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Laurence Strong

Canadian Naval Officers Once Again to Wear the Executive Curl

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There is no official announcement at this time but the scuttlebutt amongst the Naval community in Canada is that the Executive Curl will be re-introduced (along with the Sea Service Indicator) by the MND, the Honorable Peter MacKay at BOA ceremonies in Halifax in May of this year.

The SSI will be a metal badge worn above the right pocket of the short sleeve shirt and an embroidered cloth version sewn on the left sleeve of the tunic. The colour of the SSI will indicate the number of years an individual has served at sea (gun metal grey, bronze, silver, and gold).

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Hope it works out... I've always thought they looked very sharp and in fact I didn't even know they'd stopped using them. Here's some addition info:


Executive curl is the name given to the ring above a naval officer's gold lace or braid insignia. The term also refers to an eye in a hemp rope, said to be a memento of the Honourable William Elliot, a member of the Board of Admiralty 1800-1801. The Canadian, French and United States navies are among those whose officers do not wear 'Elliott's Eye'.


It is believed to date from the Crimean War when it was called 'Elliott's Eye' in memory of a Captain Elliot who carried his wounded arm in a sling under heroic circumstances.

Usage history

The curl was originally worn only by executive officers, but in 1915 engineer officers adopted it, followed by officers of the other branches in 1918.

Although in the Royal Navy the curl is now common to all officers, some other navies who copied the custom have restricted its use to their deck officers. While in some navies placed insignia above the braid to indicate specialist branches Commonwealth navies used coloured cloth beneath of the gold lace.

Coloured branch distinction, first introduced in 1863, went out of use except for the medical, nursing, medical administration and technical branches, on 31 December, 1959. From 1879 to 1891 Royal Navy officers wore three brass buttons between the lace, and several navies still do the same.

Lieutenant's Executive curl

And an interesting article on Canadian naval uniforms:


Plus one discussing the curl:



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