- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Personal symbol
- Department Arms and Technology
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1918/01/31
- Latest 1920/12/31
- Inscription (obverse/avers): HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR GEORGE DESMOND; E.C.P. ; 38; (reverse/verso): W
- Materials Bronze
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Unit 25th Canadian Infantry Battalion
- Person / Institution Subject, Desmond , M.M., Private George
- Measurements Thickness 0.5 cm, Outside Diameter 12.0 cm
- Caption Medals Project- Desmond, George
George Desmond was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 26 September 1883.
Desmond described himself as a fireman when he enlisted with the 57th Battalion in Montréal, Quebec, on 9 June 1915. He sailed to England on SS Corsican, arriving on 30 July 1915. The next day, he was transferred to the 23rd Reserve Battalion, based in Shorncliffe, Kent. That battalion was used to marshal men to reinforce units already in the field.
On 10 September 1915, Desmond was transferred to the 25th Battalion. He was shipped to France five days later.
On 29 September 1916, Desmond was killed in action on the Somme, after his battalion relieved the 14th Battalion on the front lines facing Kenora Trench. His body was not recovered. The 14th Battalion had been severely mauled by heavy shelling and machine gun fire during its unsuccessful attempt to take the trench. The 25th Battalion’s war diary notes that it, too, experienced “extremely severe shelling” after it entered the line.
Desmond was a good combat soldier. On 8 December 1916, he was posthumously awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.
George Desmond is commemorated on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, on Vimy Ridge, in France.
“For displaying very great gallantry and initiative. After the village [Courcelette] was captured he was sent back with prisoners a distance of about 3000 yards under terrific fire. These prisoners he handed over to the cage safely and volunteered to guide the other parties back to our front line. Although very exhausted he successfully carried out this duty. He was sent back as guide to prisoners on two or more occasions and each time immediately volunteered to guide to the front line.”
– Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900–1916