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eMedals-Canada, CEF. A First War Pair, to Acting Corporal Michael Matias, Russian Volunteer

Item: C6098

Canada, CEF. A First War Pair, to Acting Corporal Michael Matias, Russian Volunteer



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Canada, CEF. A First War Pair, to Acting Corporal Michael Matias, Russian Volunteer

British War Medal (657614 A. CPL. M. MATIAS. C.E.); and Victory Medal (657614 A. CPL. M. MATIAS. C.E.). Naming is officially impressed. Un-mounted, bruising on the BWM, gilt wear on the VM, light contact, replacement ribbons, better than very fine. Accompanied by a Gold Locket named to John Mitias (sic) (in 14K Gold, marked "14K" and hallmarked with a key on the back cover, weighing 10.4 grams inclusive of its ribbon and bar hanger with clip, hinged on the left side, engraved with the interlocking initials "JM" on the front cover, engraved "PRESENTED TO JOHN MITIAS (sic) BY WOMENS INST. HEARST MAY 1919" on the back cover, measuring 21 mm (w) x 30.8 mm (h) inclusive of its integral ring); his original Discharge Certificate (printed in black ink on a white moisture-resistant paper, with personalized entries in typewritten and handwritten blue ink, measuring 120 mm (w) x 230 mm (h), fold marks, soiled); a two-page form entitled "In the Matter of Entitlement Respecting "Varicose Veins" " (documenting his history with the malady, in black typewritten text on a thin white paper stock, measuring 217 mm (w) x 280 mm (h), fold marks, lightly soiled); a Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League Letter (dated June 22, 1935, advising him that the "brief in his case was complete", measuring 214 mm (w) x 277 mm (h), fold marks); a Canadian Pension Commission Financial Statement (dated June 1, 1936, printed in black ink on a white paper stock, measuring 214 mm (w) x 277 mm (h), fold marks); a Canadian Machine Gun Corps General Service Cap Badge (in die-stamped bronze, unmarked, measuring 48.8 mm (w) x 43 mm (h), intact but undulated slider); a Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League Membership Badge (in bronze with red and blue enamels, maker marked "J.R. GAUNT" on the reverse, measuring 11.3 mm (w) x 15.7 mm (h), screwback); and a Canadian National Recreation League Membership Badge (in bronze gilt with navy blue and white enamels, maker marked "EDGAR CHARBONNEAU BIJOUTIER, JEWELER" on the reverse measuring 14.5 mm in diameter, screwback).


Footnote: Michael Matias was born on May 18, 1886 in Grodno, Dobuchino, Russia, the son of Martha Matias. He later immigrated to Canada and was a resident of Hearst, Ontario (Northern Ontario) when he enlisted as a Private (657614) with the 162nd Infantry Battalion "Parry Sound Battalion", on March 4, 1916 in Parry Sound, Ontario, at the age of 29, naming his next-of-kin as his wife, Alexandra Feoderovna Matias of Grosno, stating that he had three years' previous service in the Russian Army, that he was married, that his religion was Greek Catholic and that his trade was that of Sectionman (AKA Section Hand or Trackman = a railroad employee in the Engineering Department). As of October 14, 1916, he had one daughter, Anne Matias, age 4. Private Matias embarked Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 1, 1916, arriving in Liverpool, England on the 11th. Eighteen days after arriving in England, he was appointed to the rank of Acting Corporal at Shorncliffe on November 29th, which was followed by his transfer to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion for service in the French theatre the following day. He arrived in Le Havre on December 1, 1916 and left the Canadian Base Depot for his unit on the 3rd, arriving with them in the field on the 20th.

Ten days after joining the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, he reverted to the ranks on December 30, 1916. Matias was in the French theatre six months when he reported from base to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance on June 4, 1917. It was here that he was diagnosed with varicose veins in his right leg. After two days in hospital, he was discharged to duty on the 6th. Matias would have no other issues with his health for almost the next eight months. However, he would become ill on January 30, 1918 and was admitted to No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance, then transferred to No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station the next day. Two days later, he was transferred and admitted to No. 51 General Hospital at Etaples on February 2nd, where he was diagnosed with "venereal disease syphilitic chancre" (syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with a syphilitic sore, known as a "chancre". Chancres can occur on or around the external genitals, in the vagina, around the anus, or in the rectum, or in or around the mouth). After ten weeks' treatment and recovery at Etaples, he was discharged to duty on April 12th. While he was in hospital, the 2nd Pioneer Battalion had been re-designated as the Canadian Engineers as of March 10, 1918.

Matias was transferred from the 2nd Pioneer Battalion (Canadian Engineers) and posted to the Canadian Engineer Reinforcement Depot on May 1, 1918. Two days later, he was transferred to the 46th Company, Canadian Forestry Corps on May 3rd. Upon the ceasing of hostilities, he returned to England, where he was posted to the Canadian Forestry Corps Depot at Sunningdale on December 24, 1918. This was followed three weeks later by his being placed on command to the Canadian Corps Camp at Kinmel Park, Rhyl, North Wales for return to Canada, on January 16, 1919. He embarked for home from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Carmania on February 1, 1919 and upon arrival in Canada, was posted to the Casualty Company at Exhibition Camp in Toronto, Ontario. Acting Corporal Michael Matias, 162nd Infantry Battalion, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, Canadian Engineers was discharged upon demobilization at District Depot No. 2 in Toronto on March 5, 1919, credited with having served in Canada, England and France, entitled to wear the War Service Badge, Class "A", number 89765. For his First World War service. he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In his Will, dated October 7, 1916, he bequeathed all his real estate and personal estate to his wife, Alexandra Matias of Grodno, Russia, but of course, the Will was never executed. Postwar, he was living in Hearst, Ontario and dealing from varicose veins, when he was in contact with the Canadian Pension Commission in regards to entitlement for compensation in regards to the aggravation to his health caused by the varicose veins. The government acknowledged that he had varicose veins after enlisting. He was diagnosed as such on August 21, 1916 while training in Canada and before going overseas but was cleared to continue military service. The government also acknowledged that he had been treated for varicose veins in his right leg at No. 5 Canadian Field Ambulance from June 4 to 7, 1917 and was returned to duty immediately thereafter. Matias was to thereafter to have a hearing at Timmins, Ontario on July 29, 1936, to determine the extent of compensation.

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