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Glossary

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

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Band

Body of musicians. Regimental bands came into fashion in the middle of the 18th century and were considered excellent for esprit de corps and troop morale. The first military bands in Canada part of garrisoned British infantry regiments. Until the late 19th century and the invention of the phonograph, most Canadians could only hear orchestrated music from military bands (and later, bands associated with the police, firemen and other civic organizations). Pipe bands are popular with Canadian military units, even if they are not a Highlander regiment. For instance, at the outset of the First World War, the men of the Calgary Police Pipe Band all joined Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and became its regimental band, the first of many in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

Banners

Piece of material, often attached by one edge to a staff or halyard and used to identify units or signal commands. Unit banners are usually in the unit's facing colour and decorated with coats of arms, badges, ciphers, or other insignia.

See also: Colours, Guidon

Bar

Clasp of metal worn fastened across the ribbon of a medal, signifying additional awards for the same decoration. If the decoration consists of only a ribbon, the Bar is represented by a metal rosette.

Barbed Wire

Invented in 1867 as a means to keep cattle enclosed in fields, barbed wire is a form of fencing with short, pointed pieces of wire inserted at intervals. The US quickly saw its advantages an used it to replace log stockades in the 1880's. During the First World War, coils of barbed wire were used to protect front-line trenches. Artillery would often be used in advance of ground troops to blow holes through the wire. Hand-held clippers were used to cut open small sections of wire during in trench raids. Warfare use decreased in the Second World War, and barbed wire has since become symbolic of concentration and internment camps.

Bastion

Triangular projection of a fortification, often mounted with artillery.