Identity disks or tags were made of metal or fiber. Like the name suggests it, they were worn by soldier at all time to identify them if they were to be wounded or killed. On it, we would find important information such as the regimental number, the battalion, the last name and the initials. Sometimes, the rank and the religion of the serviceman would be inscribed on the ID disk.
This identity disk reads : ” 26032 W.R. Duncan 14 Can BN P “. It was worn by William Reid Duncan who joined the 14th Battalion [The Royal Montreal Regiment] in September 1914 at the age of 30. Already a military man, he served ten years with the 6th Scottish Riffles before enrolling for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Born in Coatbridge, Scottland he moved to Canada before the outbreak of World War I. The letter “P” at the end of disk stands for Presbyterian.
William Reid Duncan reached the rank of Sergeant and received a Distinguished Conduct Medal during the Summer of 1916, probably during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, in Belgium.
“For conspicuous gallantry in taking over command of his platoon after all his seniors had been killed or wounded and handling it with great coolness and courage under very heavy shell fire. He was badly wounded.”