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Thread: Canadian Volunteer Service Medal

  1. #1
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    Default Canadian Volunteer Service Medal

    Hi all,

    I found that the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was instituted on October 22nd 1943. It was to be awarded to personnel of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and have honourably completed 18 months (540 days) total voluntary service from September 3rd 1939 to March 1st 1947.

    A silver bar (often called a clasp), a maple leaf at its centre was awarded for 60 days service outside Canada. A silver maple leaf is worn on the ribbon in undress.

    My first request is: are these details correct?

    Besides, I am thinking of an airman who joined the RCAF on March 1st 1941. He graduated from SFTS on December 19th 1941 and arrived in England on January 20th 1942. He was not posted to a Fighter Squadron before June of that year, and was finally KIA in January of 1943 (686 days after joining).

    He must have been posthumously awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with bar for overseas service: however, his Service File does not mention it.

    My second request is: why is there no mention of this award?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,

    Regards,

    Fox.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Hi Fox,

    generally the medal details are correct - as the source I was always using:
    http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=collections/cmdp/mainmenu/group04/cvsm

    To be honest I have no idea why it is not mentioned in his service record but I can suggest you to contact the Veteran Affairs Canada and ask them for medals details of your man.

    The only possibility which comes to my mind is - did he really volunteered?

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel,

    I understand he applied to be a pilot in February of 1941. His enlistment record features the mention: 'Royal Canadian Air Force (Special Reserve)' and 'Duration of War'.

    He had been with the Prince of Wales Rangers (Non Permanent Active Militia) from August of 1940.

    If I am correct, he MUST have volunteered, since no overseas conscription was made before 1944.

    Regards,

    Fox.
    Last edited by Fox; 26th July 2011 at 12:40.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Details of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and clasp are correct. There were a few other rules (for example, period of eligibility could be shorter if service were terminated by events such as death or end of the war). The fact that it is not mentioned in his service documents is probably due to a clerical oversight.

    At the conclusion of the war, all service files were reviewed to determine medals eligibility. I do not recall, at this moment, whether next-of-kin were immediately issued medals or whether they were obliged to apply for them. In the case of personnel who had survived the war, they were expected to apply for campaign and volunteer medals. Approximatelty 1949 the Minister of Veterans Affairs noted in the House of Commons that thousands of veterans had not so applied. Immediately afterwards, a half-dozen Members of Parliament sheepishly came forward for report their eligibility.

    It might be worth noting that although the CVSM was first authorized in late 1943 (with medal and ribbon described at the time), distribution of the ribbon (and appropriate clasp) did not begin until the spring of 1944. The actual design of the medal (by official war artist Charles Comfort) was not completed until late 1945. At that time the design was modified from the original concept of six figures (male and female army, navy and air force) to seven (with the addition of a nursing sister). Only then could the actual medals be struck and distributed.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 26th July 2011 at 12:39.

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    Hugh,

    What do you mean by 'a clerical oversight'?

    Besides, in the case of deceased personnel, why would the next-of-kin have had to apply for this medal while Operational Wings were automatically awarded?

    Thank you very much,

    Fox.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Pedantic though it may be; "A silver bar (often called a clasp)", should read 'A silver Clasp (often called a bar)'.

    As an aside, you do not mention whether his other medals are listed in his service file. In my experience it is rare, but not unheard of, for a service file to not include the seperate print out (hole punch card) listing all wartime awards. I guess that 'clerical oversight' means an error on behalf of the clerks who had the responsibility to enter the information. They should have, but they did not.
    Last edited by jonny; 26th July 2011 at 14:12.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Jonny,

    Thank you for your taking part in the debate.

    Apart from the Operational Wings, which were posthumously awarded and do appear in the service file, the airman seems to have been awarded no other medal.

    A Sergeant Pilot by the time he was KIA, he was later promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer, but this cannot be considered an 'award'.

    Regards,

    Fox.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Hi,

    I'm wondering how RAF - Canadians came to receive this medal, as I believe it was only for the Canadian Armed Forces. Some examples I came across, did they have some pre war Canadian military service ?

    40826 P/O Selby Roger HENDERSON RAF D.F.C KIA 4.7.1940 206 Sqn Runnymede Mem

    DFC, 1939-45 Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Maple leaf, War Medal - Canadian Memorial Cross

    Born Winnipeg Canada, Served Fort Garry Horse - Reserve. Commissioned Royal Air Force - Pilot Officer 6.4.1939 D.F.C LG 2.1.1940 206 Sqn

    Canadian Memorial Cross
    39484 W/C Wallace Stanley BARTON D.F.C R.A.F KIA 21-7-1943 295 Sqn

    Canadian Volunteer Service with Clasp
    Canadian Memorial Cross
    42206 F/O Arthur Cecil DENISON R.A.F KIA 2-9-1940 57 Sqn

    Thanks

    Mark

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    "Clerical oversight" means just that - somebody forgot to make the entry or neglected to do so. RCAF service records of personnel killed tended to be sketchy in 1941-1942 and much more thorough from 1943 onwards, especially after Canada had assumed complete financial responsibility for their air personnel overseas. If God had meant us to be perfect he would never have put erasers on pencils.

    As noted, the files often mention items being sent to families - operational wings, diaries, log books, personal effects - but I do not recall letters saying "Here is your son's 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star, etc." I have been uncertain as to whether the family had to apply or whether this was something done by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    As to the query about non-RCAF personnel receiving the CVSM, I have consulted the regulations (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SI-94-62/index.html). Applying them to the letter, it would appear that persons like Henderson were NOT entitled to it, but just as "clerical oversight" might lead to an entry not being recorded in a file, "clerical flexibilty" or even "uncertainty" might just as easily result in issuance of a medal in compassionate circumstances, whether in willfull or accidental breach of the literal wording of the regulations.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 26th July 2011 at 15:22.

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    I note the references to "operational wings" in this thread. Were these somehow different from the wings awarded on completing training at a SFTS?


    Rob

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