It's plan was to hold a national contest to design some form of a brick for each of the Victoria Cross men who were born in either England or Ireland. Once the design was picked, the bricks would be commissioned and sent off to local councils to install where they sought it most appropriate. It hoped that each would seek pubic input.
But because of a gaping loophole many as deserving, would not be recognized. Those in the British Regiments who were born in Britain and Ireland would get the honor. But nothing was originally apparently mentioned about plenty of other heroes who fought wearing the British uniform, but were born elsewhere.
The two Billy's from Canada are a great example. I of course refer to Billy Barker and Billy Bishop. Between the two, one was the highest decorated in uniform from Canada in the war, and the 2nd was the highest air ace in the country. Between the Billy boys over 100 enemy planes were shot down. Then of course there was the fellow from Victoria BC by the name of John Sinton who ended by war's end being a Lt General, and of course a VC holder. Philip Bent from Halifax was a Colonel and VC holder. There are at least 6 if not more VC men who fought in British Regiments or their air corps, and who were not born in Britain. And as noted, according to apparent initial plans, would not be among those the country is choosing to honour. Those selected will be honoured starting next year and spread over several years to 2018.
But many sharp eyes have already started to hold government accountable for this omission and have been assured that they will be revisiting the issue and that all WW1 Victoria Cross recipients will be so honoured. It seems their minds had to be jogged about the slogan..."Lest we Forget!"
These are Billy Barker from Dauphin Manitoba, Phillip Bent from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Billy Bishop from Owen Sound Ontario, Robert Cruikshank from Winnipeg Manitoba, Alan McLeod from Stonewall Manitoba and John Sinton from Victoria BC.
There are many recipients credited to Canada that were born in Ireland and Britain, but that being said, they should automatically be among those already chosen to be honoured.
These men fought with the Canadians but were born there and the criteria seems to currently evolve around place of birth not unit served in. But perhaps that also has been an omission!
I shall investigate further and bring an update when possible.
By the way, my internet searches have failed to find the story yet covered in ANY CANADIAN newspaper. So yet again this blog may be the first to bring you this story.
In the mean time it might be appropriate at this time to mention another interesting fact, one not widely known I suspect.
Of the 94 Canadians recipients, all of course were not Canadian born. In fact at least 31 fell into this category. (That's one in three.) It may be even higher as some places of birth are unknown. You have read past blogs hopefully on 4 Americans that wore the Canadian uniform and earned the Victoria Cross. Nine of the others credited to Canada were born in England, eight in Scotland and 7 in Ireland and one each from India, Denmark and Ukrainia.