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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Ceremony and Honours

Date > 1700 > 1780-1789

Weapons

Type: Document

This section illustrates a selection of firearms and bladed weapons used by British and Canadian military units during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Guidon bearer, Brunswick Dragoner-Regiment Prinz Ludwig, 1776-1777

Type: Image

Among the German mercenary troops arriving at Quebec in 1776 was a unit of cavalry from Brunswick. Dragoner-Regiment Prinz Ludwig (or 'Prince Ludwig's Dragoon Regiment') was supposed to be given horses in North America, and wore high leather riding boots. Still waiting for horses, they marched south with General Burgoyne's army in 1777 and were captured after the British defeat at Saratoga. Recruits sent from Brunswick allowed the regiment to be reformed at Quebec in 1781. This man's uniform is in the traditional cornflower blue of the Brunswick dragoons. He holds a swallow-tailed cavalry flag called a guidon. Its pole is made in the form of a joisting lance, a fashion of the time. In the centre of the guidon is white horse of Niedersachsen, the crest of the Dukes of Brunswick. Confusingly, a very similar white horse of Hanover was used on British flags at this time. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

The Military Wedding

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, marriage for the common British soldier was governed mostly by custom. Marriage involved 'leaping over the sword', where bride and groom did just that in the presence of the man's companions. Official permission was needed in theory, but seldom given.

Site: National Defence

The White Flag As A Battle Flag

Type: Document

With origins in the Wars of Religion of the early seventeenth century, an all white flag symbolized France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was flown over military outposts and from ships' masts throughout the existence of the colony of New France.

Site: National Defence

French flags, circa 1690

Type: Image

This 17th century illustration shows four French flags that would be seen at sea and on land. At upper left is the solid white flag used by the French crown (and hence by the French army and navy). At upper and lower right are two variations on the blue and white flag that was ordered for the French merchant navy in 1661. The white pennant seen in the lower left was used to help distinguish different squadrons in a French fleet. Each would fly this pennant on a different mast. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

The Militias of the New Provinces

Type: Document

During the late 18th century, militias on the British model were set up in the newly established Loyalist settlements of British North America. Each county had one or more regiments, and all able-bodied men where required to serve. Training in peacetime was very limited - twice a year.

Site: National Defence