Units of the Canadian Armed Forces often follow the tradition of presenting new members of the unit with a regimental coin. These coins are normally serialized, based on the member’s date of service with the unit, with a registry of coins being held by regimental headquarters.
The coin is meant to be symbol of membership within the unit, with members expected to carry their coin at all times.
During Lieutenant Colonel Fotheringham’s first term as Commanding Officer, then Company Sergeant Major Shaun Kelly created a unique initiative which incorporated the exclusive membership aspect of a regimental coin whilst also honouring the history of the Regiment. Instead of a coin which is serialized to the member based on the date of service with the unit, members of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada are issued a coin with the particulars of a member of the Regiment who died during one of the wars which the Regiment fought in. They were first presented to members of the regiment on Remembrance Day 2002.
The antique pewter like coin is 39mm in diameter. The Obverse has the Primary Badge surrounded by the name of the regiment and the regimental motto “In Pace Paratus”. The Reverse has inscribed the particulars of the member whom the coin is dedicated to:
- Service Number;
- Rank, Initials, Surname;
- KIA or D/W; and
- date of death.
A coin is presented to each member of the Regiment by the Commanding Officer or Regimental Sergeant Major on the first Church Parade which the member participates in after having been “badged” into the Regiment.
The Names Behind the Coins
But carrying the coin is just the first step. Riflemen are strongly encouraged to research the soldier named on their coin and many do. This makes the act of remembrance much more meaningful.
On our Regimental Museum website we have a section called “Soldiers of the Queen’s Own” in which we are adding biographies of soldiers who have served in the regiment – during any period since 1860 – or in the First World War battalions that we perpetuate. To date we’ve only added a very tiny sampling.
But we want to continue to expand this depository particularly as we approach the centenary of the First World War. If you’ve researched the soldier named on your coin, we strongly encourage you to send us whatever information you have – it can be in point form – so that we can add it to our website.
Please email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you include all the details from your coin as a starting point.
Major (Ret) John Stephens, CD