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Long service medals

This is Part II of a series on long service medals. Part I appeared in the August/September issue.

The Colonial Permanent Forces LSGC medal was introduced in 1909 for NCOs and men in Dominion forces. Prior to this, 150 LSGC (Army) medals had been issued to Canadians in the permanent forces.

The Colonial LSGC medal is silver and bears an effigy of the sovereign on the obverse. The reverse bears the legend ‘For Long Service and Good Conduct’ in the centre and ‘Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas’ around the circumference. From 1909 to 1916 the ribbon was crimson with a narrow central white stripe; thereafter, it was crimson with two white stripes on either side of the centre. It was replaced by the Canadian LSGC medal in 1932.

The Canadian Efficiency Decoration (ED) was approved on 31 December 1931 for commissioned officers joining on or before 1 September 1939, for 20 years service in the Non-Permanent Active Militia or RCAF Auxiliary or Reserve.

The medal is an oval oak wreath in sliver, tied with gold, enclosing the Royal Cypher and surmounted by a crown. The reverse is plain for engraving names. The ED is suspended from a green ribbon with a central green stripe.

The Canadian Efficiency Medal was also approved for Warrant Officers, NCOs and men, except only 12 qualifying years were required. Like the ED, wartime service counted double. The medal is a silver oval with an effigy of the sovereign on the obverse. The words ‘For Efficient Service’ are inscribed in three lines on the reverse. The ribbon is green with yellow edges.

The Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) superceded all other awards for members joining the Canadian Forces after 1 September 1939. All ranks that have completed 12 years of service qualify for the CD, including Regular and Reserve Force members and Officers of the Cadet Instructor Cadre.

The medal was initiated on 15 December 1949 and was first awarded on 1 September 1951 to qualified individuals and also to the Governor General of the day.

The CD may be awarded to individuals who have other LSGC or good conduct or efficiency decorations provided that the qualifying service for one of these awards is not counted as qualifying time for the CD. A bar is awarded for each additional ten-year period of qualifying service.

The CD is ten-sided, representing the 10 provinces, and has raised busts of the sovereign on the obverse. For King George VI, the CD is fine silver finished with silver gilt, and for Queen Elizabeth II, it is tombac. Both versions are gilt (gold) in colour with the Queen’s version being brighter.

On the reverse, a crown, the three separate services are represented by three maple leaves and an eagle, with a fleur-de-lis on either side of the crown. The word ‘Service’ is on a scroll at the base. King George VI versions also show the Royal Cypher in the centre surmounted by the sovereign’s crown. The rank, initials and name of the recipient are engraved around the lower rim. The ribbon is orange-red with three equally spaced white stripes and a single white stitch on each edge.

 

by LCol (Ret’d) John Stuart, OMM, CD

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