Wound Stripes

First World War

Soldiers injured through hostile action in the First World War were permitted to wear a brass metal stripe, mounted vertically, on the left forearm of their uniform jacket.

Second World War

First World War veterans serving in the Active Army were prevented from wearing their 1914-1918 wound stipes, with the exception of members of the Veterans Guard, in 1941. Orders in 1942, as well as the War Dress Regulations in 1943, abolished the wearing of wound stripes by members of the Veterans Guard also.

Special recognition for injured soldiers in the Second World War was not implemented until 1944, when orders advised that "His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the institution of Wound Stripes," The stripes were not to be considered a reward, and posthumous issues would not be made. Each occasion in which a soldier was wounded or injured, subject to certain conditions, entitled the soldier to a gold stripe of russia braid 1-1/2 inches long. Personnel wounded in prevrious Wars, regardless of how many times, were entitled to wear a single red rayon stripe. All stripes were worn vertically on the left forearm, the lower end of the first stripe 4 inches from the bottom of the sleeve or immediately above the cuff, midway between the seams on the outer side of the sleeve. Additional gold stripes were worn at half inch intervals in front of the first gold stripe. The red stripe, if worn, was to be placed behind the first gold stripe. The stripes were not to be worn on greatcoats or raincoats.

Versions of the Wound Stripe existed in both cloth and metal. They were not to be worn on raincoats or greatcoats

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The following information was passed on by Art Johnson, Associate Curator of the 48th Highlanders Museum:

ADMINISTRATIVE INSTRUCTION NO. 1

WOUND STRIPES

In view of the fact that there are a considerable number of personnel now with the bn who are eligible or think they are eligible to wear a wound stripe, this instruction is issued to ensure correct documentation and entitlement to these stripes. It is suggested that a copy of this instruction be kept on Coy files for future reference.

1. WEARING OF STRIPES - Wound stripes will be one and a half inches in length of narrow gold stripe as issued and will be worn, by those qualified, as follows:

(a) First stripe will be worn vertically midway between the seams on the left sleeve of battle dress blouse or K.D. tunic, the lower end of the stripe 4 inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

(b) Additional stripes, for each additional wound, will be worn 1/2 inch in front (i.e. toward centre of body) of the first one.

(c) Personnel qualified may wear wound stripes on civilian clothes after they are discharged.

2. ENTITLEMENT -

(a) Wounds or injuries inflicted by enemy projectiles (or parts of them).

(b) Wounds or injuries inflicted by our own projectiles (or parts of them) when these have been fired at the enemy.

(c) Injuries due to mine or bomb disposal duties.

(d) Injuries due to blast.

(e) injuries although not due to enemy action, If sustained in forward operational areas by a soldier while engaged in battlefield conditions against the enemy.

3. NON-ENTITLEMENT

(a) Wounds received in a non-operational command or when on leave.

(b) Wounds or injuries received when not on duty.

(c) Injuries due to accidents on duty or arising directly out of the employment but not directly due to enemy action such as gun explosions, or accidents, etc.

(d) Self inflicted wounds.

4 CLAIMS

(a) All ranks who consider they are entitled will submit their claim to Adjt stating the number they claim and the incident for which the claim is submitted giving dates.

                             (b) Claims will be approved or otherwise by the CO and an answer given in each case. Doubtful cases will  be referred to GHQ 2nd Ech for decision.

(c) Claims for red wound stripes (for wounds received in previous wars) will be similarly submitted.

5. DOCUMENTATION

In the case of all ORs, on the authority of the CO when a claim is approved the entry "Entitled to wear - wound stripes" will be entered on page 17 of the soldiers MBM I Pt I by an officer and signed and dated by him. No entry in Pt II orders will appear. This is then the soldiers authority to wear wound stripes and no man will be allowed to wear wound stripes unless this entry is made.

6. SUPPLY

(a) Officers - initial issue of 4 wound stripes.

(b) ORs. - initial issue of one wound stripe for each battle dress blouse.

(c) This initial issue is replaceable when worn out.

 

W. Burke Robertson
Capt & Adjt,
for (D. A. MACKENZIE) Lt-col
Commanding Officer,
48th Highrs

Distribution

List "A" 

 

 

Post Second World War

Wound stripes were once more adopted by the Canadian Forces in the 1990s; in both subdued for wear on the Garrison Dress Jacket, and in golden yellow for the DEU.  They were not to be worn on combat clothing.

The following was presented in the Military Cartridge Collectors of Canada Journal, Summer 1999, by John M. Zabarylo and forwarded by Ed Storey. 

DRAFT CFAO 21 NOV 1994 – INTERIM DRAFT 5250-1 (DMTH DRESS) WOUND STRIPE CRITERIA

The following notes summarize modifications to the initial draft regulations.

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1.  Wound stripe wear is not compulsory. These are a dress distinction, not marks of service or qualification. For personal reasons, individuals may prefer not to display symbols of physical injury.

2.   After reflection, the practice of using a different coloured stripe for woulds received in a previous war is no longer relevant. The practice adopted from previous regulations, was presumably instituted to prevent impression of active service in an ongoing war for those who were serving at the time, but who had suffered in a previous conflict.  A wound is a wound, and active service can be indicated in other ways if necessary.

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Description and Wear

3.  A wound stripe may be worn for each occasion on which the individual is recorded as wounded

4.  Wound stripes are free-issue items, of gold thread and measure 3cm x 0.6cm (1 x inches).

5.  Wound stripes are worn vertically on the left forearm, on the outer side of the sleeve, with the lower end of the stripe 12cm (4 inches) above the bottom of the sleeve, if no other insignia is worn there. If rank or other insignia is worn on the forearm, the lower end of the wound stripe will be 1.2cm ( inch) above that insignia. Additional gold stripes will be spaced at 1.2cm ( inch) horizontal intervals, centred on the sleeve.

6.  Wound stripes are not worn on outerwear, such as topcoats, raincoats or windbreakers, jackets nor on operational, full or undress (patrol) clothing. [See dress Manual]

    CF DRESS MANUAL A-AD-265-000/AG-001, SECTION 5, PARA 1 AND Fig. 3-5-1.

    7.  Wound stripes come in strips of 5 and are cut as needed. There are four (4) variations:

      1. DEU Dress Navy – gold on black melton.

      2. Air Force – gold on blue/gray melton.

      3. Army – new gold on dark green melton

      4. Garrison Dress, Army – old gold on green (has an embroidered border around each stripe with a half size strip of material between each making it longer.

 
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