Canada General Service Medal, with bar for Red River 1870, awarded to Cpl. W. Sinclair 1899Image["Canada General Service Medal, 1899"]
Obverse, a bust of Queen Victoria with veilImage["Canada General Service Medal, 1899"]
Reverse, Canadian flag surrounded by a maple wreath
Canada General Service Medal, 1899
Colonial Canada's nineteenth-century history did not lack for secessionist movements, all ultimately unsucessful. In 1869, the Hudson Bay Territory, which had previously been an independent possession of the chartered Hudson Bay Trading Company, was incorporated into British Canada, the charter having expired.
This caused much local resentment, and a self-proclaimed general by the name of Louis Riel used this to seize the Company's treasury, take over Fort Garry (now in Manitoba) and imprisoned many British residents. A Canadian expedition was sent from Toronto, reaching Fort Garry, 1118 miles away, 3 months later. Riel had already fled (he would lead another rising in 1885) and the rising was quickly quelled, but the Canadian Government was prepared to recognise the government that he had set up in Manitoba for long enough to negotiate the terms by which the state was joined to Canada.
This medal was awarded in 1899 to those who had fought the Fenians in any of their raids or been on the Red River expedition. This one was awarded to Corporal W. Sinclair of the 2nd Quebec Battery. Lester Watson purchased it at some point before 1928.