- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Personal symbol
- Department Arms and Technology
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1919/07/26
- Latest 1919/09/01
- Inscription 1078164 A.CPL. J. D. BAIRD. C.R.T.
- Support loose
- Materials Silver, Copper, Silkworm silk
- Rank Acting Corporal
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Unit Canadian Railway Troops
- Measurements Length 7.5 cm, Width 7.3 cm, Thickness 0.3 cm
- Caption Medals Project- Baird, John Douglas
John Douglas Baird was born on 21 Nov 1896 in Montreal, Québec, the eldest of 5 boys, to William and Elizabeth Baird. His father was an accountant with a Montreal heating and power company. John was a bank clerk but also claimed service with the 4th Field Company of Canadian Engineers.
Upon his attestation to the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 18 May 1916 in Montreal he was assigned to the 5th Pioneer Battalion of the Canadian Engineers. He shipped out to the United Kingdom on the SS Metagam, arriving on 6 December 1916, and was appointed Acting Corporal. He was attached to the headquarters of the Canadian Railway Troops Services which had just been established at Purfleet in Essex that month. He took a voluntary reduction in rank to Sapper to serve in the field and went to France in February 1917 to join the 5th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops which had just been formed.
The Canadian Railway Troops were originally part of the British Army’s transportation division and were not necessarily attached to the operations of the Canadian Corps. In April 1918 they were reorganized and administered by the Royal Canadian Engineers (though were not considered engineers). They were responsible for the establishment, maintenance and repair of the broad and narrow gauge railways used by the British army – often under fire. The 5th Battalion spent most of the war in the Pas de Calais area near Arras and its action reports are essentially a litany of repair work, establishing new lines and supply problems. Sapper Baird was unmarred by injury or illness and returned to the United Kingdom 21 January 1919. He was sent back to Canada in March to be demobilized in Montreal on 29 March 1919.
He indicated that he would return to civilian life at 224 Harvard Avenue in Montreal, presumably to his former occupation. His marriage to Lillian Crawley on 14 April 1923 in Montreal is noted in public records, as is his death on 3 March 1939, and burial at the Cimetière Mont-Royal, Outremont, Montreal. John Douglas Baird had at least one son.