Royal Canadian Navy Regulating Branch
And Naval Police

Officer's Rank Insignia

  From the formation of the RCN until amalgamation in 1968, the rank insignia of the RCN was identical to that of the Royal Navy. Rank in the RCN consisted of two groups, Officers and Ratings. Generally, any member who wasn't a Commissioned Officer, was a Rating.

  Regular Officers in the RCN wore gold stripes on their epaulettes or on the cuffs. The uppermost stripe incorporated the "Executive Curl". This was a holdover from the early days of the Royal Navy when officers responsible for ship handling and command were separate from other officers such as Surgeons and Engineers. Engineers were granted the curl in 1915 and by 1919 the rest of the branches had been granted it.

  Officers of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) wore similar rank insignia to those of the Regular Navy, however the stripes were of a different pattern, being a zig zag design. This of course lead to the RCNVR being nicknamed the "Wavy Navy". The illustrated shoulder board is that of an RCNVR Lieutenant Commander. Officers of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (RCNR) wore another special pattern of rank stripes. In this case, the curl resembled a Star of David. An RCNR Lieutenant's rank is illustrated. These patterns of special insignia were discontinued in the mid 1950's, after which Regular and Reserve Officers wore identical rank insignia.

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