Daily Life of Soldiers and Officers


Duties and Honours

Like their French predecessors, British officers supervised the military activities of their men, taking part in exercises, guard duty, parades and various other duties. The pride they took in their soldiers and their regiment encouraged emulation and esprit de corps. The end result was usually well-disciplined troops who were fearless fighters because of their determination and bravery.

Unlike the French, British officers were not at first awarded medals such as the Croix de Saint-Louis. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, though, their victories were beginning to be recognized. Sometimes the legislatures or a number of associations also awarded ceremonial weapons to commanding officers. In Canada the first medals, which were for officers only, appeared for the battles of the War of 1812. The rank and file became eligible for good conduct medals in 1830, but for campaign medals only in 1847. The practice of awarding military medals and decorations, which was a source of great pride, then became more widespread.