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A tartan, or Scottish plaid, was adopted by the RCAF in 1942. It contains a lot of blue, some maroon and a small amount of white. It is known as the Air Force Tartan, officially registered August 15, 1942 by the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland in his court archives.

The Tartan and Air Force Scottish pipe bands naturally are synonymous. It all began on Prince Edward Island in January 1942, at a "Robbie Burns Night" mess dinner. The Station CO, a Nova Scotian of Scottish ancestry, decided that a pure pipe band should be established and that their dress, if possible, would be as colourful as a Scottish tartan, but would based on a design of Air Force colours.

The search for a tartan was on. The CO decided to design a tartan and using red and blue pencils he sketched his ideas on a scratch pad. This was the embryo of the now-popular tartan. A firm in Gagetown, N.B. had a small hand loom and a sample was made up from the sketch with the Gagetown weavers also adding a white line in the design. The CO ordered a piece of the material to be sent through the proper channels to Air Force Headquarters for approval.

In May 1942, the Air Council viewed the sample, accepted it with minor changes relating to the shades of blue, and subsequently the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland was requested to register the tartan in his Court. This was done and on August 15, 1942 the Air Force Tartan was official. (Handbook for Air Force Non-Commissioned Members)

Royal Canadian Air Force

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