A Medal to Honor

C.E.F. medal
Photos: Doug Peabody
This week's Sepia Saturday prompt show's a dashing young soldier of World War I or the Great War. This year is the 100th anniversary of the start of that war. I have written about my grandfather's involvement in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in the past. What I have never show was this medal he received for service at the front.

Ralph Barton , my grandfather was a member of 286th Regiment of the C.E.F. They were know as The New Brunswick Kilties. And yes they wore kilts in this war as seen by the photo below. They were dispatched from Montreal where they trained on a cold October morning to fight in a the war in Belgium and France. He was awarded this medal upon his discharge.

This type of WW1 Army Class A commemorative service enamel badge was issued to Canadians who had joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and had fought on the Western Front. Time of issue would have either been upon honourable discharge or during active military service back in Canada. The badge indicated that the wearer was a veteran of the Western Front campaign.

New Brunswick Kilties soldiers
Ralph and his brother Frank
The inscription on the rear of the badge reads, 'PENALTY FOR MISUSE 500 DOLLARS OR SIX MONTHS IMPRISONMENT'.

When Britain declared war against Germany in 1914, Canada as a primary Dominion of the British Empire automatically followed suit. Although the badge is a Canadian forces piece, the indelible link with the British Empire is apparent through the centrepiece Union Flag. The CEF was Canada's entire overseas force that totalled 424,000. By the end of the war the force suffered 60,661 losses.

Both Allied and German military commanders recognised the CEF as a highly efficient and effective force. Due to their combat efficiency the Germans even referred to them as 'storm troopers'. This reputation grew, in particular from their service at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Arras at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.

Posted for Sepia Saturday. For many more fine posts click here.

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