About a month ago the several year search for this plaque..or a similar one.. came to an end. The search would not have been a success without the aid of an official at the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Ottawa and several officials at Veterans Affairs Canada at Charlottetown PEI, ironically Sgt MacGillivary's city of birth.
While previous information, as noted in Wednesday's blog, indicated that it was at Ottawa, no information has come forth confirming that it was ever mounted there. It appears that it was presented in PEI, per a plate on the plaque, on 15 August 1979, and by Sgt MacGillivary to the then serving Minister of Veterans Affairs.
In the four corners of this plaque, symbols represent the United States Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force. Missed seems to be the US Coast Guards.
The plate at the top tells of the importance of the Medal of Honor and that the names listed below are those Canadians who were awarded the Medal of Honor over the years between Civil War days till the horrible days of Vietnam. Here is that plate....
First, When Sgt MacGillivary appeared before Congress, as noted on Wednesday, he clearly stated that the plaque was presented in 1976. This is dated in 1979.
Second, that date and his position as not the current... but past president, certainly appear to have been added at a date after the plaque was first created. When and by whom, is unknown.
Its name causes confusion by many when they insist, in error, to make reference to the medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Congressional, is used above because it was the US Congress that approved the creation of the society. The name does NOT apply to the medal itself, as readers of this blog know.
Each indicates that the plaque was presented to the Honorable Allan McKinnon, Minister of Veterans Affairs, by Charles A MacGillivary, the then past President of the society, and that it was done on the 15th of August 1979.
Again the mysterious date.
Wednesday's blog also quoted directly from the official Congressional record when MacGillivary appeared before them. And in this he clearly stated that the presentation was made to the Prime Minister... not one of his cabinet ministers.
Over the years research has produced evidence that the number of recipients is far greater, as indicated in many past blogs on the site.
Evidence over these years has also helped to fill in many of the gaps on this plaque indicating the home city or town or province. Seventeen of these are missing on the plaque.
New Brunswick residents will be dismayed with the repeated use of the term St. John's as it applies to SAINT John's NB.
Others may find it most interesting that in some cases the recipient's home is listed as being Canada East or Canada West. (No doubt the names used on enlistment in the 1860's.)
And still with New Brunswick there is a listing from a place called MONCKTON, which is of course today known as Moncton.
And that is by accident.
When the community was first founded in the 1770's it was named as a county and after a British officer by the name of Monckton who had captured the French fortress in the area. His named was misspelled when the county incorporated and the name has stuck ever since. But much more on this in the next blog.
I cannot leave this blog without noting the incredible company this plaque is keeping.
To the right of the MOH plaque is the certificate issued in December of 1988 to the Government of Canada, on behalf of the people of Canada, and represents our part in the international body proudly known as the United Nations Peacekeepers. Canada, as one of its founders, has played a major role in peacekeeping since day one, and over 80,000 Canadians can share in the pride of knowing that their services to Canada and beyond has been recognized with Nobel's International Peace Prize of 1988.
Over 115 brave Canadians lost their lives while performing peaceking in some needy part of the world.
Some may not know it but Alfred Bernhard Nobel grew up Sweden and was soon put to work with his father making munitions. He grew to become adept at the trade and was sent to the US for additional training for one year under the quite experienced John Ericsson, another inventor from Sweden who had moved to NY and was friend of Nobel's father Olaf.
Ericsson would improve the 2 screw propeller system and have many credits to his name. He would go on a decade later to build the USS Monitor, of the famous battle in 1862 against the CSS Merrimack noted in earlier blogs here. A battle in which many Canadians fought, and two would go on later to earn a Medal of honor for other actions.
The battle resulted in countries around the world altering their then current ways of building warships..
In the first of the two days of battle, there were two deaths of the side of the Confederates, but considerable more for the the Northerners.
Readers will be interested in knowing that the very first death for the Confederates was a sailor from a place called New Brunswick, Canada.
Before signing off, I must give my thanks to the folks at Veterans Affairs for the help in finding the above plaque and Mr David Panton in particular for arranging to have the above photos taken and sent to me.
More on Monckton next Wednesday.