That step was to give notice, during the very week that the US celebrates it's Memorial Day events, to others also most deserving of this respect. I refer to those who's services and sacrifices for their homelands ought to also be remembered.
Today's is the 2nd of probably 4 blogs on this subject. This story became international and had its beginning only about 60 km away from the British Columbia capital of Victoria. Sadly, few know about it today!
Doreen, born in England, came with her family to Cowichan Bay just before the Great War. Her extended family for a few years included a cousin and his widowed mother, both form Scotland. Their home was in the wilderness of the day and some 5 km from the closest neighbour.
It was on 23 September 1916 that Doreen and cousin Tony set off to a field about a mile away to bring home one of their ponies that was grazing.
Along the route they came across an old cougar that was over 7 feet in length. It immediately pounced on Doreen and started clawing her back. Hearing the screams Tony turned about and came to the rescue trying to slash at the wild beast with the pony's harness. Doreen started to punch at the beast and actually clawed out an eye as she hollered to Tony to run home and get help. But the beast then attached him and started clawing at him almost completely tearing off his scalp. Noises in the distance scared the animal off and into the wilderness.
Doreen and Tony managed to get back to the house and tell their story. Soon a man used some dogs to track down the animal. He found it back at the scene of the attack and licking up the blood of its victims from the ground. The neighbour then shot and killed the animal.
News spread quickly to Victoria. The Red Cross wanted to nominate both for a medal. When news came to England, the Royal Humane Society nominated Doreen and Tony for a medal and in December of that year HRH King George V awarded both with the Albert Medal 2nd Class.
I guess that I should mention that Doreen was ONLY 11 YEARS old and her cousin only 8!
Tony would be the youngest ever awarded such a high medal for bravery for a civilian for his actions in saving Doreen. Her medal was to the youngest to a female ever awarded such a high award for bravery for heroic actions that saved her cousin.
Doreen made application and received the GC, but cousin Tony had died previously and thus never had the option to exchange it, if so desired.
In late January, 1918, Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, and serving as Canada's Governor General was in Victoria on business. During his visit he attended what must have been a most prestigious ceremony at the corners of Fort and Langley in the HQ offices of the Red Cross.
It was here in the Temple Building, still standing today, and shown below, that the Governor General presented the Albert Medals to Doreen Ashburnham and Tony Farrar. More is being sought on this ceremony and will be brought to you in due course.
His body was shipped back to Victoria BC and he was laid to rest at the military cemetery in Esquimalt near Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt and better known as God's Acre.
Over the years the acreage has expanded and now serves as the final resting place for members and their families. Indeed the first burial was a women who worked in a munitions depot and was married to a serviceman. Today she is joined by about 3,000 neighbours, some 800 arriving since 2014 alone.
The center picture above with me on left and local and extremely credentialed historian John Azar are visiting the grave of Lt Farrar. His marker is in the centre of the three in front of John and myself.
The last image is of course the Farrar marker. Unfortunately it holds no clues of his status as an awardee of the Albert Medal, and the youngest male recipient in the history of that medal, and in fact also all British medals for bravery.
I will continue on along this line with another blog on topic THIS Sunday coming.
Hope you will join me then.