Canada General Service Medal, bar Red River 1870, 1052 Sergeant T. White, C. S. Corps. Assembled and Officially engraved in England as issued, a long serving British soldier.
Extremely rare especially to this unit.
Naming Officially engraved: “1052 Sgt T. White. C. S. Cps.” Commissariat Staff Corps
The force that was sent to combat the Rebellion consisted of 1214 Men, including Officers.
Of these men, 377 were from the 1/60th KRRC, 378 from the Ontario Rifles, 378 from the Quebec Rifles, however the representation from the Army Service Corps amounted to only 12 men.
Also by the time of the issue of the Medal and Clasp during 1900, only 502 applicants would be issued the bar for Red River 1870, only 10 were issued to the Army Service Corps.
His medal is one of only 107 issued, mostly to British recipients, to be “To be engraved in England” and were all assembled and officially engraved with this style of engraved naming, whereas those for the Militia units of Canada are typically named in the impressed style seen commonly on Fenian Raid clasped medals as done in Canada.
1st Class Staff Sergeant Thomas White, was born in Alresford, Hampshire circa 1839, he first attested for service as an 18 year old Butcher, with the 44th Foot at Portsmouth, where he served from 24th August 1857 until 30th June 1861.
He first transferred to the Commissariat Staff Corps as a Private on 1st July 1863. Gaining a promotion to 2nd Corporal on 24th July 1863 and Corporal on 1st July 1864.
2 Years later he was promoted to Sergeant on 1st February 1866.
He transferred to the Army Service Corps as Sergeant on 1st April 1870, being appointed 3rd Class Staff Sergeant, 25th November 1870, 2nd Class Staff Sergeant, 9th July 1873 and finally 1st Class Staff Sergeant from 23rd January 1878 until his discharge on 8th May 1879.
In total he had seen 21 years and 277 days of service, at the end of his 2nd term of engagement, of which 4 years, 288 days, were spent on service overseas. 2 Years 98 days in East India with 2 years 190 days in “British North America.”
His conduct was quite flawless, noted as “His character has been very good, He was when promoted in possession of 2 good conduct badges and had he not been promoted have been now in possession of 5 good conduct badges. He is in possession of a Good Conduct Medal with Gratuity of #5, he is not in possession of a school certificate.
His name has never been entered in the Regimental Defaulters Book.
He has never been tried by Court Martial.”
Some information on the Corps role in the expedition:
The year of 1870 was incredibly challenging for the only 114 Officers and Men combined of the Commissariat Department, Commissariat Staff Corps, Purveyors Department, Military Store Department and Barrack Department stationed in Canada.
In 1869 the Officers were formed in the Control Department whilst the other ranks were formed into the first Army Service Corps. The officers would perform Supply, Transport and Pay functions whilst the men were grouped into Transport and Supply Companies.
The Army Service Corps and Control Department played a major role in the movement of the forces, which was under threat from Americans, Fenians and the Rebellion all at once.
The 1/60th took the lead, followed by the two militia battalions with the boats of the other units interspersed amongst them. The first leg of the route would be across Lake Shebandowan, over the watershed at Height of Land portage, and then down a series of lakes and rivers to Fort Francis, 208 miles away. Colonel Wolseley, with Assistant Controller Irvine, Wolseley’s personal servant, and eight voyageurs ranged along the route in a canoe, often in the lead blazing the way.
Commissary Mellish, who was to be the Control Officer at Fort Francis, had the ASC and AHC men in his boat along with the tents for the field hospital, the field oven, and the medical comforts and stores. They formed part of “G” brigade and departed M’Neill’s Bay on 19 July.
When Colonel Wolseley arrived at Fort Alexander, all of the 1/60th plus the gunners and engineers were already there waiting for him. Conscious of the coming fall, and of the need for a quick conclusion of the campaign, he set out on 21 August for Fort Garry, which was only 80 miles away. After an overnight stop, the flotilla of 50 boats started up the Red River in battle order. Capt Butler and Assistant Controller Irvine, in Colonel Wolseley’s canoe, took the lead and had orders to report anything unusual or suspicious.
The rest of the boats were drawn up in two lines behind them, with a mountain gun mounted in the first boat of each column. On the 23rd, they appropriated some horses and an advanced guard of Mounted Infantry was deployed on each bank of the river.
They camped that night in the rain and advanced on Fort Garry on the 24th. Riel and his cohorts were aware of the approaching troops but were not certain of their location. Their entry into Fort Garry caught Riel by surprise. He quickly fled with his associates, leaving their breakfast behind on the table to be claimed by some officers of the 1/60th, including Capt Buller.
This campaign was the first real success for the idea of an Army Service Corps, the previous iterations in place during the China and Crimea war were largely unsuccessful and did as much harm as good.