Feedback tells me some of you have now done so. More should do so because in earlier blogs I often go into considerable detail about the Medal of Honor recipient, or others written about, and feel you should see the expanded stories as well as the latest snippets. Often these contain tidbits not readily available elsewhere.
Any serious writings about the Black soldiers and sailors and heroism is often incomplete and could be viewed as a disservice. I say this because far too often what is left out is the ugly head of racism. A scourge on mankind dating back centuries, not just in Canada and the US and England but elsewhere as well.
I am little qualified to take on the task of articulating this issue. Others hopefully will be ever watchful of these matters. But I have seen it regularly in the research being done regarding our military heroes,
But today's is a lead up...
He was a soldier assigned to Canada from England. He was with a Sergeant and a handful of others who were to ride with a train west bound and traveling through the eastern townships of Quebec when he discovered the train almost on fire. It was attached to a passenger train. It also was concealing the transport of some 2000 rounds of ammunition, back in 1866, along with about 95 barrels of gunpowder en-route to the Lake Erie area to support the soldiers fearing impending Fenian attacks.
Also on board the same train were some 800 Doukhobor Immigrants heading to Western Canada.
The train was about to catch fire... and while the soldiers abandoned their posts for protection the lone O'Hea made 19 trips to gather a pail-full of water to throw on the smouldering mess. It did not explode and the immigrants were saved.
Each was LOCKED in carriage cars at the time. This was to prevent them leaving the train before arriving out west.
Racism at best!
Ohea's deed earned him a Victoria Cross, the only one in the history of the VC to be awarded for action on soil from what would, a year later become known as CANADA. Canadian. (Though others were presented within what was later Canada as well.)
Above we see the new bill front at right, and reverse at left that features her image. The bill is the first in Canada ever to have the major feature inverted to a standing position and requiring the bill to be turned on its end for proper viewing. It is also the first with a non-royal woman, and for a black Canadian. It of course has her in a standing position as she stood up... for her rights!
It all started with her being refused to be allowed to remain in a main floor movie house seating, back in 1946, whilst all black people were "required" to seat in an upper balcony.
The issues raised by her, would be similar to the bus boycott after the conviction in 1955 of Alabama's famous Rosa Parks' case where the black woman refused to give up seating so that a white passenger could sit. A case that is well known across North America and happening nine years after the Canadian case.
But like the Eveready Battery, the Canadian Mint keeps on giving!
Purchasing details are on the net and those interested should remember that there is a limited production run so order early.
I will be away on the 10th so the next blog will be on the 17th. Hope to see you then.