Royal Newfoundland Regiment- Symbols & Insignia



The Royal Newfoundland Regiment utilized the woodland caribou as its symbol. Along with brass shoulder titles (1st NFLD or NFLD) this identified a soldier as a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who otherwise conformed to the basic appearance of all British soldiers.



Additionally, coloured shapes/symbols were used for various forms of identification. In Newfoundland's case, the regimental colours were claret (medium dark red) & white. These colours were presented to the 1st Newfoundland Regiment at Stobs Camp, Scotland, June 10th, 1915. The first patch in these colours was rectangular and located on each shoulder just below the brass title. In 1917 (possibly earlier), it was changed to a circle and moved to ???? It is a little unclear as to where the patch was worn on the uniform. There may be several possibilities, but we have identified three examples:

  • on the sleeve
  • on the back of the collar
  • on the upper back between the shoulders (below collar)

We believe the orientation of the patch may have been an indicator as to a particular company or to identify staff attached to Head Quarters. In any case we do not have a definite answer. However, given available information we ultimately decided to place these patches below the collar and between the shoulders on our replica uniforms.


As well as a regimental identifier there were also divisional patches that identified a solider as belonging to a particular division. The NFLD Regiment initially joined 88th Brigade of the British 29th British Division (aka The Incomparable Division) in 1915 and was to remain with it until it was temporally removed from active service in 1918. The 29th Division used a red triangle (also known as a half diamond or pyramid) as their symbol that was attached to the upper sleeve. In September 1918, the NFLD Regiment joined the 28th Brigade of the 9th Scottish Division and their Scottish thistle pinned through a dark royal blue circular patch replaced the red triangle on their shoulders.




Throughout the 2014-2018 centenary, the Great War Living History Committee (2014-2018) portrayed the soldiers as they would have appeared from the early days to the end of the war and also as part of the occupation force in Germany in early 1919. In 2018, they updated their uniforms with the 9th Division Patch because the Regiment was attached to that organization in the closing months of the war. Also included was the Overseas Service Chevron that was authorized in late 1917. See below for a breakdown of identifying items and used on these uniforms:

  • Scottish Thistle Patch: On the upper portion the sleeves a metal thistle pinned on a dark royal blue circular patch to represent the 9th Scottish Division that the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was transferred to in September of 1918. Prior to this they wore the red triangle of the 29th Division.
  • Circular Patch: On the back of the tunic a circular patch of claret & white (RNFLDR Colours) that was instituted in early 1917 (possibly earlier) was worn. Prior to this a rectangular claret & white patches were positioned on each shoulder or in some cases no battalion patch at all.
  • Wound Stripe: A soldier wounded would be authorized to wear a wound stripe that indicated that a soldier was injured in combat.
  • Overseas Service Chevron: The Overseas Service Chevron was authorized in December 1917 and one chevron was awarded for each year spent overseas.
  • Blue Puttees: “Blue Puttees” are forever linked to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment but khaki puttees were the type worn throughout the entire war.


Newfoundland's Red Ensign



The Red Ensign with the great seal in the fly was considered Newfoundland's unofficial flag from 1904 until 1931, at which point it was officially legislated as the Dominion of Newfoundland's "National Colours" to be flown as Civil ensign, with the Union Jack being legislated as the national flag at that time as well. The Newfoundland Red Ensign was then used as official commercial shipping identification until the mid-1960s. The badge in the flag consists of Mercury, the god of Commerce and Merchandise, presenting to Britannia a fisherman who, in a kneeling attitude, is offering the harvest of all the sea. Above the device in a scroll are the words Terra Nova, and below the motto Haec Tibi Dona Fero or "These gifts I bring thee."





More Insignias


The First World War British Army had much symbolism at many levels. Here are some examples that were released as Player’s Cigarettes cards. Note for most of the war the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was in the 9th Corp, British 29th Division, 88th Brigade (1 of 4 battalions in that Brigade).






In September 1918 the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was assigned to the 2nd Corp, 9th Scottish Division, 28th Brigade (1 of 3 battalions in that Brigade). It would remain in this position for the remainder of the conflict.