Operating Policies of the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces

Forward

The National Military Cemetery (NMC) of the Canadian Forces (CF) is a national focal point of honour which recognises the men and women of Canada’s Armed Forces who have served their country with distinction in war and in peace. As a national site of recognition, this cemetery is unique within Canada. Military burials are based on tradition and the carrying out of that tradition must always be done in a dignified and professional manner to ensure those we mourn are provided the honour and homage that they have earned.

These operational policies provide direction for the management and operation of this sacred site. They receive their authority from Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 5018-3 and the most recent version of the memorandum of understanding between the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation. They are to be applied in conjunction with related publications and guidance from the Directorate of History and Heritage and the Directorate of Honours and Recognition.

The manager of the NMC of the CF is responsible for the maintenance of these policies and to recommend future amendments as required.

Contact Information

Mail

National Military Cemetery
Directorate of Casualty Support Management
National Defence Headquarters
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

Email and Internet

Telephone and Fax

  • Telephone (toll-free):1-800-883-6094
  • Call collect (outside Canada): 613-992-0307
  • Fax: 613-995-9175  Attention: NMC

In Person

Beechwood Cemetery
280 Beechwood Avenue
Ottawa ON  K1M 1K5

The National Military Cemetery is located on the grounds of the Beechwood Cemetery. The main entrance is off of Beechwood Ave., Ottawa, Ontario. The second entrance is on St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa, Ontario.

Figure 1: Beechwood Cemetery Map

Note: The National Military Cemetery is located on the grounds of the Beechwood Cemetery.

 

 

The National Military Cemetery is located on the grounds of the Beechwood Cemetery. The main entrance is off of Beechwood Ave., Ottawa, Ontario. The second entrance is on St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa, Ontario.

Figure 1: Beechwood Cemetery Map

 

Note: The National Military Cemetery is located on the grounds of the Beechwood Cemetery.

 

Map Legend :
Building 1 is the Beechwood National Memorial Centre which is located at the entrance of the park off of Beechwood AvenuePoet's Hill is located in section 18;
The National Military Cemetery is located in section 103;
The White Line runs from the entrance at St. Laurent Boulevard through section 14,17-17A,102,24-30 and section 34;
Building 2 is the Mausoleum which is located in section 55;
The Gazebo is located near the entrance off of Beechwood Ave;Veterans Section is located in section 27;
The Yellow Line runs from the entrance at Beechwood Ave and through the Cemetery sections 50-54, 37-40, 46-47, 34, 27, 100-103, 113-114, 110, 109, and 14 exiting at St. Laurent Boulevard entrance;
Parking is located in section 56 beside the Beechwood National Memorial Centre;
A Tank is located in section 27 which is the National Military Cemetery;
The RCMP Memorial Cemetery is located in section 114;
The Macoun Marsh is located in section 112;
The Botanical Cremation Gardens is located in section 64; 
Élisabeth Bruyere Monument is located in section 110;
The Ottawa Police Memorial Cemetery is located in section 113; and
A Pagoda is located at the entrance off of St. Laurent Boulevard. 

 

Contact Information: 280 Beechwod Ave, PO Box 7025, Ottawa ON, K1L 8E2 - Beechwood Cemetery , info@beechwoodcemetery.com , Telephone - 1-613-741-9530, Fax - 1-613-741-8584

 

Definitions

Beechwood

Beechwood Cemetery and Funeral Services, Beechwood Cemetery Foundation, Beechwood Cemetery

Eligible Family

An immediate family member as defined in DAOD 5018-3, being a spouse, common-law partner, father, mother, child, brother, or sister of an eligible member. It may also include a person who has undertaken the responsibilities and fulfilled the duties of a father or mother.

Eligible Member

Any current or former member of the CAF, former services, or Merchant Navy who qualifies for interment as detailed in Defence Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD) 5018-3.

Honourably Released

Any former member of the CAF who was released under Item 3 (medical), 4 (voluntary), or 5 (service complete) of article 15.01 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders.

Manager

The Manager of the National Military Cemetery of the CAF.

National Military Cemetery

That part of the National Military Cemetery managed by DND, that is, section 103. The actual National Military Cemetery also includes sections 19, 27, and 29 managed by partner agencies, and section 109 that is not yet in use.

General Information

Mission and Vision

The mission of the NMC of the Canadian Forces is to provide a dignified and serene place of rest for deceased eligible members and their families following the traditions and regulations of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The vision of the NMC of the CF is to preserve the important balance between the collective identity of the Canadian military as an institution and the individual identities of the members who comprise it. The collective identity is maintained by preserving historical traditions, uniformity of appearance, and equality of treatment regardless of rank or status. Individual identities are maintained by allowing a degree of personal expression on headstones, and by maintaining a sense of natural beauty and reserved solemnity that gives families peace to remember their loved ones for whom they once were. The cemetery will be a compelling option for individuals for many years to come.

Beechwood Cemetery

The NMC of the CF resides within Beechwood Cemetery (Beechwood). Beechwood was established in 1873 and is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the National Capital Region, covering more than 160 acres in central Ottawa.  It is renowned for its natural beauty and gardens.  Beechwood was declared a National Historic Site in 2001, and in 2004, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was opened within its grounds. On 23 April 2009, bill C-17 received royal assent making Beechwood the National Cemetery of Canada.

Many prominent Canadians are buried at Beechwood such as former Governor General Raymond Hnatyshyn, former Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, and the creator of medicare in Canada, Tommy Douglas. Beechwood is also the final resting place for many of Canada's war heroes. Veterans from the Northwest Rebellion, the World Wars, recent United Nations campaigns, and other conflicts are interred here. These men and women rest amongst the leaders they served, including Generals Henry Crerar, Andrew McNaughton, and Charles Foulkes.

A map of Beechwood Cemetery is found in Figure 1.

The NMC of the CF

The NMC of the CF was officially opened on 28 June 2001 by Her Excellency Governor General Adrian Clarkson. It was dedicated to CF personnel who have faithfully served their nation in times of peace and conflict at home and abroad. It is the national focal point for a grateful nation to honour those who have placed themselves in harm’s way on behalf of the people of Canada. Initially comprising of only section 103, it was a five acre parcel of land capable of accommodating approximately 7,000 urn and traditional casket burials. In 2003, section 109 was added, increasing the total area to 8.29 acres and its capacity to approximately 12,000 burials.

In addition to sections 103 and 109, three of the largest veterans’ burial sites in Canada are located in Beechwood.  At the hub of the cemetery are section 27 and the Field of Valour, purchased by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1944. Over 2,400 graves are laid out around the central Cross of Sacrifice.  A prominent corner in Section 19 contains the remains of 168 veterans and is administered by Veterans Affairs Canada. Likewise, in section 29, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission administers 235 graves.

In 2006, Veterans Affairs Canada, the DND, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission combined their interests at Beechwood and established a new larger NMC. It brought together all those who died on active service, whose death was related to service, or who served honourably and have chosen to rest among their comrades in the sacred grounds of sections 19, 27, 29, 103, and (eventually) 109. For the purpose of this information and for simplicity, the title “National Military Cemetery” will refer to only section 103, although the actual NMC includes all five sections.

Monuments

Located at the west entrance to NMC is the main Monument dedicated in 2001. The inscription on the front reads, “The NATIONAL MILITARY CEMETERY OF THE CANADIAN FORCES”. The inscription on the back reads, “TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF CANADA’S ARMED FORCES WHO HAVE SERVED THEIR COUNTRY WITH DISTINCTION IN WAR AND PEACE”. The design of the monument is based on four Canadian First World War monuments; Courcelette, Le Quesnal, Hill 62, and Passchendale. It most closely resembles the Passchendaele monument – simple and dignified, yet imposing. The monument is made of light barre granite. Work on the monument was done in Canada by Rock of Ages of Beebe, Quebec. The inscription and design is by MCM Lettering of St. Leonard, Quebec. The monument weighs over 20,240 kilograms (over 24 metric tons) and is 2.59 metres wide, 84 centimetres thick, and, including the base, measures 2.26 metres in height. Placement of the monument required the largest crane in Eastern Ontario and Western Québec. This Monument is a saluting area.

A large tri-service monument was erected in 2004 and is made from stone of the same quarry used for the main Monument. The style of lettering used in the engraving is identical as well. The monument is three-sided with an appropriate poem for each of the services represented on each side and is not a saluting area.

Visitors

Beechwood encourages visitors but is considered private property. To maintain the serenity and uniformity of the site and respect for those interred, visitors are asked to follow basic rules of conduct while at NMC:

  • Flowers and wreaths may be placed at graves or monuments but will be periodically removed by Beechwood staff. Floral items or other types of decorations may not be secured to headstones or monuments. The planting of flowers, shrubs, or other plants is prohibited.
  • Statues, vigil lights, flags, and any type of commemorative items are not permitted on graves and will be removed by Beechwood staff and disposed of. Items of any kind, including photographs and other forms of tribute or remembrance, may not be affixed to headstones or markers.
  • Visitors are expected to deport themselves in a dignified and respectful manner. They shall not interfere with the preparation or conduct of any events or activities. Parking controls are to be respected.

Policies and References

These policies are intended to provide direction on matters regarding only section 103 of the NMC. Sections 19, 27, and 29 are managed by the other partner agencies of the NMC, and section 109 is not yet in use.

These policies are issued by the Director of Casualty Support Management (DCSM) and are derived from authorities in Departmental Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD) 5018-3 and various Queen’s Regulations and Orders (QR&O). The CAF Manual of Drill and Ceremonial (A-PD-201-000), and Heritage Structure of the CAF (A-AD-200-000) are also important references in relation to operations and management of NMC.

The NMC Manager is responsible for the maintenance of these policies. Any individual or organisation may submit suggestions for amendments or additions to the Manager at any time for consideration.

Requests for exceptions may be considered if extraordinary or unique circumstances can be demonstrated. The approval of any such requests will not necessarily change current policies. Requests shall be sent to the Manager in writing by mail or e-mail.

In order to ensure that policies and decisions are equitable and in keeping with the customs and traditions of the CAF, DCSM consults with many organisations including:

  • Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH)
  • Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DHR)
  • Chaplain General
  • Beechwood

Appeals to decisions made by the Manager are to be directed in writing to DCSM. Any decision by DCSM as to the interpretation of DOAD 5018-3 or these policies shall be binding in the event of a dispute.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility

Eligibility for interment is restricted to those persons described in DAOD 5018-3, specifically:

  • Serving or honourably released members of the CAF (Regular and Primary Reserve) and former services.
  • Canadian veterans of the World Wars or Korean War (veterans of the World Wars or Korea, or members who served during peacetime or special designated areas who were in receipt of a disability pension at time of death are also eligible for burial in section 27, managed by Veterans Affairs Canada).
  • Merchant Navy veterans as defined by Veterans Affairs Canada.
  • Immediate family members of eligible members.

Each plot may contain the remains of a maximum of two eligible deceased persons, at least one of whom must be an eligible member.

A former service member who is ineligible for interment because of a dishonourable release may be interred as an eligible family member if they so qualify, but no mention of military service will be permitted on the headstone nor shall any military participation be present at the interment.

Re-interment into NMC of eligible members or family from other locations is permitted.

A plot will be assigned to an eligible member only if there are remains to be placed into it.

If remains are not available due to the nature of death, a plot and headstone is permitted, and an eligible family member may be interred in that plot.

In the case of an urn burial, a minority portion of the ashes may be retained by the family if so desired. It is expected that those remaining ashes are not or will not be formally interred with a grave marker elsewhere.

Approval for interment may be subsequently withdrawn if it is determined that a service or family member’s eligibility changes for any circumstance including but not limited to fraud, or receiving a dishonourable release after having an application approved while they were still a serving member. Members deemed ineligible in this fashion are responsible for recouping any previous payments made to Beechwood.

If a member or family are technically eligible, interment may still be denied or approval revoked by the Manager for any cause including but not limited to infamy.

Application for Interment

Applications for interment may be submitted prior to death.

An application is made by completing a DND 2277 (version 05-2011) NMC of the CF Registration Application for Section 103, found in the Related Links section at the top of this page. You can also contact DCSM to get a form.

Once the application has been completed, it may be sent to DCSM by fax, mail, email, or in person.

Applications will be verified by DCSM to confirm the eligibility of the applicant and will be acknowledged by formal letter advising of either an approval or denial. Records held by the CAF and/or Library and Archives Canada will be consulted in accordance with the Privacy Act to confirm information.

Approved Applications

Copies of approved requests will be forwarded to Beechwood and the LO. Applicants or family members upon receiving notification of approval may then make any desired pre-need arrangements with Beechwood staff to secure a plot and headstone. The CAF is not involved in any financial or undertaking services. All gravesites are allocated in sequential order and not by rank, service, unit, or personal preference.

Burial costs are borne by DND in accordance with Compensation and Benefits Instruction paragraph 210.20 only for entitled members as defined in QR&O Vol I article 24.15. They are listed as serving members of the Regular and Special Forces, Reservists who die while on service, and Victoria Cross recipients.

Burial costs for eligible members not described in QR&O Vol I art 24.15 and eligible family will be borne by the applicant or their family/estate. Fees related to burials and related services are established annually based upon rates filed with the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. An annual rate table is published and is located on the Casualty Support website and is also available by contacting DCSM.

Serving members who receive a notice of approval should later provide their release item upon release by contacting DCSM. This will eliminate delays in re-verifying eligibility upon death.

Pre-need plots and headstones that remain unused over ten years may be audited to confirm their continued requirement. If no contact with the applicant or family can be made, the plot may be reassigned and the headstone disposed of without refund.

Dedications

Groups or families may purchase a tree and rock for dedication in memory of an eligible member. A tree dedication consists of a small boulder with a bronze plaque placed at the front of a tree selected by the family. This opportunity may be attractive to families of eligible members buried elsewhere who want their family member associated with NMC without actually being interred there. The plaque may display any inscription provided that there is a dedication to an eligible member and the content is deemed suitable by the Manager and Beechwood. Once all trees and rocks presently incorporated into the landscape plan have been designated, there will be no additional dedications.

Groups or families may purchase a tree or rock for dedication to a military organisation, group, association, etcetera, as approved by the Manager. Once all trees and rocks presently incorporated into the landscape plan have been designated, there will be no additional dedications. The plaque may display any inscription provided that there is a specified dedication and the content is deemed suitable by the Manager and Beechwood.

Headstones

This section outlines policies with respect to headstone dimensions, material, and engravings. Patterned after headstones from the first and second world wars, their designs are controlled to ensure that a uniform standard is maintained. Provisions exist to provide some individual latitude with design and content, but the customs and traditions of the CAF remain paramount.

Headstone Material, Dimensions, and Design

Headstones are made of light grey barre granite with a steeled finish on all sides. They are inscribed with Roman style letters 6mm (15/64 inches) in depth.

The dimensions of a headstone are:

  • height: 1120mm (44 inches) at tallest point
  • height visible above surface: 813mm (32 inches) at tallest point
  • width: 381mm (15 inches)
  • thickness:  76mm (3 inches)
  • top edge: serpentine, with 250mm (10 inch) radius and 50mm (2 inch) drop Headstones will be engraved only in English, French, or bilingual English/French.

The headstone of serving members will be only partially engraved. Unknown details or information that can change such as post-nominals and rank will be added after release or death as determined by the applicant. This will usually involve additional costs as determined by Beechwood.

Examples of headstone layouts are shown in Figures 2, 3 and 4.

Badges

Only badges that have been approved for use by the CAF and former services and verified by DHH will be engraved on headstones.

Members or their families must choose one current or former organisational badge from the following categories to be displayed at the top of the headstone:

  • The CF badge
  • Command, Element, or former services badges
  • Branch badges
  • Army corps and regimental badges
  • The Merchant Navy badge

The badge selected must be reflective of any portion of the member’s nature and period of service. Members are not restricted to badges they were associated with at retirement.

Common-to-all designs that were approved for use on headstones for First World War casualties, 1914-1921, and Second World War casualties, 1939-1947, such as the maple leaf, are not authorised for use at NMC as their design and use were conflict and date specific. Crests and other unofficial emblems are not permitted, nor are qualification, trade, specialty, flying, rank, award, or other similar badges. Internally designed badges such as logos may not be used. This includes but is not limited to badges or crests of ships, army divisions or brigades, health services group, and air force squadrons.

Members of support trades cannot choose the badge of a unit or branch they supported, for example, logistics and intelligence personnel cannot choose an infantry unit’s badge although they may once have been in support of that unit.

Contact NMC for a graphic of a badge if required.

Service Number and Rank

Regimental or service numbers and rank are engraved together on a single line.

A former member who served during the transition from regimental numbers to service numbers may choose either for engraving. Members who used the social insurance number (SIN) as a service number may not have their SIN on a headstone. If an applicant had only a SIN as a service number, a service number may have been assigned following release, in which case that service number would be used on the headstone. In the event that no service number was ever assigned, no SIN or service number will appear on the headstone – only the rank shall.

Only the substantive rank or designation of rank held at the time of release or death (unless excepted below) will be engraved on the headstone regardless of what previous ranks the member may have held during their service. If a member had multiple periods of service, the rank at the time of the latest release will be used.

If a member dies on service with a temporary or acting rank, the temporary or acting rank held at the time of death is the legal rank to be used on the headstone.

Ranks and designation of ranks listed in QR&O Volume I article 3.01 will be used. Former ranks and designations will be used if the member ended his service during a time when applicable former regulations were in effect. In addition, historic ranks belonging to the Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division are recognised as official ranks.

The appointment of Master Corporal as described in QR&O Volume I article 3.08 may be used if desired. Similarly, Lance appointments used prior to unification may also be used.

The post-unification naval ranks of Lieutenant and Captain will be suffixed with an (N) to distinguish them from army and air force ranks of the same name.

Ranks will be engraved in abbreviated form.

Name and Post-Nominals

Normally, the name and post-nominals will appear on the same line.  Should the name be too long to allow for the placement of post-nominals or there are too many post-nominals to fit onto the same line as the name, the post-nominals will be placed on a separate line below the name.

Legal names only will be engraved on the headstone – no nicknames shall appear. Middle names may be used if desired unless they, combined with post-nominals or maiden name, do not fit on the line in which case initials may be used instead. A maiden name, if requested, will appear in brackets preceding the married name when the complete name, including the maiden name, can fit onto a single line. When the complete name, including the maiden name, cannot fit onto a single line, the maiden name will appear in brackets and will follow the married name and be placed on the next line, with any post-nominals following the maiden name.

Only post-nominals that represent orders, decorations, and medals assigned an official abbreviation on the Governor General’s order of precedence will be engraved on headstones.  Other post-nominals such as civil, academic, or religious distinctions and fellowships will not be displayed.

Service Affiliation

The service affiliation line will be placed immediately below the name or, should post-nominal have to be placed below the name due to insufficient space, immediately below the post-nominals.

Only one service affiliation will be used, and it shall match the chosen badge. The affiliation name will be spelled out in full unless there is insufficient space in which case the authorised abbreviation will be used. The service affiliation will not be further expanded by the use of ship, battalion, squadron, trade, or other such designations.

In the event that one badge represents more than one affiliation, only affiliations that a member had during their service may be used. For example, pre-unification naval personnel using the Royal Canadian Navy badge will be distinguished between their components of Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, or Royal Canadian Navy (Reserve).

Dates

The dates of birth and death will be engraved on the line under service affiliation.

Religious Emblems

The religious emblem chosen by a member or family will be placed at the base of the headstone. A religious emblem is not mandatory, and should a member or their family decline to have one, the space will be left vacant. Only one religious symbol may be used.

Only religious emblems that have been authorised by the Canadian Forces Chaplain General’s Office are approved for engraving on headstones. Should a member or their family make a request for a religious emblem not on the approved list, the request will be forwarded to the Manager for review and, where necessary, forwarded to the Chaplain General’s office for consideration.

Headstone Markings for Eligible Family

The information pertaining to a family member is engraved on the lower portion of the same headstone used for the member.

If the family member is also serving or has former service, the pattern of engraving is almost identical to that of the member, that is, regimental or service number, name and post-nominals, service affiliation and date. A relationship to member phrase may be used instead of the service affiliation (see following paragraph). At the base of the headstone can be either one religious symbol for both members, or a badge to represent the family member’s service affiliation. If so desired, a family member currently serving or with former service may be represented as a non-military member in which case their engravings will appear as described in the following paragraph. No military presence burial will be afforded in such a case.

For eligible family who are not current or former service members, a statement of the relationship to the member, accompanied by a short term of endearment, must be placed on the line immediately following the name of the family member, for example “Beloved Wife”, “War Bride”, “Devoted Husband” etcetera. The phrase must be formal, not colloquial, and the NMC Manager retains the authority to reject the chosen phrase if it is deemed unsuitable. Dates will appear after the statement of relationship with the religious symbol (if desired) underneath that.

Later Changes to Headstones

Changes to headstone information, such as replacing a religious symbol with a badge, removing a divorced eligible family member name, etcetera, will most likely result in the whole headstone being replaced at the expense of the person requesting it. If a modification is required because of error made by the CAF, costs to correct that error shall normally be covered by the CAF.

Headstone Layout Examples

Figure 2

  • Headstone 1 (left): Non-service couple
    The headstone is comprised of the service crest at the top of the stone, in this case the Navy badge.  The first line under the crest would be the military service number of the deceased member. The second line would be the name of the deceased member with any post nominal that they may have.  The third line would be the command name they served under, in this case the Maritime Command.  The fourth line would be the date of birth of the deceased member, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  The fifth line would be the name of the member’s spouse. The sixth line is a statement of the relationship to the member, in this case beloved wife.  The last line would be the date of birth of the spouse, including the day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  At the bottom of the headstone would be the religious emblem of the member, in this case a cross.
  • Headstone 2 (right): Spouse with maiden name
    The headstone is comprised of the service crest at the top of the stone, in this case the Navy badge.  The first line under the crest would be the military service number of the deceased member. The second line would be the name of deceased member with any post nominal that they may have.  The third line would be the command name they served under, in this case the Maritime Command.  The fourth line would be the date of birth of the member, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  The fifth line would be the name of the member’s spouse with maiden name in brackets in between their first and last name.  The sixth line is a statement of the relationship to the member, in this case beloved wife.  The last line would be the date of birth of the spouse, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  At the bottom of the headstone would be religious emblem of the member, in this case a cross.

Figure 3

  • Headstone 3 (left): Service couple, second badge instead of religious emblem
    The headstone is comprised of the service crest at the top of the stone, in this case the Navy badge.  The first line under the crest would be the military service number of the deceased member. The second line would be the name of the member with any post nominal that they may have.  The third line would be the name of the command they served under, in this case the Maritime Command.  The fourth line would be the date of birth of the member, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  The fifth line would be the military service number of the spouse of the deceased member.  The sixth line would be the name of the spouse with any post nominal that they may have.  The seventh line would be the name of the command the spouse served under, in this case Land Force Command.  The last line would be the date of birth of the spouse, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  At the bottom of the headstone would be the service crest of the spouse, in this case Land Force Command badge.
  • Headstone 4 (right): Service couple, affiliation instead of relationship to first member
    The headstone is comprised of the service crest at the top of the stone, in this case the Navy badge.  The first line under the crest would be the military service number of the deceased member. The second line would be the name of the member with any post nominal that they may have.  The third line would be the name of the command they served under, in this case the Maritime Command.  The fourth line would be the date of birth of the member, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  The fifth line would be the military service number of the spouse of the deceased member.  The sixth line would be the name of the spouse with any post nominal that they may have.  The seventh line would be the name of the command the spouse served under, in this case the Land Force Command.  The last line would be the date of birth of the spouse, including day, month and year along with the day, month and year of their death.  At the bottom of the headstone would be the service crest of the spouse, in this case the Land Force Command badge.

 

Headstone Religious Emblems

A series of headstone religious emblems.

Headstone Religious Emblems are: Christian Cross, Star of David, Muslim (Crescent and Star) Buddhist Wheel of Righteouseness, Hindu, Bahai (9 pointed star), Sikh (Khanda), Taoism, Wicca (Pentacle)

Funerals, Burials, and Ceremonial Events

This section outlines policies and procedures for funerals, interments, and other ceremonial activities that occur at NMC. These are based primarily on the CAF manual of drill and ceremonial and the wishes of families and units.

At NMC, three main types of funerals/burials are supported:

  1. Military Funeral: This ceremony may be conducted when death occurs while a member is still serving in accordance with QR&O 24.15. It may also be available for former members as outlined in that reference.
  2. Military Presence Burial: This ceremony may be conducted for former members or reservists who are not entitled to a military funeral.
  3. Civilian Burial: This form of burial is used for the interment of eligible family who were not former members.

Elements Common to All Funerals / Burials

Funeral services and cremations may occur at locations other than Beechwood. Funerals are not to be confused with interments (burials). The Hall of Colours and Sacred Space of the Beechwood National Memorial Centre are available for funerals of serving and former eligible members.

The scattering of ashes is not permitted unless they are of eligible partial remains and pre-approval has been given by the Manager. No ceremony shall be provided.

A military or civilian chaplain is expected to conduct the funeral and/or interment ceremonies. If no religious involvement is desired, chaplains who can accommodate those wishes and provide a non-religious ceremony are available, otherwise, family members must respect the format used at military services. Chaplains who are not familiar with the ceremony are required to contact the LO well prior to the service.

If inclement conditions exist, musical elements may not be available. In this case, recorded music may be provided.

The Canadian flag and CAF ensign located at the entrance of the NMC shall be flown at half-mast on the day of interment of any eligible member or family member.  Both flags will be raised to full staff upon the completion of all interments scheduled for that day. As a point of mutual respect, flags will also be lowered when interments take place in section 27 or the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery. Conversely, the flags flown at those locations will be lowered in the event of an interment at NMC.

Military Funeral

In accordance with QR&O 24.15, when desired by the next of kin, and where practical, a military funeral may be accorded to deceased members currently serving in the Regular or Special Forces, members of the Reserve Force if they die on service, and holders of the Victoria Cross.  With prior approval of the Chief of the Defence Staff or such officer as he may designate, a military funeral may be accorded to a deceased serving member of the Reserve Force who did not die on service or a former member of the Regular or Special Forces.

The parent unit of the deceased member is expected to provide the personnel for the required funeral parties. Upon reporting to Beechwood, they shall be under operational control of the Manager. Where the parent unit cannot provide all elements of the funeral party, the CAF Support Unit (Ottawa) (CFSU(O)) or other local Ottawa units may augment funeral parties or provide other forms of support, for example, weapons, funeral stores, et cetera, as required.

NMC staff will assist in the coordination of manning and support. A checklist of required information will be sent to the parent unit and designated assistant upon notice of an upcoming funeral. NMC staff will assist only with those funerals that are conducted at Beechwood.

As NMC is a formal and visible component of the entire CAF, units conducting a military funeral shall do so in accordance with the manual of drill and ceremonial, these policies, and instruction provided by NMC staff. The burial party commander or designated unit coordinator for the burial ceremony shall liaise directly with the NMC Manager or LO.  Any modification to the burial ceremony which conflicts with these references must be approved by DCSM. The detailed sequence of events for both a casket and urn interment are provided as an Annex to parade instructions and are available upon request.

A Canadian flag or the CAF ensign in accordance with the member’s/family’s wishes will be presented to the next of kin. Units are responsible for providing flags, or providing funding if NMC provides a flag on a unit’s behalf. Typically, the member’s commanding officer or the senior officer present will present the flag.

Eligible family currently serving or with former service are also entitled to a military funeral even if they have not been represented as a military member on the headstone.

Military Presence Burial

Military presence burials are a unique honour provided only at NMC for those eligible members not entitled to a military funeral. Eligible members or families may choose to have all or any of a seven-man guard, a piper, a bugler, and/or a military chaplain. It is also offered as an alternative to a military funeral if the family wishes a more subdued ceremony. It may also be provided for remains being re-interred from another location. The detailed sequence of events for both casket and urn burials can be acquired by contacting NMC staff.

Members for a military presence burial may be provided by CFSU(O) or other units that are willing to provide support. A burial party may not be available due to operational reasons or other lack of available manpower or resources. Chaplains may be provided by the family, but they must contact the LO prior to the service to receive instructions on protocol.

No components of a military funeral as described in the manual of drill and ceremonial will be added onto the presence burial ceremony, even if requested by the family or supporting unit. A flag will not be presented to the family or be involved in the ceremony.

The conduct of the committal service shall be limited to the necessary prayers and rites and some personal words by the officiating clergy regarding the military career of the deceased.  Eulogies and personal tributes by family and friends shall not take place while the guard is present.

Eligible family with former service will not receive a military presence burial if they are not represented as a military member on the headstone.

Civilian Burials

This burial is for eligible family who were not also service members, or for former service members who are not represented as military members on their headstone. It is also available as an alternative to a military funeral or military presence burial if the family wishes no formal military participation.

NMC staff does not coordinate or provide any military participation or support for these burials.

Hall of Colours

The Hall of Colours within the Beechwood Memorial Centre was opened in 2007 and serves as a place of honour for units to retire their Colours. Units may also move formerly laid-up Colours to the Hall. It also serves as the resting area for deceased members prior to a military funeral for viewings and visitations.

Units interested in laying up Colours are to contact the NMC Manager to make scheduling arrangements or get further information.

As with military funerals, ceremonies involving the Hall of Colours must be in accordance with the manual of drill and ceremonial and instructions provided by NMC staff. The designated unit coordinator must liaise with the NMC Manager or LO. Any modification to ceremonies which conflicts with these instructions must be approved by the Manager. Sample or suggested parade scripts can be made available upon request.

Other Ceremonies

A Remembrance Day ceremony open to the public and military spectators in uniform is conducted annually at NMC on November 11th.  DCSM coordinates and funds the ceremony.

Ceremonies other than interments may be conducted if approved by the NMC Manager and the Chief Operating Officer of Beechwood. They shall not take precedence over the main effort of providing support to funerals or interments. Submissions may be made by contacting the NMC Manager.

NMC has only limited capacity to support other activities. Material and personnel support is expected to be provided by the sponsoring unit. Some support may be available from CFSU(O) as coordinated through the NMC LO.

Ceremonies may be cancelled or reduced in scope if inclement weather is expected or excessive snow is on ground.

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