Canadian military medals
The Canadian military medal is a decoration that has been awarded to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and allied forces who have demonstrated bravery, heroism or outstanding service while facing enemy combatants or in hazardous circumstances. The Canadian forces decoration can also be awarded posthumously.
The history of the Canadian military medals dates back to World War One when it was created as a way to recognize the brave and heroic actions of Canadian soldiers. Since then, it has been awarded to many deserving individuals, both in times of war and peace. The medal is a reminder of the selfless sacrifice made by so many Canadians in defence of our freedoms. It is also a symbol of the strength and resilience of the Canadian spirit.
Bravery, heroism or outstanding service while facing enemy combatants
History of the Canadian military medals
The origins of the Canadian military medal date back to the First World War, when members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force distinguished themselves in battle. In 1918, the Governor-General of Canada, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, approved the award of the Military Cross and Bar to Canadians who had performed acts of bravery.
During the Second World War, the Canadian military medal was once again awarded to members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their acts of bravery. The criteria for the award were slightly different from the First World War, and it could be awarded to both officers and enlisted men.
Since the Second World War, the Canadian military medals have been awarded in various conflicts, including the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the Afghanistan War. It is currently awarded to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, both regular and reserve, who distinguish themselves in combat.
What are the highest Canadian military medals?
The highest Canadian and Commonwealth military decoration is the Victoria Cross. It is awarded for the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
The Victoria Cross was created by Queen Victoria and was first awarded during the 1856 Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients
In 1967, Canada started to develop their own national honour system that was a little bit different than the original British and Commonwealth one. The Victoria Cross (Canada) was introduced in 1993 being the highest military award.
The metal is said to be from a Russian cannon captured during the siege of Sevastopol in 1854/55. Further research however points to the Chinese origin of the metal.
How does Victoria Cross look?
The Canadian Victoria Cross is based on the original British design that was created by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. It is a cross pattee style of cross. It has 4 straight, 1.5-inch arms going in each direction, is made out of bronze-coloured alloy and weighs 27grams.
The obverse bears the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion and the inscription “For Valour”. The cross is attached to a small ring that is attached to an ornamented bar. The name, rank, number and unit of the recipient are engraved at the back of this bar. A red ribbon passes through this ornamented bar. The date of the act for which the person was awarded is engraved on the reverse in the center of a circular panel.
The Victoria Cross is currently awarded by the Queen on the advice of her ministers.
How much is Victoria Cross worth?
Because of their rarity, some Victoria Crosses were sold for around half a million Canadian dollars at auctions.
Cross of Valour
The Cross of Valour is a Canadian military decoration that recognizes acts of bravery in the presence of the enemy. It is the second-highest award that can be given to members of the Canadian Forces and is second only to the Victoria Cross. It is also the highest honour awarded to Canadian civilians and the highest of Canadian Bravery Decorations.
The Cross of Valour was created in 1972 and has been presented to individuals, both Canadians and foreigners, living and deceased, who have performed acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.
Cross of Valour has four limbs, golden-edged red enamel obverse and gold maple leaf and a gold laurel wreath. Royal Cypher of a Canadian sovereign with the words Valour – Vaillance is on the reverse along with the recipient’s name and date of the incident.
The Star of Military Valour
The Star of Military Valour is a Canadian military decoration. It is the second-highest award for military valour and one of three honours for military valour gifted by the Canadian monarch. It is presented to living and deceased members of Canadian forces who have shown distinguished and valiant service in the presence of the enemy.
The Star of Military Valour was created in 1993 as a part of military valour decorations.
The military medal is a silver-gilt, eight-pointed star with crossed swords in the centre, surmounted by a St. Edward’s Crown. The words “VALOUR” and “COURAGE” are inscribed on the arms of the cross. The reverse bears two laurel leaves and the inscription “CANADA”. The name of the recipient is engraved on the lower arm of the cross.
Medal of Military Valour
The Medal of Military Valour is the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to members of the Canadian Forces. It recognizes “a deed or an act of valour or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy”.
The Medal of Military Valour was created in 1993 together with the Star of Military Valour.
The MMV is a gold medal with Royal Cypher and St. Edwards Crown on the reverse. The obverse is decorated with a maple leaf. The name and rank of the recipient are on the edge of the military medal.
The Victoria Cross, Cross of Valour, and Medal of Military Valour are all-important Canadian war medals that recognize acts of bravery in the face of the enemy. Understanding the history and significance of these military medals of war is important for any Canadian military member or enthusiast.
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