Canadian WW2 medals
Did you know that some of the bravest soldiers in World War 2 were Canadians? They fought hard in all the major battles, and many of them were awarded medals for their heroism. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Canadian WW2 medals and find out more about the brave men and women who earned them.
Did you know that some of the bravest soldiers in World War 2 were Canadians?
Canadians in World War 2
When did Canada enter World War 2?
Canada officially entered the Second World War on September 10, 1939, just days after Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland. At that time, Canada had a small professional army of just over 100,000 soldiers, and it would take several years to build up the manpower and resources needed to fight a global war.
What battles did Canadian soldiers fight in?
Some of the most famous battles that Canadian troops fought in include the Battle of Dieppe, the Battle of Ortona, and the Battle of Normandy. Canadian soldiers also saw action in the Italy Campaign, the North West Europe Campaign, and the Liberation of Holland.
What medals did Canadian soldiers earn during WW2?
There were many different medals that could be awarded to Canadian soldiers during the Second World War. Some of the most common include the 1939-1945 Star, the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, and the Defence Medal. The Victory Medal was also awarded to all soldiers who served for at least six months during the war.
How many Canadians served in WW2?
A total of 1.1 million Canadians served in the armed forces during the Second World War. This includes both men and women who served in the army, navy, air force, and merchant marine. Of these, more than 45,000 were killed and 55,000 were wounded.
Canadian WW2 medals. Canadian Forces Decorations in WW2
1939-45 Star and Atlantic star
Both medals are campaign medals of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service during World War II. The medals were instituted on 8 July 1945 and could be awarded to personnel for six months’ service outside their country of residence, or for service in operational areas between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.
Operational areas for the purposes of the 1939-45 Star and the Atlantic Star were: The whole of Europe, The whole of the United Kingdom, The territories occupied by enemy forces during the period of hostilities, Service in ships and aircraft which operated within the area without coming under enemy fire, Service on land with Headquarters or Base units within an operational area.
The 1939-45 Star and the Atlantic Star could not both be awarded for the same period of service.
1939-45 Star is a 6-pointed star of yellow copper-zinc alloy. Royal and Imperial cypher are the main motives surrounded by a circlet with the words “1393-45 Star”
Atlantic Star medal is star-shaped and made of yellow copper-zinc alloy. The obverse has a Royal and Imperial cypher and a crown with a circlet with the “The Atlantic Star” word.
The ribbon has colours blue, white and green.
Atlantic medal had similar reward criteria than 1939-45 Star plus
– Operational service of at least six months in an operational area during the period 3 September 1939 to 2 September 1945.
– Aircrew who flew on operations against the enemy for two months or 60 sorties, whichever was the greater, provided they had not already qualified for the Air Crew Europe Star.
– Service afloat in the Atlantic or Home Waters, South-East Asia or in mine-sweeping between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945.
– Was also awarded to personnel who landed in Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944, or who later landed in Europe between 6 June 1944 and 8 May 1945.
Air Crew Europe Star
The Air Crew Europe Star was awarded to all members of the aircrews who flew operational missions over Europe for a period of two months between September 3, 1939, and June 5, 1944.
This medal was not awarded after D-Day. To qualify for the Air Crew Europe Star, personnel must first have qualified for the 1939-1945 Star by completing two months of service in an air operational unit. The total requirement to earn both stars is four months.
The Air Crew Europe Star is a six-pointed star of yellow copper-zinc alloy. The obverse of the star bears the Royal and Imperial cypher, with the words “THE AIR CREW EUROPE STAR” inscribed in a circlet pattern.
The Arctic Star is a Second World War medal. This medal commemorates the Arctic convoys and is designed primarily for ships and their escorts for convoys to northern Russia. The Arctic Star was created in 2013, over 70 years after the end of WWII.
The Africa Star was awarded for a minimum one-day service in an operational area of North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The six-pointed star is a yellow copper-zinc alloy.
The Pacific Star was awarded for one day or more of operational service in the Pacific between 08 December 1941 and 02 September 1945. The medal was also awarded to British Commonwealth personnel who served in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines during the same time period.
The Burma Star was awarded for one day or more of operational service in Burma between 01 December 1941 and 02 September 1945. The medal was also awarded to British Commonwealth personnel who served in India, Thailand and Malaya during the same time period.
Italy Star is a military decoration of the United Kingdom awarded to personnel of the British Armed Forces and Commonwealth who served in Italy, or Sicily during World War II. The star was awarded for one-day operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.
France and Germany Star
This medal was awarded for one day or more of service in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany between 06 June 1944 (D-Day) and 08 May 1945. The Star was also commonly known as the ‘Sixth Army Group Star’.
A Defence Medal is a Second World War medal that was established on 16 August 1945. The medal was usually awarded to Canadians for six months of service in Britain between 03 September 1939 and 08 May 1945, for the following criteria:
-Service in the Forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service lasted for three or more years.
-Members of the women’s services who served in an operational area for at least six months.
-Civilians employed by the military who served in an operational area for at least six months.
-Civilians who were members of the Home Guard, National Fire Service, Air Raid Precautions and other similar organizations for at least six months.
-Merchant seamen who spent at least six months on ships in Convoys.
The Defence Medal was a circular medal, made of copper, and 36mm in diameter. The obverse of the medal bears the effigy of King George VI by T. H. Paget, while the reverse has the inscription ‘THE DEFENCE MEDAL 1939-1945’. The ribbon is green with a central orange stripe.
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM) was established on 22 October 1943. The CVSM is granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months of total voluntary service from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947.
War medal 1939-45
War Medal was awarded to all full-time personnel of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines for serving for 28 days between 03 September 1939 and 02 September 1945. In the Merchant Navy, the 28 days must have been served at sea. The medal was first issued in 1945, with the clasp “1939-1945” added in 1953.
The war medal 1939-45 is a reminder of the great sacrifice made by so many during the Second World War. It is a symbol of the courage and determination of those who fought for freedom and justice and a reminder that we must never take peace for granted. This medal is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity and an enduring reminder of the importance of working together to build a better world.
Canadian WW2 medals. Conclusion
Canadian WW2 medals are a reminder of the brave men and women who served our country during one of the darkest periods in history. We should never forget their sacrifice, and we should always be grateful for the freedoms that they fought so hard to defend.
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