The Flash of the Crimson Sash by Buzz Bourdon (The Maple Leaf Vol IV
The crimson sash of infantry senior non-commissioned members is one of
the most distinctive accoutrements worn in the CF. Draped with pride
over the right shoulder, the sash illustrates both the wearer's rank and
military trade. (In keeping with their tradition of wearing dark
accoutrements, senior NCMs of rifle regiments do not wear sashes.)
Infantry sergeants wear sashes made from crimson worsted, while the
sashes of infantry warrant officers, master warrant officers and chief
warrant officers are manufactured from silk.
Sashes were first worn during the 17th century by both officers and
senior NCMs of the British army to indicate rank and to carry casualties
off the battlefield. To that end, sashes were manufactured of silk for
strength. They were also voluminous enough to enclose the human body. In
some regiments, even the privates wore sashes.
During this era, soldiers wore their sashes as they pleased, either
around the waist or over the shoulder. Some officers preferred sashes
made of gold or silver net work, while some preferred plain crimson
silk. Eventually, only general officers were permitted sashes made with
gold and silver.
By 1747 a British army clothing regulation directed that infantry
officers would wear their sashes over the right shoulder and cavalry
officers would wear them over the left. The senior NCMs of both arms
would wear the sash around the waist.
Infantry senior NCM sashes also featured a thin stripe running down its
centre in the regiment's facing colour, which was also seen on the
collars and cuffs of the unit's tunic. This facing colour on sashes
disappeared by the middle of the 19th century.
By the beginning of the 20th century, officers wore their sashes around
their waists with the bow hanging down on the left, which is still done.
Today, infantry senior NCMs wear their sashes mainly for regimental
duties such as parades and duty NCM, according to CWO D. R. Bradley of
Royal Nfld Reg't
J-P's Homepage: http://members.home.net/jpjohnsn/
Battle of Georgian Bay Website: http://www.battleofgeorgianbay.huronia.com/