The press in Canada could have done it by now as it came to light in international news a week ago, if not earlier. But it appears to be the same old story of yet another matter important to Canadians, that they apparently have missed so far.
To tell the story of the most recent development should first include some build-up. It started a few years back, and duly noted in this space, that the government in Britain was planning to create a memorial to the Victoria Cross recipients awarded for their bravery during the several year 100th anniversary of WW I. In particular, they were going to create paving stones in honour of all that war's recipients born in Britain.
Public outrage at the fact that they were not going to include those born outside of Britain, and in fact all VC recipients caused such an outpouring of anger that the government revisited their blunder. Then they came up with a plan to FIRST honour the Great War and later, all war recipients, regardless of where born.
The 175 VC recipients from WW l who almost fell into the cracks, had their names now inscribed on 11 plagues, one for Canada, one for the US and one also for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Denmark, Belgium and the Ukraine.
Canada's, with 70 names, the most of all 11, was unveiled by HRH Princess Anne in November 2013, The US plaque with 5, was unveiled just a few days earlier also by Princess Anne. Australia's has 66 names on it, the rest with much lower numbers.
Much has been written here about the events, but here again for the new visitors to the site are the two plaques coming to North America.
Note that the first name inscribed in the image above is Philip Bent, the victim, if you will, in the story about to unfold. Note also the name of Rowland Bourke whom I hope you have read much in this space in the past.
When the original British plans were unveiled, leaving out the 175 above, many powerful groups advocated for a revisiting of the scheme. One of these were the military men of Leicestershire who fought hard, as they did in many a war, for the inclusion of Halifax Nova Scotia born Philip Bent. His and a handful of other names were probably very much in the minds of the decision-makers while they planned their fix to a terrible oversight.
Thus each, even after death, have been of service to their country.
Philip Eric Bent was born on 3 Jan. 1891 to parents Frank and Sophia. His dad may have worked for the post office at the time. The three lived with Philip's 4 yr older brother Lionel and 3 yr older sister Muriel within the city limits at several places before probably settling for several years down in the south end near one of the city's major container terminals that operates to this day.
Therein is the famed Pier 21 where troops boarded, and those lucky enough departed from vessels after both world wars. Both my parents left Canada for war service, and returned to Canada on that very pier. Many an early immigrant to Canada first touched Canadian soil at the end of that pier.
The 1901 Canada census shows the Bent family of 5 still at Halifax, but by 1904 they, or at least Phillip had emigrated to Britain and in that year he continued an education no doubt started back in Halifax, by attending the Ashby Boy's Grammar School at Leicestershire, some 115 miles NW of London. Three or four years later he had traveled some 300 miles further north to attend the Royal High School at Edinburgh.
Philip is believed to have served a two year term on HMS Convoy and took a Merchant Mariner's course. When the Great War started, everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas so he and a friend joined a Scottish Regiment just for fun. He probably did not disclose his marine training or they might have steered him towards the navy. Soon a commissioning would take place on joining the Leicestershire Regiment's 9th Battalion on 5 December 1914.
Philip Bent rose from a lowly 2nd Lieutenant to a gazetted acting Lt. Colonel by October 1916. In less than 2 years, his service as an officer would see him being the youngest Lt. Col. in the British Army of the day, at less than 26 yrs of age. He was shot through the neck in the Fall of 1916, got a 2nd wound just 8 days later, was mentioned twice in dispatches, and awarded the Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous and gallant act of valor, the second top British medal for bravery in the military, and only one below the Victoria Cross.
Once again my blog is getting too long, so I think I will break off, and bring you the rest of this story, and the one promised last week, next Sunday.
cheers till then,