Who we are
History is a master art, integrating all fields of knowledge to yield understanding of its chosen subjects. Tradition is a set of beliefs and attitudes which guide behaviour. Heritage encompasses both, using the past to build for the future.
The Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) is mandated to preserve and communicate Canada’s military history and foster pride in a Canadian military heritage.
DHH promotes two themes:
- CF self branding / cohesion building through support to the Canadian Forces Identity System (dress, badges, flags, music, lineages, affiliations, drill and ceremonial, battle honours). The Canadian Forces are exempt from the Federal Identity Program due to the particular needs of the CF and due to the all-encompassing nature of the CF Identity System; and
- Preservation and promotion of Canadian military history and heritage as per Government of Canada, Treasury Board and Departmental direction.
Both themes contribute to educating CF members and the Canadian public while shaping Canadian identity.
On 1 September, 1996, The Directorate of History (DHist) and, The Directorate of Military Traditions and Heritage (DMTH) were amalgamated to form the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH). The Canadian Forces Music Centre (CF Mus C) was disbanded and became DHH 7 - CF Music, on 1 April, 1997. DHH 4 (Honours and Awards) left DHH on 2 March, 2007 and became the Directorate - Honours and Recognition (DH&R).
- Director: Dr. Steve Harris
- Coordinator: LCol Durwin McLellan
- DHH 2 - CF Chief Historian: Dr. Steve Harris
- DHH 3 - CF Dress and Ceremonial: Major Stephen Miller
- DHH 5 - CF Museums and Historical Collections: Mr. Michel Litalien
- DHH 6 - CF Heritage Officer: Major Ivan Dellaire
- DHH 7 - Supervisor of Music: LCol Stephen Murray
The Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) is divided into sections. The primary activities, responsibilities, resources and relationships of these sections are outlined as follows:
- History and Archives (DHH 2). Military history is used throughout the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces to deepen professional knowledge of policy evolution, grand and military strategy, operations, and tactics, in the context of social, technological and infrastructure change.
DHH 2 gathers, preserves and imposes intellectual control over the historical record (including unit annual historical reports and unit operational records), carries out historical research and provides historical support on demand, and, publishes official, commemorative and popular histories to meet the goals of the Department of National Defence. Many of the research resources maintained for DND/CF use are available to the public. This section also operates the CF Artists Programme which sends civilian volunteer artists to war / operational zones, bases and CF workplaces to record sailors, soldiers and air personnel at work for the benefit of Canadian society at large.
- CF Dress and Ceremonial (DHH 3). This section maintains the CF dress, insignia, customs and ceremonial policies on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff. The Chief of Defence Staff is advised on dress policies by a National Defence Clothing and Dress Committee (NDCDC), and, on matters which apply only to members allocated a specific environmental identity, by the principal commander of the applicable force. This section also assists Veterans Affairs Canada in commemorating Canada’s battles overseas.
- CF Museums (DHH 5). Canadian Forces museums collect, preserve, and interpret our military heritage to create a sense of history, identity, and pride within the Canadian Forces and throughout Canada, in support of the goals of the Department of National Defence. CF museums are independent, non-public funded institutions, with ownership vested in the Commanding Officers of the supporting units. Units without museums are encouraged to create historical collections for the same purpose.
- Military Heritage (DHH 6). Like other large and complex organizations, the Canadian Armed Forces are governed and managed by rules and regulations. It is however, military customs and traditions, which have evolved over time, that are the spirit of the organization, imparting a sense of purpose through pride in the Canadian Armed Forces. The DHH 6 role is to preserve and communicate Canada’s military customs and traditions (heritage) to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian public. We define tradition as a set of beliefs and attitudes, handed down from generation to generation, which guide behaviour: in the field, Canadian Army officers generally do not eat until their troops have been fed. Customs are habitual actions or practices: at formal dinners in the Royal Canadian Navy, the decanter of port is passed from member to member without leaving the table. Heritage encompasses both customs and traditions, combined with historical knowledge and breathes life into the Canadian Armed Forces.
Knowledge of our military heritage fosters pride that improves operational effectiveness and ultimately reinforces the Chain of Command. To accomplish this mandate, the Heritage staff manages and provides advice on the CAF identity system that includes lineage, insignia, uniforms, accoutrements, flags, colours (guidons, standards) and battle honours. The section also produces and promulgates revisions to CAF Publications “Lineages & Insignia of the CAF” and “Traditions & Customs of the CAF” and manages the Canadian Military History Gateway web portal.Canada’s legal and moral obligation to care for newly-discovered remains of servicemen and women from 20th century wars gave rise in 2007 to a dedicated DND identification program. The role of the Casualty Identification program is to recover (when necessary) then, whenever possible, identify through historic and scientific analytical techniques and bury these remains. The military burial connects serving members with their fallen comrades and the families of the fallen, fostering a strong sense of continuity and identity with past generations who have served Canada.
- CF Music (DHH 7). The roles and tasks of the Supervisor of Music are to:
- advise the Chief of Military Personnel regarding the exercise of functional authority with respect to the Music Branch;
- advise the Director – Personnel Generation Requirements on musician qualification standards;
- conduct, coordinate and evaluate technical auditions of prospective musicians as part of the recruiting process;
- review the instrumental configurations of all CF bands;
- validate the technical capability and professional competency of all musicians and CF bands; and
- recommend policy changes to DHH.