Canadian Forces' Decoration (CD)
The official description, eligibility, criteria, and history of the Canadian Forces' Decoration (CD).
The Canadian Forces' Decoration is awarded to officers and Non-Commissioned Members of the Canadian Forces (CF) who have completed twelve years of service. The decoration is awarded to all ranks who have a good record of conduct.
Eligibility and criteria
The decoration is awarded to the regular forces, reserve forces, officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC), Canadian Rangers, and holders of honorary appointments in the CF. Service in the regular and reserve or auxiliary forces of the British Commonwealth of Nations will be counted towards the medal if the final five years have been served with the Canadian Forces and no other long service, good conduct, or efficiency medal has been awarded for the same service. The medal may be awarded to persons in possession of any long service, good conduct, or efficiency decoration or medal clasps, provided that the individual has completed the full qualifying periods of service for each award and that no service qualifying towards one award is permitted to count towards any other. The service need not be continuous. This award supersedes all other long service awards for members joining the Canadian Forces after 01 September 1939.
It is a decagonal (ten-sided, representing the ten provinces) gold plated brass medal, 36 mm across the flats, bearing:
- on the obverse, a youthful effigy of Her Majesty the Queen wearing a wreath of laurel leaves in her hair and facing right, circumscribed with the legend "ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA - CANADA"; and
- on the reverse appears, from top to bottom a naval crown, three maple leaves and an eagle representing the Navy, Army, and Air Force. The word "SERVICE" appears on a scroll at the bottom and two fleur-de-lis are depicted on each side of the crown.
- The suspension consists of a small bar between two scroll arms emerging from a natural maple leaf at the top of the medal.
- The ribbon is 38 mm wide, red, with three equally spaced thin white lines. Red and white are the official colours of Canada as appointed by King George V in 1921.
- The clasp (bar) for the Decoration is 6 mm high, has the shield of the Canadian coat of arms in the center surmounted by the Crown, and is gold in colour.
A clasp (bar) shall be awarded for every subsequent period of ten years of qualifying service.
The medal shall be worn in sequence prescribed in the Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals Directive, and in the following manner:
- on the left breast, suspended from the ribbon described above, after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and before the Police Exemplary Service Medal.
- The clasp is worn centered on the ribbon. When more than one clasp has been awarded, they shall be equally spaced on the ribbon. A silver rosette is worn on the undress ribbon for each clasp awarded.
Members may use the post-nominal letters "CD". The post-nominals are not affected by the award of clasps.
Initiated on 15 December 1949 and first awarded on 01 September 1951, the medal replaced all other long service awards for those joining the Canadian Forces after 01 September 1939 and is still current.
The decoration was initially issued in the King George VI type until 1954 when the new Queen Elizabeth II type became available. The George VI version was made of .800 silver and gilded. It bore the King's effigy and title; the suspension was a straight suspension bar bearing the word "CANADA" and the King's Cypher was superimposed on the maple leaves on the reverse. The George VI type clasp bore the scroll type shield of the Arms of Canada surmounted by the Tudor Crown (often referred to as the King's Crown).
The Decoration is engraved with the recipient's details (abbreviated substantive rank, initials and last name). The George VI version bore the naming on the reverse of the "CANADA" suspension bar; the current version is engraved on the rim of the medal itself.
The original decoration was designed by Warrant Officer Bernard (Barney) James Reddie, CD (the effigy of The King is by British engraver Thomas Humphrey Paget, OBE and was also used on Canadian coinage from 1937 and 1952) while Flight Sergeant, later Captain Bruce Wilbur Beatty, CM, SOM, CD designed the changes to the decoration for the Elizabeth II issue (the effigy of The Queen is by British sculptor Mary Gillick and was also used on Canadian coinage from 1953 and 1965).
Approximately 2,400 decorations and 3,000 clasps are awarded annually.
For more information on the history on the Canadian Forces’ Decoration, please consult The Canadian Forces' Decoration [PDF - 3.76MB] publication by Chistopher McCreery that was published to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Canadian Forces’ Decoration.
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