The Minute Book
Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Medals for Valour; unfulfilled recommendations
Topic: The RCR

Medals for Valour; unfulfilled recommendations


For every man who gets a medal, there are probably five or six who also deserve one but never get written up. - S. Pratt, quoted in Joanna Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing, 1999

The current list of recipients of the Military Medal of The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War includes 136 names. While the basis of this list are the names compiled in the 1936 regimental history (Fetherstonhaugh, 1936), it is known that this may not be completely accurate. In 2005, the name of Corporal Arthur Rix, MM, was added after Corporal Rix's medal group was acquired by a regimental collector and afterwards confirmed in the London Gazette.

The possibility exists that new names may be added to this list (or many similar lists as units of the Great War come under renewed interest for study with the coming Centennial years). Beyond those missing names of men who were awarded the Military Medal, another group can be identified when rare documents have survived, and they are men who were recommended for the Medal but did not, for whatever bureaucratic reason, receive it.

These men are equally entitled to have their valour recognized by their regiments when they can be identified. In many such cases, it was likely the only cause of their not receiving the medal was the numbers of available awards versus the sheer number of men identified as deserving of the award.

In the regimental files of The Royal Canadian Regiment, there is a thin file of documents that have survived from 1918. These are a group of award recommendation sheets, for the Military Medal and other awards. Some of the recommendations resulted in the award of the medal, others did not. Within that small file of surviving documents, the names of those Royal Canadians who were recommended for the Military Medal, but were not awarded it are:

817567Private (A/L/Cpl)Ronald CraigANDERSON
477037CorporalRobert ArnottBARKER
477094SergeantAustin JosephBOWYER
288415Lance CorporalFrankBURKE
818074PrivateLewis DanielDEWLEY
455146SergeantWilliam GeorgeHAYES
734220PrivateCharles ErnestHIGBY
817677SergeantGarfield RobertMcCUTCHEON
817803PrivateCharles GuyNICHOL
455927Lance CorporalRoy DayrellPARKINSON
208325SergeantChester LeoPOLLOCK
477079Lance CorporalMeds HenriksenPOULLSEN
477763PrivateJames WilliamREAY
444888SergeantThomas FrancisRYAN
477813CorporalCharles EdwardSAUVE
818212SergeantJoseph EdwardVANDINE
878044PrivateCarl RichmondWOLFE

Examples of the citations supporting these recommended awards follow:

Private Thomas DARLING

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations near MONS on Nov 10th 1918. This man was in charge of a Lewis Gun section; when the company was held up he immediately led his section forward under heavy Trench Mortar fire to a house where ho got good observation from an upstairs window and put his gun in action causing many casualties to the enemy, thus holding down their fire and enabling his company to gain points of advantage. The enemy and initiative shown by this man in all operations has been a splindid example to all ranks.

Sergeant William George HAYES

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a platoon commander during the operations before AMIENS on 8th August 1918. When the French were held up by machine guns in WOOD our right flank was exposed and the company's advance checked by enfilade machine gun fire. Sgt HAYES skilfully deploying his platoon advanced by sectional rushes and cleared the position capturing 10 prisoners, killing 5 and capturing a machine gun without a casualty to his platoon. Again at FRESNOY on October 26th, 1918, he gave valuable assistance in locating positions for posts. His reconnaissance incurred great danger to to himself from enemy sniping. His patrol on the the following night was very thorough and reliable and of great value to a subsequent advance. Sergeant HAYES' reliability and excellent work through a period of two and a half years continuous service are highly commendable.

Private Harold THOMAS

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a stretcher bearer during the operations at CAMBRAI Sept 28th to Oct 1st, 1918. Utterly regardless of his own personal safety Pte THOMAS accepted the greatest risks in dressing wounded men under the most intense artillery and M.G. fire. He particularly excelled in carrying the wounded to places of safety. On one occasion he advanced into No Man's Land altho in plain view of the enemy and dressed the wounds of a N.C.O. when darkness came on Pte THOMAS carried the N.C.O. to safety. His work greatly alleviated the suffering of the wounded men and his timely assistance saved the loves of many men.

Sergeant Joseph Edward VANDINE

For conspicuous good work and devotion to duty during 21 months service with his battalion in France. In his first action he went in as No. 6 on a Lewis Gun crew and came out as No. 1 since then by his courage, coolness under fire and skill in handling his gun he has been constantly promoted to his present position in charge of company guns. In the several actions he was in he showed a fine disregard of danger and a marked ability as a fine leader.

Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 24 November 2013 5:05 PM EST

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