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Special regimental coin presented at Pictou Legion

Lt.-Col. Colin Todd holds a a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin that was presented to the Stellarton Legion.
Lt.-Col. Colin Todd holds a a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin that was presented to the Stellarton Legion. - Fram Dinshaw

The Stellarton Legion is now the proud recipient of a Nova Scotia Highlanders ceremonial unit coin.

And Stellarton Legion president Jack Chaisson was on hand to take personal delivery of the coin from Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Todd at Pictou Legion, after attending the county Remembrance Day ceremony in town Sunday.

“At the Stellarton Legion they took me around to see some of the artifacts they had and realized that there was a quite extensive coin collection and I took a look at it and thought that ‘They don't have a Nova Scotia Highlanders coin,” said Todd.

Unit coins are given to soldiers after passing both their basic training and their infantry trades training course.

Highlander soldiers must carry their unit coins with them at all times.

“I carry mine with me all the time and that’s part of the tradition,” said Todd.

According to Todd, the story of regimental coins dates back nearly 2,000 years to the Roman legions.

Back then, senior NCOs would steal war medals from senior officers, whom they resented for not doing much work, as gifts of their men.

“The coins were presented in secret to the soldiers by some of the senior NCOs,” said Todd.

Today, when the coins are presented to soldiers, they come with a handshake from superiors, far more dignified than what existed 2,000 years ago.

 

Joining Todd and Chaisson were Highlanders Sergeant-Major Joseph Johnson and Gary Stewart, who is now chair of the Nova Scotia Highlanders Association’s Pictou chapter.

The Nova Scotia Highlanders, also known as North Novies and North Novas, are a Canadian Army reserve infantry regiment, forming part of the 36 Canadian Brigade Group in the Fifth Canadian Division.

Its most recent combat action was in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014.

Its soldiers were on parade at the Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony at Pictou’s Cenotaph.

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