A Cap Badge (also known as a "hat badge", or incorrectly as a "cap brass") is a badge worn on uniform headgear that distinguishes the wearer's regiment, corps or branch.
Cap badges in the Canadian Army are designed and approved (at one time, by General Order) for use by individual regiments, corps or branches. Traditionally, the cap badge has been a great source of pride for individual soldiers, creating a sense of belonging and identity (a study of Canadian Expeditionary Force cap badges, in fact, uses "A Source of Pride" as a title.)
Variations of cap badges
Canadian cap badges have generally been made of metal; in the First World War, "red metal" or copper badges were not uncommon, with brass being primarily used. White metal badges, or overlays for multi-piece badges, were also seen.
Between the wars, cap badges were also made in blackened metal and used by rifle regiments (though Chaplains also used blackened badges), and some regiments distinguished officers and musicians from other ranks by the use of different badge construction.
Wire embroidered cloth badges were also used by officers and general officers. After the introduction of the combat uniform, cloth cap badges in plain embroidery were adopted across the Army for use on the combat hat.
Some use was made of plastic in the Second World War, but was never as common as in the British Army who adopted plastic as an economy measure.
Post war badges in the British Army came to be made of "stay-brite" plastic, another British economy measure not adopted in Canada.
Canadian cap badges during the First World War were secured to the hat either by metal tangs which were bent back to secure the hat in place, sliders, or by two posts containing eyelets through which a metal cotter pin was attached. Tang badges gradually died out, and after Unification slider backings became the norm for DND produced badges, though individual regiments sometimes continued to privately purchase cotter pin backed badges.
A cap badge is positioned differently depending on the form of headdress:
Additional items that reflect the regiment's historical accomplishments, such as backing cloth and hackles, may be worn behind the cap badge. In Scottish regiments, for instance, it is a tradition for soldiers to wear their cap badges on a small square piece of their regimental tartans. Officer Cadets may wear a small white piece of fabric behind their badges.
In The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, a Red Hackle as worn by the Imperial Black Watch was adopted.
For a period leading up to Remembrance Day, artificial poppies were worn by by service personnel in uniform.