Canadian Soldiers Receive British Medal

January 1, 2004 by Legion Magazine

Top: General Ray Hénault presents the British Operational Service Medal for Sierra Leone to Master Warrant Officer Ken Zack. Above: Officers salute during the presentation ceremony.

In a ceremony at Ottawa’s Cartier Square Drill Hall, General Ray Hénault, the chief of defence staff, presented 35 members of the Canadian Forces with a new operational service medal from Britain.

The British Operational Service Medal for Sierra Leone was authorized by the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom in June 2002. The medal recognizes those who went to Sierra Leone to help the strife-torn country build effective and democratic armed forces under the rules of the peace agreement signed in Lome, Togo in 1999. The West African country had been in a state of civil war between the Revolutionary United Front and Civil Defense Force for most of the 1990s. Thousands of people were killed and many more displaced.

The British-led International Military Advisory Training Team provided training and advice. The Canadians began serving there in November 2000.

Canada contributed 43 members of the Canadian Forces to the operation. “The mission has been an unqualified success, of great benefit to Sierra Leone and a great credit to Canada,” said Hénault.

The silver medal has a crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth. The reverse features a Union Jack in the centre surrounded by the inscription “For Operational Service”.

Because the medal is given by Britain, not Canada, it is to be worn after one’s Canadian medals.

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