This Lance Corporal was killed in action in Belgium during the first poison gas attacks along the Western Front at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in April 1915. It was during the 3rd attack he led in 2 days to save important artillery pieces from falling into enemy hands that he was killed in action. His Victoria Cross will be on display during ceremonies in France on Sunday November 11th. (details on net)
The internet article noted that this very medal was the first to be awarded to a Canadian serving in a Canadian unit during the Great War.
While my research shows 109 VC's coming home to Canadians or those with connections to Canada, the accepted number by most is at 94-96. At least 7 came after Fisher's heroism, but still during the last 100 days, about 20 earlier in the Great War, another 7 during the Boer War and another 7 still earlier. Many more also were awarded for actions since the Great War. From my lists, I also note at least 42 not being born within Canada.
It may be a surprise to many, but the first ever Victoria Cross did not come to a soldier born in the British Empire, but in France. Same irony for the Medal of Honor. The first came to a non American born warrior. He was born in Ireland.... and died in Canada.
Moving closer to the topic of Remembrance, I believe that the original concept was for a time set aside to honour those who did not come home. Over the years this seems to have rightly expanding to those who served, both on the home front and the battlefields, and finally our government and others were shamed into recognizing many years too late, (most then dead,) the incredible role our merchant mariners played throughout the terrible war years. Added to these were the bravest of the brave and often, though not always, those so decorated.
Latest figures show that there were a total of 1,358 VC's awarded since first created in the mid 1800's.
The Civil War army version is at upper left and the navy one to the right. Over the years the medal and its suspension ribbon have changed slightly and today is usually worn around the neck of the recipient. A third version has since been created for the Air Force.
Most sources tell us that about 1520 MOH's were awarded for Civil War actions. These numbers of course conveniently ignore about 900 that were also awarded, but later removed from the honor rolls illegally. Such being oft noted in many of my 450 and more blogs during the past 70 months and so listed on this very site Each is searchable. In total the 3,522 MOH's should really read much closer to 4,422, since created.
These men and women during the Civil War years alone came from about 39 different countries. The fourth largest contingent was from the 1/4 million British North Americans living in the US at the time. To be added to these would be those from the PROVINCE of Canada, then being Canada West (Ontario) and Canada East (Quebec) and the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (who would be the four joining and forming the Dominion of CANADA in 1867.) Others also came from the British colonies of PEI, and Newfoundland. Yet more came from west of Ontario though in much lower numbers.
In all, it is said that between 40 and 63,000 British North Americans would serve in the Civil War. Most settle at about 50,000.
At the time, the navy officer in charge of several area forts in the Charleston Harbor was a soldier named Anderson. About 30 yrs earlier this major was the very officer called upon to sign the release papers for a tall fellow after the Black Hawk War ended. Apparently the officer was so sloppy that he was punished for two days by being forced to carry a wooden sword. That officer was named Abraham Lincoln.
But now it was a different time. And Anderson was in charge of the forts and Lincoln... the country. (Unknown if his new sword was medal or wooden, but assume the later.)
Anderson moved most of his supplies to Fort Sumter but by mid April the supplies had nearly run out. A Union vessel was dispatched but was fired upon by the Southerners, and with such depth needed to dock and offload, the vessel was driven off. The next to be sent was the Star of the West requiring less depth for docking. It claimed only supplies but really secreted over 200 men and arms. But it's Captain, a fellow named Wood, also chose not to dock and was driven off.
About about 40 years later this same officer became the first Canadian death of the Boer War. His family name was carried forth for by many descendants who reached very high ranking with the NWMP. His name appears with a handful of others on a monument at Halifax,NS but rather than being listed as the first victim, his name is further down the list. This, assuming the monument had not changed in the last half dozen yrs. since I last saw it.
By mid April 1861 the first formal shots were fired and the Civil War was on.
The Canadians fought in no less than 17 different states during the Civil War and even in the waters off Britain and France. In later years they fought wearing the various uniforms of the United States in wars against enemies in no less than 11 different countries.
In each one of these one or more Medals of Honor were awarded to a Canadian or service member with connections to Canada.
With immigration being such a hot topic in the US of late, it should be pointed out to those carrying on, that during CW days alone, it was the immigrant who earned one in 4 Medals of Honor. And looking at the entire history of all years since creation till today, the immigrants were awarded one of five of these precious medals.
Among the 11 Canadian generals of CW days, (many claim there were only 5 or 6) one was among the founders of the Republican Party and even nominated Lincoln for office. He would appear in a famed picture where about a dozen dignitaries stood at the side of the Lincoln death bed prior to his passing on. At least three Generals, and many Colonels from above the 49th raised regiments, including one who was a sitting member of the parliament of the day. (Others rose to those ranks during their service.) Another CW General is now at rest in a New Brunswick cemetery, while yet another donated land for the training of troops which ultimately trained at least one if not 2 future MOH men. Another would serve on his President's general guard of honour during the President's last train ride... from DC to Springfield for burial.
A lower ranking soldier from Atlantic Canada also served on the guard of men who accompanied the body along its twisted route through 80 cities in 15 states covering 170 miles, so that over 30 MILLION could line the track and pay their last respects to their cherished leader. An image of his Medal of Honor, in Canada today, was shown recently in one of my blogs.
Yet another MOH man was one of the handful that first built the touring car for the President. It was never used as such because Mr. Lincoln thought it was too elaborate. The soldier then got the call to return with the others to re-engineer it into a funeral car, and he complied. Lincoln use this as did his son. And it fell to a Lt from Ontario that the officials chose to hunt done John Wilkes Booth, and awarded him handsomely after success.
more in a few days...
This is the 2nd posting of this blog. A few errors had to be corrected and a little more added to the blog. Thus the original has been pulled.
The second part of this blog comes next.