The Canadian Militia participated in the defeat of the Fenians in 1866 and 1870. Twenty-eight years after the actions of 1870, a medal was authorized for participation in those events. The following Militia General Order provides the instructions for applying for the medal and its clasps as published in the Canada Gazette in 1898.
Militia General Orders
Ottawa, 1st July, 1898
General Order No. 63
Medals, General Service for Canada
Her Majesty having graciously approved of the establishment of a general service medal for Canada, and having approved of the bestowal, by the Government of Canada, of medals for service in the Fenian Raid, 1866, Fenian Raid, 1870, and the Red River Expedition, 1870, a Board to be known as the "Medals Claim Board" has been formed at Headquarters to consider claims for medals for such campaigns.
Those Entitles to Medals
All surviving Officers, N.O. Officers and men, who during the operations in question, (1) performed Active Service in the Field, or (2) served under orders from competent authority as Guards at any point where an attack from the enemy was expected, or (3) were detailed by competent authority for some specific or special service or duty.
All claimants for medals will be required to submit their applications separately, and those who served in more than one campaign must submit an applications for each.
A Form (Militia Form A.17) for this purpose, which embodies a declaration of particulars of service to be made before a Justice of the peace by the applicant, and also a declaration of a comrade who has personal knowledge of the applicant's service, will be forwarded to all claimants whose applications are on file at Headquarters. All claimants whose applications have not yet been sent in, may obtain copies of this Form by applying to District Headquarters. This Form of application having been completed as therein required, is to be forwarded to the senior surviving Officer of the Corps to which the claimant belonged, or in th event of there being no Officer now surviving, direct to the present District Officer Commanding the District in which the service is alleged to have been performed.
The senior surviving Officer, if any such, will forward, and, if he has any documentary evidence or personal knowledge of the alleged service, recommend the application to the District Officer Commanding the District in which the service is alleged to have been performed.
Only one medal will be issued to any individual.
With each medal there will be granted a clasp indicating the occasion on which the services for which the medal is granted were rendered, and to those who served in campaigns subsequent to that for which the medal is granted, there will be issued, in addition, a clasp for each such campaign. The clasps will be designated "Fenian Raid 1866," "Fenian Raid, 1870," and "Red River, 1870."
Delivery of Medals
Medals for parties residing at headquarters of any District, the headquarters of any Corps of Active Militia, or of any Unit thereof, will be forwarded to the District Officer Commanding, or the Officer Commanding such Corps or Units, for delivery.
In localities where there are Veterans Associations and it is desired to have public presentation of medals to the members of the Associations, the medals will, on the recommendation of the District Officer Commanding, be forwarded to the Presidents of such Associations. Medals for parties other than provided for above, will, by permission of the Honourable Postmaster General, be sent to the Postmaster of the City or Town where the owner of the medal resides.
A receipt must be signed for each medal at the time of delivery.
It was during the first Fenian raids in 1866, that the only Victoria Cross to be awarded for actions in Canada was granted. This award, for an act of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy (which was allowed by the terms and conditions for the VC for a brief period) was earned by Private Timothy O'Hea of the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, when he put out a fire in a railway car loaded with ammunition.
From the excellent British service medals reference "British Battles and Medals," we find that over 15,000 General Service Medals were awarded to Canadians, along with another 821 to Imperial troops. Of these, the vast majority received only one of the three clasps, with 1601 receiving two clasps and only 20 soldiers eligible for all three clasps to the medal. The same reference also lists the approximately 340 separate units of the Canadian Militia to which eligible applicants belonged.