Lieutenant-colonel (Canada)

Please see "lieutenant colonel" for other countries which use this rank

In the Canadian Forces, lieutenant-colonel (LCol, French: lieutenant-colonel or lcol) is a rank for officers who are in the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force, equal to commander for officers who are in the Royal Canadian Navy. A lieutenant-colonel is the second-highest rank of senior officer. A lieutenant-colonel is senior to a major or lieutenant-commander, and junior to a colonel or naval captain.

The rank insignia for a lieutenant-colonel on air force uniforms is three 1 cm stripes of braid, worn on the cuffs of the service-dress jacket, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. On army uniforms, the rank insignia is one pip and a crown.

Lieutenant-colonels are addressed by rank and name and thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am".

In the Canadian Army, lieutenant-colonels are often employed as commanding officers of battalion-sized groups, such as infantry battalions, armoured regiments, artillery field regiments, engineer field regiments, signal regiments, field ambulances and service battalions.

In the Royal Canadian Air Force, lieutenant-colonels are often seen as the commanding officer of flying or ground squadrons.

Note: Before unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, rank structure and insignia followed the British pattern.

Canadian Army OF-4

Dress uniform tunic


Uniform shirts


Olive green uniforms (old insignia)

CADPAT temperate LCol

CADPAT uniform (old insignia)

CADPAT arid LCol

Arid-region CADPAT uniform (old insignia)

Canadian RCAF OF-4

Dress uniform tunic

Air Force slip-on LCol

Uniform shirts (old insignia)

Air Force olive LCol

CADPAT uniform

Colonel (Canada)

In the Canadian Forces, the rank of colonel (Col) (French: colonel, col) is a rank for officers who wear army or air force uniform, equal to a captain for officers who wear navy uniform. A colonel is the highest rank of senior officer. A colonel is senior to a lieutenant-colonel or naval commander, and junior to a brigadier-general or commodore.

Typical appointments for colonels include:

Base commander (BComd)

Wing commander (Wg Comd)

Commanding officer of a school or training establishment, such as commandant of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College, or commander of Combat Training Centre Gagetown

Commander of a brigade group

Branch advisor

Military attaché to foreign nationsThe rank insignia for air force uniform is four 1⁄2-inch (1.3 cm) stripes, worn on the cuffs of the service dress jacket, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. The insignia for army uniform is two stars and a crown. The insignia worn on the headdress for an army colonel is the crest of the Canadian coat of arms: a crowned gold lion with a maple leaf in its paw standing on a red-and-white wreath, all beneath the royal crown; the collar insignia is two crossed sabres. Some colonels, by nature of holding a specific appointment, may continue to wear the insignia of their personnel branch or regiment; for example, the honorary colonel of an infantry regiment. Air force colonels wear the badge of their personnel branch (most often the Air Operations Branch) on their headdress.

Colonels are addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am".

Before unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, rank structure and insignia followed the British pattern.

Army uniform variations

Air Force uniform variations

Lieutenant colonel

Lieutenant colonel (pronounced Lef-ten-ent Kernel (UK & Commonwealth) or Loo-ten-ent Kernel (US)) is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies, most marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence. Sometimes, the term 'half-colonel' is used in casual conversation in the British Army. A lieutenant colonel is typically in charge of a battalion or regiment in the army.

William Osborne Smith

Lieutenant-Colonel William Osborne Smith (1833 – 11 May 1887) served as the first Acting Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, from 25 September to 17 October 1873.

Osborne Smith was born to W. H. Smith of Hendreowen (West Glamorgan), Wales. He was commissioned into the British Army's 39th Foot in 1855. He served in the Crimea and came to Canada with his regiment in 1856. He married Janet Colquhoun of Montreal in 1858. When his unit was transferred to Bermuda in 1859, Osborne Smith, then a Lieutenant, sold his commission and became a merchant in Montreal. He later became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Militia.

Osborne Smith carries the distinction of having the only regimental number that carries a fraction. His number was 2.5.He returned to Wales and died in Swansea in 1887.

NATO rank code Student Officer OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6
Royal Canadian Navy NCdt A/SLt SLt Lt(N) LCdr Cdr Capt(N) Cmdre RAdm VAdm Adm
Not used
Canadian Army OCdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj LCol Col BGen MGen LGen Gen Not used
Royal Canadian Air Force OCdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj LCol Col BGen MGen LGen Gen Not used


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