Canadian Volunteer Service Medal


The award of this silver medal was sanctioned by an order of the King’s Privy Council for Canada No.P.C 8160 of 1943, and was established on October 22nd, 1943.  Is was granted to personnel of any rank in the Naval, Nursing Services, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntary served on active service from 2nd September, 1939 to 1st March, 1947.  Personnel had to complete eighteen months (540 days) total voluntary service or had been honourably discharged before the full period was completed. 

The Governor General, on 14th March, 2001 extended eligibility to personnel who served.  Those granted eligibility for this medal were Canadian World War II merchant mariners; Auxiliary Services personnel, engaged and paid by the Canadian Legion, Knights of Columbus, Salvation Army and the YMCA; The Corps of Canadian (Civilian) Fire Fighters who served in the United Kingdom and helped fight the fires during the Blitz; Overseas Welfare Workers and the Voluntary Aid Detachments; Ferry Command pilots and aircrew under contract to deliver aircraft from North America; and British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Instructors.  Then on the June 6th, 2003, eligibility to the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal was extended to members and reserve constables of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who voluntarily served during the Second World War.  Posthumous awards were made.

The medal takes precedence after all the Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal, but precedes the 1939-45 War Medal.


Materials:      The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:         Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – Royal blue centre (0.5 inches) flanked by two equal stripes of scarlet and dark green, the dark green being on the edges. The ribbon was issued during the war; the medal after the war.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal ribbon
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal ribbon

Type – Campaign Medal.

Eligibility – Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service.

Awarded for – Campaign service.

Campaign – Active service from 2nd September, 1939 to 1st March, 1947.

Established – October 22nd, 1943.

Designer – The obverse was designed by Canadian Army war artist , Major C. F. Comfort.

Naming – Not named.

Total Awarded – 650,000 medals, 525,000 bars.

Suspender – Straight (ornate)

Clasps – Three.

Description – The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal is circular, made of silver (0.925 fine silver), and 36 mm Diameter.  The obverse of the medal shows seven marching figures representing the three fighting services, men and women of the Army, Air Force, and Navy with the Nursing Services.  Around the circumference is the inscription “1939 CANADA 1945” at the top and “VOLUNTRY SERVICE VOLONTAIRE” around the bottom.  The last three words are separated by maple leaves.  The reverse shows the Coat of Arms of Canada.

Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order. 

MAPLE LEAF -                                A bar for overseas service with a silver maple leaf centred on it. This was awarded to personnel who served not less than sixty days of voluntary service outside Canada, which days need not be continuous.

DIEPPE -                                           A silver bar, with the word "DIEPPE" in raised letters on a pebbled background, bearing an anchor surmounted by an eagle and a Thompson sub-machine gun.  This was awarded to personnel who participated in the Battle of Dieppe on, off or above the shores of Dieppe on August 19th, 1942.

HONG KONG -                                A silver bar, with the words "HONG KONG" in raised letters on a pebbled background, with a monogram "HK" on a circle in its centre. This was awarded to personnel who participated in the Defence of Hong Kong from December 8th, 1941 to December 25th, 1941.

BOMBER COMMAND -     A silver bar, with a depiction of a four engined World War II era bomber in the center, superimposed on a pebbled back ground. This bar is awarded for minimum one day service with Bomber Command.


This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’


Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

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