Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Sacrifice Medal

The Governor General of Canada today announced a new military medal.

Click here to see larger image

Artistic rendering, creation of the Chancellery of Honours
A new military medal has been inaugurated to commemorate soldiers and civilians who are wounded or killed while serving Canada. This is an innovation away from British tradition, as Canada will now have for the first time something resembling America's Purple Heart. However, while Purple Hearts are often awarded immediately following hostile action, the Sacrifice Medal will come only after an application through military channels by a commanding officer.

"The Sacrifice Medal was created in the context of increased casualties in overseas operations to fulfill the desire of Canadians and the Government to provide formal recognition, through the award of an official medal emanating from the Crown, to those who are killed or wounded by hostile action. This honour replaces the Wound Stripe."

The Sacrifice Medal was created to recognize a member of the Canadian Forces, a member of an allied force, or a Canadian civilian under the authority of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces who, as of  October 7, 2001, died or was wounded under honourable circumstances as a direct result of hostile action. Given the number of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan since 2001, hundreds of soldiers will immediately qualify for the honour.

Description: the Medal consists of a silver circular medal that is 36 mm across, has a claw at the top of it in the form of the Royal Crown, and is attached to a straight slotted bar.

On the obverse of the Medal appears a contemporary effigy of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, facing right, wearing a Canadian diadem composed alternately of maple leaves and snow flakes, and circumscribed with the inscriptions “ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA” and “CANADA”, separated by small maple leaves, and

on the reverse of the Medal appears a representation of the statue named “Canada” –that forms part of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial – facing right, overlooking the horizon. The inscription “SACRIFICE” appears in the lower right half of the Medal.

The Medal is suspended from a watered ribbon that is 32 mm in width, consisting of a 10-mm black stripe in the middle that is flanked by 11-mm red stripes, on which are centred 1-mm white stripes.

The bar to the Medal is in silver with raised edges and shall bear a centred, single silver maple leaf overall. The Medal shall be engraved on the edge with the service number, rank, forename initials and surname of any military recipient or with the forenames and surname of any civilian recipient.

Wearing: The Medal shall be worn following the Royal Victorian Medal (R.V.M.), in the order of precedence in the Canadian Honours System.


Lord Best said...

I just hope they get a decent engraver to hand engrave the master dies and not rely on some soulless computer guided laser to engrave it. Medals honouring the sacrifice of soldiers should not be entrusted to a computer.

Sir Walter Scott said...

It's beautiful. I still think Vimy Ridge is the most moving and masterful of war memorials.

Anonymous said...

this seems like a very fitting medal to give to those so have made sacrifices during the 2 major conflicts in the last 7 years and for all conficts to come.

Lest We Forget those who do make the ultimate sacrifice

Shaftesbury said...


I have mixed feelings here; on one hand I am always satisifed when our Servicemen and Women receive recognition for their sacrifices, but on the other hand this appears to be more aping of Americanisms - the very thing Harper is continually guilty of demonstrating.

I would have hoped (although a different medal and given for different reasons - that we could have brought back the George Cross and got rid of all the medals with "Stars" on them!

British Crosses is our tradition.

Matt said...

I'm with Shaftesbury.

- M

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

I for one would prefer they retained the Wound Stripe...

Shaftesbury said...

Which is the point ...

Bring back the real Uniform - Pips, Stripes, Braid and all !

Beaverbrook said...

UK MPs have been been calling for a sacrifice medal for British casualties since 2001.

I'm of two minds too. While these are done in good taste with the Crown front and centre, and while it is hard to argue against honouring soldiers who have given the supreme sacrifice, there are a couple of drawbacks.

One is that there is no prerequisite for gallantry or bravery of any kind, a soldier need only be injured. In other words, there is a chance that soldiers could be awarded for cowardice, such as being shot down in the process of deserting the battle. That's why we have gallantry medals. It is possible to win the Victoria Cross without being injured, but that is very very rare.

Another reason is that beyond the British Commonwealth "Wound Stripe", supreme sacrifice has historically been recognized by way of the Memorial Cross (Silver Cross Mother) established in 1919 and awarded to the mother, widow, or next of kin of any member of the Canadian Forces who loses his or her life in active service. While not technically awarded to the soldier in question, it was a wa y of recognizing the supreme sacrifice.

Beaverbrook said...

I also agree with SWS that the Vimy Ridge Memorial is the single most outstanding war memorial on the Western Front. Menin Gate and Thiepval are also striking and moving in their own way, but Vimy must surely be at the top of the list.

Shaftesbury said...

Having been to the the Western Front a few times, I can attest to the singular power of the the Allward's Memorial - sitting alone atop the hill overlooking the Plain of Douai. It is very well done indeed and a haunting testament.

To me the scale of Thiepval was shocking - and I knew what to expect by way of description. It is comparatively remote and the Memorial can be seen from some distance on clearer days.

The most moving thing to me however, is the Sunset Ceremony at the Menin Gate. The power of "The Last Post" and the effect of this continuous homage to our Imperial sacrifice never ceases to move me in uncontrollable ways.

Two of my Great Uncles perished in the mud of Flanders and one on the Hill at Vimy.

They are never forgotten.

Shaftesbury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaftesbury said...

In fact, they shall live for evermore ...

Younghusband said...

Shameful. An American-owned hotel in Britain has barred a soldier from staying the night under its "no military personnel" policy.