n 4 May 1973, 421, 439 and 441 Squadrons were presented their colours by His Royal Highness Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh. 450 officers and men of the three squadrons, the Canadian Forces Central Band, and the CFB Ottawa Pipe Band participated in the ceremony. Gunners of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery fired a 21 gun Royal Salute and 36 CF-104s participated in the fly past.
History of Colours
Colours have been in use for centuries and were the result of two practical requirements: the need of some mark or distinction between units and the need of a conspicuous rallying point in battle. In very early times Banners and Standards such as the Roman Eagle served to show the position of the Commander. The Colour was trooped or paraded before the ranks in order that every man might readily recognize it.
Within the British Military, the first regimental colours appeared in the seventeenth century. Since 1881 these flags have no longer been carried into battle.
The Canadian system of colours emulates that of the British Military.
The Squadron Colour is based on a "fringed and tasseled silken banner" created by His late Majesty King George VI to mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the Royal Air Force in 1943.
Squadrons qualify for the award of colours after twenty five years of service, or for especially meritorious operations.
The practice of consecrating colours is of very long standing and because of this religious significance the Colour becomes not only a sign of loyalty and achievement, but also a sign and symbol of fellowship with God. The fact that colours are laid up after service in a public or sacred building is indicative of the reverence in which they are held. They are saluted by all soldiers, and always move under an armed guard. They are in fact, a Squadron's most prized possession.
For each Squadron, its Colour is the shrine of its traditions, a memorial to the devotion and sacrifices of the men of the Squadron in years gone by, and an inspiration to those who serve. The Colour is to be honoured as a symbol of the trust which the Sovereign places in the Squadron, and as an emblem of its achievements.
Blessing of the Colours
It has been the custom of people at all times to make for themselves signs and emblems of their allegiance to those who govern them. These symbols are a continuing reminder of our duty to uphold the laws of good government of our nations which we, by oath before god, swear to obey.
Following this ancient tradition, we come together to ask God's blessing upon this Standard.
We acknowledge that this Standard symbolizes our duty toward our Sovereign and our Country. We pray that it may never be unfurled except in a just and righteous cause. May it always be to those who follow it, a sign of God's presence in all dangers and distresses, for we know him to be our Creator and our final Hope.
0 God, all-powerful and eternal, Creator of Heaven and Earth, hear our prayers and bless this Standard bestowed upon this Squadron. May you protect us and remind us of our duty and pledge to serve you and our brothers and sisters. May this Standard be a symbol of courage for those who put their confidence in you, for you alone have the power to put an end to all wars. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.