Tartan of the Royal Canadian Air Force

 Jesse Brauner
Tartan of the Royal Canadian Air Force

When one thinks of Scotland, many iconic images come to mind; rolling green hills, ancient castles, and Nessie swimming in her loch. Even more memorable than these, however, is the patterned fabric which has come to symbolize Scottish culture itself: Tartan is the only textile design in the world of which a tiny scrap can evoke such feelings of pride, such identification with the historical struggles of Scots, and identification with those desirable traits associated with being Scottish - honesty, industriousness and bravery in battle.*

Although tartan-style fabrics have a very long history – a good portion of it not Scottish – today these textiles are most famous as badges of identification. Specific colors and their arrangements function as a symbolic language in their own right, representing individuals, families and clans, as well as professional groups, companies, and organizations. To the huge international family of Scots and their descendants - estimated at 40 to 60 million around the globe - tartan represents everything that is admirable and wholesome about the land of their fathers.*

The tartan was created in the early 1940s by Group Captain (G/C) Elmer Fullerton, based on the Anderson tartan and incorporating the RCAF colours. Approx 16 yards were woven by Loom Crofters of Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada, as a sample. It was approved by the Air Council of the RCAF on 21 May 1942. A sample of the tartan was submitted to Lord Lyon, King of Arms in Edinburgh, who wrote that he approved of the tartan and would keep the sample. More of the tartan was woven for the pipers and drummers in the RCAF band.**



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