Tartan Day - April 6th
Jenn Gearey, Canada's Air Force,
The Air Force tartan, or Scottish plaid,
designed with blue, maroon and some white color, was adopted by the Air
Force (‘Royal Canadian Air Force' at the time) in 1942 by the Lord Lyon
King of Arms of Scotland and is still used proudly - from clothing to
airplane décor - today.
"The RCAF Tartan has been used as curtains
in Air Force transport aircraft décor, drapes in messes and other
institutes and as wearing apparel, such as the tie worn by Air Force
Association members with the blue blazer and grey slacks," says Captain
Brendan Bond, an Air Force historian at 1 Canadian Air Division.
"Additionally, Air Force Personnel continue to wear an Air Force Tartan
cummerbund and bowtie with their Mess Kits."
The distinctive Air Force tartan has been
worn by both wartime and postwar Air Force pipe bands, and continues to be
worn today by Canadian Forces Air Command and other Squadron pipers and
"It symbolizes the proud Air Force Heritage
of those who served before us, and continue to serve with distinction
today and in the future," says Capt Bond.
The search for a tartan began in Prince
Edward Island at a ‘Robbie Burns Night' mess dinner when a Nova Scotian
Commanding Officer with Scottish ancestry decided that an Air Force
Scottish Highland pipe band should be established and that their dress
should be as colourful as a Scottish tartan but with Air Force colours.
Without delay, the Commanding Officer began
to sketch a tartan design and using red and blue pencils, a sample tartan
was created and sent for approval through the Air Force.
In May 1942, the Air Council viewed the
sample tartan, accepted it with minor changes relating to the shades of
blue, and the Air Force tartan was then officially registered in Scotland
in August of that year.
Some dispute exists regarding the degree of
involvement between two firms in the creation of the tartan. Some have
indicated that the Loom crafters of Gagetown, New Brunswick created
original samples, others contend that the firm of W.M. Anderson of
Edinburgh was commissioned to design the tartan and he chose to model it
on his own Anderson clan tartan.
One thing is for sure however.
"The RCAF tartan was the first from outside
of the British Isles to be recorded in Edinburgh, Scotland by Lord Lyon,
King of Arms," says Capt Bond.