Canada Restores “Royal” to Air Force and Navy
The Canadian government under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that the Canadian Air Force and Canadian Navy are to regain their designation of “Royal”.
The then Liberal government removed the “Royal” designation in 1968 when they merged the three armed services into the Canadian Forces. Successive Canadian Governments have gradually unpicked the 1968 decision, due to its impact on the morale of the forces and the strength which flowed from their previous distinct identities.
General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, said that the decision to restore the names of Canada’s former services “is aimed at restoring an important and recognisable part of Canada’s military heritage”.
“These were the services that fought and emerged victorious from the Second World War and Korea and contributed to the defence of Europe and North America from the early days of the Cold War. These were also the services that paved the way in terms of international peacekeeping missions.”
The decision has delighted veterans groups who have conducted a five year lobbying campaign. The Queen remains popular as Canada’s head of state, and the recent tour by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stoked further interest in the monarchy.
“I think Canadians in general are going to be quite pleased and quite happy to have a little piece of their history back,” said Robert Finch, chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada.
This is welcome news and brings Canada back into line with other Commonwealth nations of which HM The Queen is still Head of State, after 43 years. It is to be hoped that Canada will in time restore the previous rank structure of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
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