadian Air Force badge.
Focus on the bird
The bird depicted on the badge has been the subject of much debate over the years, with some insisting it is an albatross and others maintaining that the bird is an eagle. Though the origins of this debate are murky, that has never stopped a heated argument! To set the record straight (again): it is an eagle.