Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
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Glossary

Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.

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Fencible

Soldier liable only for home service. The term became widely used in 18th century Britain to describe regular army units whose service was confined to a geographical area, as if within a fence. Canadian fencible regiments were formed in 1803 and more were raised and saw action in the War of 1812. Unlike the earlier "provincial" regiments, fencibles were listed as regular British Army regiments and their officers had king's commissions. The fencible units were disbanded after the war.

Field Marshal

Highest rank in the British Army, they never retire from service. Equivalent to the Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Air. Canadian forces have never had such a rank, but Canadian forces did serve under British field marshals in the First and Second World Wars.

Flags

Piece of material, often oblong or square, attached by one edge to a staff or halyard and used to identify nationality, units and commands. A Canadian flag first appeared after Confederation, consisting of the British red ensign with the Canadian coat of arms, but Canadian military units continued to use the Union Jack and the white ensign until the Canadian national flag, with its maple leaf, was adopted in 1965.

See also: Colours, Guidon

Flash

Coloured patch bearing a regimental or corps title, often with the distinguishing emblem of the unit, worn on the shoulders of a battle dress uniform. Soldiers take great pride in their shoulder flashes, which announce who they are and to which unit they belong. Changes to the flash can have a negative effect on morale and esprit de corps. Author Farley Mowatt recorded the effect of such a change in 1945, when the Canadian veterans of the Italian campaign, part of General Montgomery's Eight Army, joined the Canadian army in the Low Countries: "the biggest change, and the one that really hurt, was the fact that the Eight Army's famous Crusader Cross had disappeared to be replaced by the meaningless geometric pattern of the First Canadian Army Flash."

Flute

Armed storeship in the French sailing navy. A warship "armé en flûte" had armaments removed to provide space for supplies or troops. The first French Navy warship built in Canada was the flute storeship Canada, launch at the Québec royal shipyard on June 4, 1742.