Saturday 1 July 2023

Canada Day / Dominion Day - Dale Redekopp

Dale Redekopp is a retired pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces. This is his Canada Day / Dominion Day post.

Dominion Day was a day commemorating the granting of certain countries Dominion status — that is, "autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations". It was an official public holiday in Canada from 1879 to 1982, where it was celebrated on 1 July; that date is now known as Canada Day

The Canadian Red Ensign served as a nautical flag and civil ensign for Canada from 1892 to 1965, and later as the de facto flag of Canada before 1965. The flag is a British Red Ensign, with the Royal Union Flag in the canton, adorned with the shield of the coat of arms of Canada.

During the Second World War on 10 November 1943, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) ordered that the Canadian Red Ensign “be flown in addition to the RCAF Ensign, at all units of the RCAF serving with forces of other nations.

On 5 September 1945, an order-in-council extended the authorization to use the Ensign on federal government buildings within Canada and abroad. This included lowering the Union Jack from atop the Peace Tower in Ottawa. It had been flying there for over 40 years. The Canadian Red Ensign (the new design bearing the 1921 coat of arms) was raised in its place. The same order dictated it would be appropriate to fly the Ensign “wherever place or occasion make it desirable to fly a distinctive Canadian flag.” This stipulation remained in effect until Parliament adopted an official national flag in 1965. 

On 8 October 1957, the Canadian government made a change to the Canadian coat of arms; the colour of the three maple leaves depicted was changed from green — as introduced in the 1921 arms — to red, in keeping with Canada’s national colours (red and white). The new arms were also depicted on the Ensign — its third, and final, official design.

Beaumont Hamel - Why Newfoundlanders have another reason to remember July 1st.

Of all the battles that the Newfoundland Regiment fought during WW1, none was as devastating or as defining as the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Regiment’s tragic advance at Beaumont Hamel on the morning of July 1, 1916 became an enduring symbol of its valour and its terrible wartime sacrifices. The events of that day were forever seared into the cultural memory of the Newfoundland and Labrador people. 

The Newfoundland Regiment had been almost wiped out. When roll call was taken, only 68 men answered their names – 324 were killed, or missing and presumed dead, and 386 were wounded.