The Veterans Affairs Canada hires students from the whole Canadian territory in order to employ them as guides at Canadian National Vimy Memorial and at Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. These guides welcome visitors from the whole world ; they give informations about the military history of Canada, so that the visitors can understand and appreciate the European Commemorative Monuments of First World War.
They answer questions about local attractions and places of interest, they offer open-air guided visits on well-preserved battlefields, in trenches and underground tunnels, as well as in Visitors Centers ; moreover they take part in different activities and commemorative events. They also take care of the management of our shop within the Visitor Education Centre. That’s why we ensure a comprehensive training with regard to cash register mastering when a new session begins. The project to create a medal as a reward for the work carried out by the young guides on the Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel sites appeared us as as an obvious fact. We had thus to work on an artwork highlighting both sites.
Sketch of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Sketch of the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial
The first project involved the design of a ring and a ribbon pattern. A non-wearable table soon stood out as the best choice, in order to give more visibility to the monuments concerned. The choice of a silver-coated medal with a diameter of 70mm could guarantee a perfect finish. The question soon arose of a 3-D representation of two monuments on the same medal. It was not conceivable to tangle them up. The idea was then to seperate them with a third element.
Several propositions were then elaborated :
1/ The Cross of Sacrifice that we find in the cemeteries managed by the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
2/ The St. Julien Canadian Memorial, with its monument surmounted by the «Brooding Soldier”.
3/ Finally, we decided to choose a mast proudly sporting the Canadian flag.
Once the raised visual of the medal had been validated came the feedback from the engraver, in order to transcribe each drawn line of the final project.The prototypes were then retouched by rectifying each detail in order to obtain a perfect result.
Translated by Jacques Paltani