Canada & the Victoria Cross

Securing Victory: Part 13 of 18
Canada & the Victoria Cross

Securing Victory: Part 13 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY Top row from left: Victoria Cross recipients George Fraser Kerr, Graham Thomson Lyall and Milton Gregg; Middle row from left: Samuel Lewis Honey, John MacGregor and William Merrifield; Bottom row from left: Wallace Lloyd Algie, Coulson Norman Mitchell, Thomas Ricketts and Hugh Cairns. Following the capture of the Drocourt-Quéant Line, the Allies launched a knock-out blow to end the war with a massive breakthrough on a front stretching 180 miles from Bruges, Belgium, in the north to Saint-Mihiel, France, in the south. The major tasks facing the Canadian Corps involved crossing the Canal du Nord, occupying Bourlon Wood and then capturing the city of Camb...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

The Magnificent Seven: Part 12 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY Clockwise from top left: Victoria Cross recipients Claude Nunney, William Metcalf, Arthur Knight, John Young, Walter Rayfield, Bellenden Hutcheson and Cyrus Wesley Peck. Sept. 2, 1918, stands out as a red-letter day for Canada and the Victoria Cross. On that date, seven men earned the VC while fighting with Canadian units east of Arras, France. The day also goes down on record as the one in which Canadians captured the vaunted German Drocourt-Quéant Line, the backbone of the enemy's resistance which included a sophisticated network of interlocking trenches, tunnels, concrete shelters, machine-gun posts and dense masses of bar...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

On The Offensive In 1918: Part 11 of 18

The only award of the Victoria Cross to a Canadian in World War I outside the European theatre stems from heroic action in the Middle East in May 1918. It happened during a vicious battle for the occupation of Jerusalem and the capture of Jericho from the Turks. ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY From left to right starting at top: Victoria Cross recipients Robert Edward Cruickshank; John Bernard Croak; Jean Brillant; Herman James Good; Harry Garnet Bedford Miner; Raphael Louis Zengel; Frederick George Coppins; Alexander Picton Brereton; James Edward Tait; Thomas Dinesen; Charles Smith Rutherford; Robert Spall and William Hew Clark-Kennedy. Robert Edward Cruickshank When Private Eddie Cruickshank's platoon of the ...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

Cambrai And The Great Retreat: Part 10 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: Sharif Tarabay Clockwise from top left: Victoria Cross recipients Harcus Strachan, Edmund De Wind, George McKean, Joseph Kaeble and Gordon Flowerdew. November 1917 saw the beginning of the turning point in the fortunes of World War I. The Russian Revolution earned Germany peace with the Bolsheviks, which freed up enough troops from the east to bolster their Western Front strength to 177 divisions. This seriously upset the balance between the German and Allied forces, who had been forced to divert 11 divisions to the Italian Front and were thinly spread with few reserves. The Germans now had sufficient strength to plan an assault to deliver a knockout blow by striking at the Allies’ weakest point, aimed at splitting the French and British armies and forcing an armistice b...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

The Passchendaele Nine Plus One: Part 9 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY Clockwise from top left: Victoria Cross recipients Philip Eric Bent, Tommy Holmes, Christopher O'Kelly, George Mullin, George Pearkes, James Peter Robertson, Collin Barron, Cecil Kinross, Hugh McKenzie and Robert Shankland. The battle for the Belgian crossroads village of Passchendaele was one of the bloodiest battles of all time. Winston Churchill called it “a forlorn expenditure of valour and life without equal in futility.” The sad part is that it never would have happened if Canadian Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie had been successful in having it called off. In just 12 days—from Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 1917—the Canadian Corps suffered nearly 16,000 casualties, and all for a cont...
Canada & the Victoria Cross

Hand-to-hand On Hill 70: Part 8 of 18

ILLUSTRATIONS: SHARIF TARABAY Clockwise from top left: Victoria Cross recipients Michael James O'Rourke, Harry Brown, Frederick Hobson, Filip Konowal, Robert Hanna and Okill Massey Learmonth. During a bitter 10-day struggle—from Aug. 15-25, 1917—the Canadian Corps overran Hill 70, a treeless hillock on the north side of the French mining centre of Lens. The corps suffered nearly 9,200 casualties, among them four of the six Victoria Crosses awarded in that gory battle. The ages of the six recipients ranged from 19 to 41. Michael James O’Rourke, 39, had already earned the Military Medal for bravery at Monquet Farm on the Somme in 1916. From Aug. 15-17—during the first phase of the fighting around Hill 70—the former British ...
WATCH NOW
close-link