Lance-Corporal Eli Powell, Co’y B of the 49th, here to answer your questions!
These are my collar dogs. They usually indicate what regiment I belong to. I still have mine from when I joined up, for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I don’t imagine the army will get around to sending me new ones anytime soon. They’re rather busy at the moment.
2. WHAT IS THAT? (Cap Badge)
This is my cap badge. This badge indicates that I belong to the 49th Regiment, which was raised in Edmonton. It is full of interesting symbols. The windmill blades are for the Flemish terrain that the 49th inhabits, while the maple leaves our Canadian home. The wolf’s head in the middle was for our prairie mascot, a coyote named Lestock!
That’s my rank insignia. I am a Lance-Corporal, so I only have one stripe. It is the lowest NonCom rank, just above Private. My duties were mostly as a role model, but I had authority to command Privates when necessary and might serve as second-in-command to a section of about 10-12 men (commanded by a Sergeant).
In the Great War, full Corporals had two stripes, Sergeants three. Those are the ranks for NonComs, or Non-Commissioned Officers.
Commissioned Officers started at Lieutenant and went up to General. They had different insignia for rank.
4. WHAT ARE THOSE? (Regimental patches)
These are my regimental patches. The army is divided into thousands of different groups. These patches help other soldiers and officers identify which groups a soldier belongs to. We need to know pretty quick where someone belongs, and they can’t always tell you fast enough¦or at all.
These are my ribbons, representing what medals I was awarded for fighting in the Great War. This is sometimes called a ribbon bar or a ribbon rack.
I don’t wear the medals themselves except for special occasions.
The red white and blue on the left is for a 1914/1915 Star, only for those who were in it early. The blue, white and orange in the middle is for the British War Medal, for all ranks who served in a theatre of war. Finally, the multicoloured ribbon on the right is it’s pair, the Victory Medal!
These are my puttees. I wrap them around my lower legs to protect and support my legs. They also help prevent me from getting mud and stones in my boots.
The word comes from Hindi, and the British learned this practice while in India. You may have heard us talk about ˜Blighty’ “ or England. That nickname comes from a Hindi word too.
10. WHAT ARE THOSE? (Shoulder Bars)
These are shoulder bars that identify me as Canadian. In the Great War, we fought alongside British “Tommies”, Antipodian “ANZACs” (Australians and New Zealanders), French “Hairies” and, (much later) American “doughboys”, among others.