Acting Lance Corporal William Sargent
- a minor’s medal
William Sargent was a young factory labourer, living in Toronto in December 1915, when he enlisted in the 126th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. On his attestation paper, he said that he was born in Stratford, England on August 10th, 1897.
He was transferred to the 83rd Battalion, sailed from Halifax to Liverpool on the S.S. Olympic. In England, he was Taken On Strength of the 3rd Canadian Battalion, 25 August 1916. He was sent to France, but within a few weeks it was discovered that he was a minor, that he was actually born in 1900 rather than 1897. While waiting to be returned to Canada, he was made Acting Lance Corporal.
In Quebec, it was noted that his left arm was weak and deformed. Sargent said that this was due to an accident he had in 1913 (the the Medical Officer made no note of it on his attestation paper), not to the fact that he hurt it in the field. The medical board judged that the injury was enough to preclude any further service, and he was discharged.
But he did serve the 28 days mobilised service which entitled him to be awarded the British War Medal. The museum purchased his medal in 2011.
William Sargent’s British War Medal