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Author Topic: Wound Stripes
canuck
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posted 21 July 2021 02:11      Profile for canuck   Email canuck   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A few years ago there waas a great deal of to-do about the re-introduction of wound stripes for the CF. I recall being on a medals parade in Calgary while wound stripes were being presented to deserving individuals. Recently I was part of a conversation about what qualifies as a wound, and also who is eligable for the 'stripe'. Is there anyone out there who has any info on this. It would be most appreciated.
Posts: 7 | From: Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jul 2000
Gunner
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posted 21 July 2021 11:48      Profile for Gunner   Email Gunner   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Please see the Directorate of History and Heritage website at
http://www.dnd.ca/hr/dhh/engraph/home_e.asp

Unfortunately, that portion of the site has not been constructed yet. If I remember correctly a wound stripe is a red "stripe" that is worn on your left sleeve (the dress manual will have this info). I would hazard to guess the prerequisite is wounds suffered in action against a belligerant force. I don't believe traffic accidents, PTSD etc would give you a wound stripe.

The dress manual is suppose to be on line, but, I can't seem to find a URL for it ... anyone else?


Posts: 154 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Jun 2000
canuck
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posted 21 July 2021 13:02      Profile for canuck   Email canuck   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gunner,
Thank you for the reply and the additional commentary. With all the new understanding of both mental and physical illnesses I am surprised how quickly you lumped PTSD in with traffic accidents and the like. After seeing how all ranks from Pte. to Gen can suffer from this illness, which by the way is caused by facing a belligerant force, I would think they too would qualify. Are we so stuck in the past that we still see wounds as only those that bleed?

Posts: 7 | From: Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jul 2000
Gunner
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posted 21 July 2021 14:25      Profile for Gunner   Email Gunner   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've all the sympathy and concern in the world for our members who develop mental problems, however, I think it would be an exercise in politically correctness to award them a wound stripe. That is not what it was designed for and I have a hard time classifying PTSD as a wound. It is a mental condition, no more, no less.
Posts: 154 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Jun 2000
bossi
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posted 21 July 2021 17:44      Profile for bossi   Email bossi   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've got to learn to read things more carefully (when I saw "PTSD", I mistakenly thought "STD" ... chuckle ...)

Okay - it's been ages since I've tried to debate something politely, so forgive me if I'm rusty at this ...

Once upon a time, I imagine wound stripes were instituted for physical wounds (at that point in history, they didn't understand "mental wounds").

First of all, let's imagine the wound stripe was issued for the purpose of acknowledging, and signalling to others that the wearer had been wounded (i.e. although we use the expression "battle-scarred veteran", not all scars would be visible since some would be covered by clothing, for example. Furthermore, some wounds might "heal" without leaving too much visible evidence). As such, let's pretend the purpose of the wound stripe was to signal that the wearer had received an injury "in battle", and to afford the wearer some degree of respect from others who might not otherwise realise the pain and suffering the wearer had endured. Okay?

Leaping forward to the here and now, and digressing to discuss PTSD, "shell shock", or "combat fatigue" ...

If any soldier or officer is wounded in the service of our country, the ideal situation would be for a thankful nation to ensure the service member would be properly looked after (i.e. proper medical attention, rehabilitation if necessary, and a pension in the "worst case" scenario).

For the sake of discussion, let's accept that some service members are going to actually witness tragic/traumatic events - things that no young man or woman should ever have to see - with the possible result of PTSD (ideally, "the system" would ensure their eventual return to health, mental or physical).

Historically, we acknowledged their service by giving them service medals - and, once upon a time, one would understand that a person with numerous ribbons on their uniform "had seen a lot of action". Thus, it used to be sufficient for our society to acknowledge a soldier's gruelling/harrowing experiences by respecting their service (by respecting their ribbons, and similarly their wound stripes). I should also point out I am alarmed by the recent trend to lower standards, and award ribbons as if at a county fair ... (but that's nothing new - remember the "SPAM" medal?)

Unfortunately/regrettably, in "some people's" opinion PTSD still carries some degree of stigma (reminiscent of "lacking moral fibre" ...). Accordingly, there would be the risk of further stigmatizing somebody by pinning a wound stripe on them.

Okay, okay - I can hear you saying "sum up".

Please let me suggest this: It should be understood that some of our comrades in arms have paid a higher price than others whilst earning their ribbons, and not all scars are visible.

Thus endeth the sermon according to me.

Dileas Gu Brath
M.A. Bossi, Esquire


Posts: 269 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000
madorosh
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posted 22 July 2021 11:29      Profile for madorosh   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with Mark; I think anyone wearing an UNPROFOR medal, France-Germany star, etc., may be assumed to have put him or herself in danger and been subject to undue stress. I would say that a campaign or service medal is a tangible sign that the wearer has been exposed to unpleasantries (to understate) that would be more appropriate than awarding a wound stripe.

I am pretty sure that all of, say, our World War Two vets have suffered stress of some kind since the war; it would go against the original intent of the award to hand out the stripes as if they were candy. And I am sure many of them would be too embarrassed to wear them -

"Gee grampa, where were you shot?"

"Well, Bobby, I was never shot, but I cry myself to sleep at night because I was never properly counselled to deal with my emotions after discharge in 1946."

I don't mean that to belittle the very real problems our vets faced after WW II, and our Peacekeeping vets are facing today, but you can see that as a society we are a long way from accepting mental illnesses with an open mind; many soldiers suffering from them would be the first to dismiss the idea that they exist.

Giving wound stripes to those that suffer is a well-intentioned idea, but there must be a better way.

Incidentally, wound stripes have been worn since the First World War, they were brought back by personal order of HM King George VI for WW II.


Posts: 43 | From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Jun 2000
Art Johnson
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posted 22 July 2021 11:44      Profile for Art Johnson   Email Art Johnson   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't recall them being red in colour but much the same colour a rank stripe. Although called a wound stripe it was a vertical bar. On dress uniforms it was usually embroidered in gold thread. As to the wearing of wound stripes I believe the conditions for so doing keep changing. I don't know of any soldier who was wounded in Korea who was issued a wound stripe, I know that I wasn't. I would also assume that if you were entitled to wear one it would appear on Pt II orders. During WW II I believe you were allowed to wear a wound stripe for up to 6 months after release from hospital then it was to be taken down. I believe the idea of the wound stripe was to indicate that the person wearing it was only fit for light duties while recuperating. This is all anecdotal for my part. Maybe it's time we instituted a medal like the American Purple Heart, we could call it the Scarlet Maple.
Did you know that American Army Officers from WW II got an automatic 10 percent medical pention for mental stress. Some base officers even tried to claim Purple Hearts after having a nervous breakdown.

Aye Dileas


Posts: 29 | From: Scarborough ON Canada | Registered: Jun 2000
Bill Alexander
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posted 22 July 2021 14:27      Profile for Bill Alexander   Email Bill Alexander   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The wound stripes that in my collection are of two types, cloth and metal. The metal ones are a sort of imitation braid with a definite line down the middle, brass, and mounted on a backing plate. They had lug type fasteners and the backing plate came in one, two and three stripes wide. (I had a three but it was stolen.) The backing plate may have been plain or frequently had #4 Wound Stripe stamped in it.
The cloth wound stripe is red braided material on a khaki patch. The braid is about 1 3/16 in by 1/8th and the khaki backing is about 1 1/2 by 2 in. As Art mentioned, I have also seen gold braid examples.
I have seen photographic evidence from both wars with the metal stripes in use, but not much evidence for the cloth. If you have Galloway's Bravely Into Battle,the paperback edition, see page 219 for an interesting photo of 4 wound stripes on an officer's tunic.
Interesting question, what was the highest number of wound stripes awarded?

Posts: 26 | From: North Bay Ont. | Registered: Jul 2000
madorosh
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posted 22 July 2021 16:14      Profile for madorosh   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wound stripes in WW I were gold in colour, being made of brass. IN WW II, they were brass, but also in gold russia braid for the cloth version.

First World War veterans serving in the Active Army in WW II were prevented from wearing their 1914-1918 wound stipes, with the exception of members of the Veterans Guard, in 1941. Orders in 1942, as well as the War Dress Regulations in 1943, abolished the wearing of wound stripes by members of the Veterans Guard also.

In 1944, orders advised that "His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the institution of Wound Stripes". The stripes were not to be considered a reward, and posthumous issues would not be made. Each occasion in which a soldier was wounded or injured, subject to certain conditions, entitled the soldier to a gold stripe or russia braid 1-1/2 inches long. Personnel wounded in prevrious Wars, regardless of how many times, were entitled to wear a single red rayon stripe. All stripes were worn vertically on the left forearm, the lower end of the first stripe 4 inches from the bottom of the sleeve or immediately above the cuff, midway between the seams on the outer side of the sleeve. Additional gold stripes were worn at half inch intervals in front of the first gold stripe. The red stripe, if worn, was to be placed behind the first gold stripe. The stripes were not to be worn on greatcoats or raincoats.

The most I've ever seen were four stripes. Official policy in the Canadian Army in WW II was that once you were wounded "otherwise than trivially" three times, you got to go home to Canada. The policy wasn't always practiced, as the four-stripers will attest to.


Posts: 43 | From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Jun 2000
Bill Alexander
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posted 22 July 2021 16:29      Profile for Bill Alexander   Email Bill Alexander   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Question: Were the gold cloth wound stripes produced in a cut off roll manner (like the service chevron), or as single items?
Posts: 26 | From: North Bay Ont. | Registered: Jul 2000
Servicepub
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posted 24 July 2021 23:44      Profile for Servicepub   Author's Homepage   Email Servicepub   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My father-in-law was a young 2LT in Korea when he went out on his first patrol. Three hours later he was carried in on the shoulders of a Cpl, wounded in both arms. He earned a wound stripe and a MiD. According to him the stripe was worn only in Korea (at least amongst the VanDoos). When he landed in Japan it was taken down. Back in Canada, Korea vets were looked down upon by the WWII vets - If you hadn't fought in Italy, you hadn't really been to war.
Posts: 7 | From: Ottawa, ON Canada | Registered: Jul 2000
pat
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posted 04 August 2021 16:35      Profile for pat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wounded strips are for only physical wounds recieved whil deployed out side of the country or from enemy action. An example of the first is lets say a sapper was wounded by a mine strick, and sustained injuries, they would be intitled to the wounded strip. This is what has been explained to me. The dress manual is on the DHH site wich is on the DND site, but it is under construction at the moment.
Posts: 19 | From: ottawa | Registered: Aug 2000
Andyboy
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posted 11 August 2021 20:16      Profile for Andyboy   Email Andyboy   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This topic startede to get interesting for awhile there, then it sort of petered out into semantics.

I think the idea of issuing a stripe to someone suffering from PTSD is interesting although it leads to the question of proof. Do we then have to rely on a shrink's opinion? In my opinion the stripe should only be issued to someone physically injured by enemy action. While some here may doubt the reality of PTSD one only has to speak to someone who has born witness to some of what has been seen by our troops to see whether it is real or not. The question as to whether someone so suffering should be equated to someone who has been shot in the face is questionable.

As to the assumption that all service medals are created equal keep in mind that the service battalion driver who delivered beer to the mess and the Welfare officer who never set foot in the country all received the same medal as the line rifleman who bore the brunt of digging up bodies and receiving mortar and machine gun fire.


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Michael Dorosh
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posted 11 August 2021 22:32      Profile for Michael Dorosh   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Dorosh   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's too bad Canada never developed something equal to the American Combat Infantry Badge or the German Infanteriesturmabzeichen. The Germans had a nice set of decorations that covered all the combat arms, actually - and tank crews, infantrymen, artillerymen and engineers all had "combat badges" that were worn with pride.

The Canadian Service Corps driver who "delivered beer" in World War Two likely came home with the CVSM and clasp, War Medal, Defence Medal, France-Germany Star (possibly also the Italy Star) and 1939-45 Star - the same as the infantrymen, tankers and sappers.

As for recognizing PTSD - is it a question of proof, or a question of degree of suffering? Surely everyone who has experienced combat or combat conditions suffers some kind of stress - even if only during the act of experiencing it. Either way, it would be a hard area to draw a line and say "you are a legitimate stress casualty" and "you are not."


Posts: 169 | From: Calgary, Alberta | Registered: Aug 2000
Bill Alexander
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posted 10 September 2021 07:48      Profile for Bill Alexander   Email Bill Alexander   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just a note about the Tri Wound Policy. I came across a reference to this policy in the Canadian Army, which states that the soldier / officer in question would be returned to Canada ( or the UK) for a period of 6 months duty. Furhter the policy was to be applied to men wounded "otherwise than trivially" three times, or had three years overseas service and had been wounded twice.
Obviously, the implication is that the above mentioned could be returned to front line duty.

Posts: 26 | From: North Bay Ont. | Registered: Jul 2000

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