The Albert Medal
Awards to Canadians in the Great War
The Albert Medal was authorized by her Majesty Queen Victoria on 12 March, 1866, and published in the London Gazette the following day. Named for the Queen's late husband, the Albert Medal was originally instituted to reward those who:
"…have, in saving, or endeavouring to save, the lives of others from shipwreck or other peril of the sea, endangered their own lives; and that such award shall be made only on a recommendation to Us by the President of the Board of Trade."
Undergoing a series of amenedments, the Albert Medal was later awarded in two classes, and life-saving acts on land became eligible. As a result, two Canadian soldiers serving overseas during the First World War received the ALbert Medal.
Corporal Percy Fairborn Annis
The Edinburgh Gazette, January 8, 1918
Whitehall, January 1, 1918.
The KING has been graciously pleased to award the Decoration of the Albert Medal to the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of His Majesty's Forces serving in France or elsewhere in recognition of their gallantry in saving life:—
Corporal Percy Fairborn Annis, Canadian Infantry.
On the 23rd December 1915 Annis was instructing a class in the use of the trench catapult, when a lighted bomb fell from the catapult into the trench. Annis at once picked up the bomb and threw it away.
On the 11th February 1916, on a similar occasion, the catapult failed to act properly, with the result that the bomb was thrown only a short distance, and fell close to another party under instruction. Annis at once ran out to pick up the bomb. The bomb exploded just as he reached it and wounded him.
Sergeant Victor Brooks
The Edinburgh Gazette, November 12, 1918.
Whitehall, 6th November 1918.
The KING, has been, pleased to award the Albert Medal to Lieutenant-Colonel (Temporary Brigadier-General) Alfred Burt, D.S.O., and Sergeant Victor Brooks, Canadian Cavalry Field Ambulance; and (posthumous awards), to Private Arthur Johnson and Driver Alfred Horn, late of the Army Service Corps, in recognition of their gallantry in saving or endeavouring to save life in France in June last. The circumstances are as follows:—
On the 30th June 1918 a Corporal of the Royal Air Force, who had been lowered by a rope into a crater caused by a bomb which had been dropped by a hostile aeroplane, was overcome by carbon monoxide gas, which had accumulated in large quantities in the crater. Endeavours were made to haul him out, but his head became caught, and Private Johnson volunteered to descend and re-adjust the rope, which he did successfully, and the Corporal was rescued, but Johnson was him- self overcome. Driver Horn at once put on his respirator and lowered himself to the rescue, but was likewise overcome. Sergeant Brooks then volunteered to attempt to rescue both men, but was also overcome by the gas; fortunately he was hauled out. At this stage, Brigadier General Burt refused to permit anyone else to descend, but did so himself, and succeeded in dragging one of the unconscious men some way towards the rope; he, however, became unconscious and had to be pulled out. There can be no doubt that all knew the risk that they were running, and willingly incurred it in the hope of saving life.