Memorial Ribbon

The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Memorial Ribbon.

Memorial Ribbon


The Memorial Ribbon is presented by His Majesty’s Canadian Government as a memento of personal loss and sacrifice in respect of military personnel who lay down their lives for their country.

Eligibility and criteria

The Memorial Ribbon is issued to commemorate the death of a CF member.

The deceased CF member must have served in the Regular Force, Primary Reserve, Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS), or Canadian Rangers on or after 1 October 1947;

The death must be directly attributed to military service or must have been the result of a duty-related injury or illness which was sustained on or after 1 October 1947;

Up to five (5) Memorial Ribbons will be issued to close loved-ones who were not in receipt of a Memorial Cross.

Starting in November 2012, the Ribbons will be part of the Memorial Package and will be presented, whenever possible, to the designated recipients before the funeral when the Memorial Crosses, Memorial Scroll, Memorial Bar, and any service medals the deceased may be entitled to will be presented.

For deaths which occur on or after 6 November 2012, and when the death is clearly attributable to service, the Ribbons will be issued immediately. When the death is not clearly and undeniably attributable to service, the Ribbons will not be issued until the Department of Veterans Affairs has made an official determination regarding the cause of death. In these cases, a delay can be expected.

For deaths which occurred between 1 October 1947 and 5 November 2012, application forms must be sent to the Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DH&R). Ribbons will not be issued until DH&R has validated the information.

The Directorate of Honours and Recognition of the Department of National Defence is responsible for the administration of the Memorial Ribbon on behalf of the Government of Canada.

To request Ribbons, applicants will be required to identify the deceased CF member and list the names of the designated recipients as well as their relationship to the deceased. Note: “applicant” means the executor of the estate or, when this person has passed away, the next authorized family member in the following order of preference:

  1. spouse or common-law partner;
  2. eldest surviving child;
  3. father and mother; or
  4. eldest surviving sibling.

However, others may apply and applications will be given due consideration.

Contact Us

For general inquiries about the Memorial Ribbon, please send an email to or call our toll-free number at 1-855-433-2976.


A length of purple ribbon, held in place by a silver-coloured circular pin, 15 mm in diameter, 1 mm in thickness at the edge, having a raised edge surrounding a recessed stippled field bearing a representation of the Memorial Cross.


Not Applicable


Any designated recipient may wear the Memorial Ribbon at any time they deem appropriate. It is worn over the left breast, pinned above any medals the recipient may have been awarded. It should be noted that the medals of a deceased person shall, under no circumstances, be worn by a next of kin or any other person.

The Memorial Ribbon is not worn on the CF uniform.


Not Applicable

Historical notes

The Directorate of Honours and Recognition of the Department of National Defence is responsible for the administration of the Memorial Ribbon on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Introduced during Remembrance Week 2012, the Memorial Ribbon was created as a means to provide a small token of remembrance to some of the closest loved-ones of our fallen, especially children, who are not recipients of the Memorial Cross. The Memorial Ribbon completes the Memorial Package for current deaths, which now includes the Memorial Cross (to a maximum of three), the Memorial Scroll, the Memorial Bar, the Sacrifice Medal, which is posthumously awarded to the fallen, and inscription in the 7th Book of Remembrance.

The ribbon used for the Memorial Ribbon, is inspired from the purple ribbon worn with the original Memorial Cross from 1919 to 1945. Purple stands for suffering and mystery. Traditionally, it was the stained-glassmaker's color for black, expressing negation, mourning, and death.

The Memorial Ribbon is held in a loop by a pin. The pin is struck by the Royal Canadian Mint in cupro-nickel and lacquered to prevent tarnishing.

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