History and structure
The Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) is mandated to preserve and communicate Canada’s military history, and foster pride in our military heritage.
The Directorate began on September 1, 1996 by merging:
- the Directorate of History, and
- the Directorate of Military Traditions and Heritage
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Music Centre was made part of the Directorate on April 1, 1997.
On March 2, 2007, DHH 4 (Honours and Awards section) left DHH and became the Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DH&R).
The Directorate is divided into the following sections:
- Director: Dr. Steve Harris
- Coordinator: LCol Ivan Dellaire
- DHH 2 - CAF Chief Historian: Dr. Steve Harris
- DHH 3 - CAF Dress and Ceremonial: Major Stephen Miller
- DHH 5 - CAF Museums and Historical Collections: Mr. Michel Litalien
- DHH 6 - CAF Heritage Officer: Maj Jon O’Connor
- DHH 7 - Supervisor of Music: LCol Charles Gaudreau
The main activities, duties, resources and relationships of these sections is outlined as follows:
History and Archives section (DHH 2)
Awareness of military history helps the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to deepen professional understanding of policy evolution and develop military strategy and tactics, in social, technological and infrastructure change.
The History and Archives section keeps records and carries out historical research. This includes unit annual reports and unit operational records. The section also publishes three types of histories:
Many of the research resources maintained for DND/CAF's use are available to the public.
This section also runs the CAF Artists Programme, which sends civilian volunteer artists to record sailors, soldiers and air personnel at work in war/ operational zones, bases and workplaces.
Dress and Ceremonial section (DHH 3)
On behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, this section manages the Canadian Armed Forces Identity system. Staff of this section advise CAF on:
- insignia and accoutrements
- dress and appearance
- uniform design
- drill ceremonial policies
- customs and traditions
As the secretariat for The National Defence Clothing and Dress Committee, DHH 3 advises the four environmental commands on dress policy and is the design authority for all CAF badges and insignia. With the staff of Assistant Deputy Minister (Material), DHH 3 assists in monitoring the use of Canadian Armed Forces Intellectual Property.
This section represents the CAF to other Government of Canada Departments as the advisor on CAF ceremonial and protocol. Members of the section support Veterans Affairs Canada in the commemoration of significant national events.
This section manages the content contained in the following manuals:
- Canadian Armed Forces Dress Instructions,
- The Canadian Armed Forces Manual of Drill and Ceremonial, and
- The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Armed Forces
Museums section (DHH 5)
CAF museums collect, preserve and interpret items related to our military heritage to create a sense of history, identity and pride within the Canadian Forces and throughout Canada. These museums are independent and are not publicly funded. They are “owned” by the commanding officers of the supporting units. Units with no museum are encouraged to create historical collections for the same purpose.
Military Heritage section (DHH 6)
Military customs and traditions create a sense of spirit and pride in the CAF. The roles of the Military Heritage section are:
- to preserve these customs, traditions and heritage
- to communicate them to members of the CAF and to the public
In this context, a tradition is a belief or attitude passed from one generation to the next, that guides behaviour. For example, in the field, Canadian Army officers generally do not eat until their troops have been fed.
A custom is a habitual action or practice. For example, at formal dinners in the Royal Canadian Navy, members pass the decanter of port to each other without it leaving the table.
Heritage includes both customs and traditions. When combined with historical knowledge, heritage breathes life into the CAF.
The section edits some CAF publications, such as:
- Lineages & Insignia of the CAF
- Traditions & Customs of the CAF
This section also manages the Canadian Military History Gateway web portal.
The Casualty Identification Program began in 2007 within the Military Heritage section. Canada has a legal and moral duty to care for newly discovered remains of servicemen and women from past wars. The program’s role is to recover (when needed) and identify (when possible) these remains through historical and scientific techniques.
After the identification is done, the remains are buried. The military burial connects serving members with their fallen comrades and the families of the fallen. It fosters a strong sense of continuity and identity with past military generations.
CF Music section (DHH 7)
These are the roles and tasks of the Supervisor of Music:
- review the instrument make-up of all CAF bands
- validate the skills of all musicians and CAF bands
- manage musician auditions as part of the recruiting process
- advise the Chief of Military Personnel about the Music Branch
- recommend policy changes to the Directorate of History and Heritage
- advise the Director of Personnel Generation Requirements on standards for musicians to qualify
All CAF Music Branch Audition questions should be directed to the DHH - Music: 1-866-991-0422
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