Crossing the great Atlantic like so many of our ancestors did, out first story stops in Scotland.
It was there in early June that the press told of the grant of some 20,000 pounds that Museum's Galleries Scotland passed on to several organizations. The funds were to be used to aid in their attempts to preserve their military heritage.
Fifteen percent of this went to a group called the Culture North Lanarkshire who were preparing an exhibit called the "War: Exploring The Somme." The goal was to help school children learn more about the Great War and their community.
Of interest to readers of this blog is that the feature of the exhibit will be story of a piper from a place called Belshill, Scotland.
Here is that piper...
His name was James Richardson, and he had moved to Canada in his youth, lived in the Vancouver and Chilliwack area for a time, signed up with the Canadian Expeditionary force and ended up serving with the 16th Regiment... the famed Canadian Scottish.
He was later awarded a Victoria Cross for his incredible bravery, a posthumous one at that. Please search the net to read more about him.
Our second story takes us to Northern Ireland into County Fermanagh.
Here and not far from the Castle Enniskillen, the fruits of Oliver Breen's 10 year effort have paid off. Like me, he and many others do our best to preserve the heritage of our military heroes long gone. With support of private donations and a whole lot of effort he spirited a move to create a monument in honour of 10 Victoria Cross recipients from the area.
At the same ceremony one of the commemorative stones mentioned many times in this space, was unveiled for Captain Bell, who was also one of the ten on the memorial above.
Now crossing the Atlantic again, Many news clips told of the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador plans to make available old and new videos on the tragic story of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme back in 1916. In the attempt to take the French town of Beaumont Hamel, 780 men went into battle and only 68 made it to the next day's roll call.
Perhaps John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarznegger all copied some of their Hollywood rolls from this teenager who lied about his age to go to war. Claiming an age of 18, but only 15 1/2 did not stop the hero named Tommy Ricketts from earning a Victoria Cross in 1917. He's grab a machine gun to mow down the enemy, and only stopped when he ran out of ammo. So he ditched it, ran for more ammo, returned and picked up where he left off. When all was said and done this teen caused many deaths, captured five artillery pieces, an officer and even 7 other soldiers.
Eat your heart out Hollywood!
After receiving France's Croix de Guerre, King George V pinned the VC to his Tommy's chest and claimed.."this man is the youngest VC in my army." A General at the London ceremony was one of the oldest VC men still alive at the time.
It told about the unveiling on Nov 11 1921 of the first ever Unknown Soldier's memorial at famed Arlington. At that ceremony Sgt George Richardson and another VC man attended the service with our then PM Robert Borden. The wreath for Canada was laid at the foot of the tomb and one of those doing the presenting was George Richardson, He was Irish born but for many years had been living in Canada at the time.
And he was the oldest living VC at the time.
So now you have it..the oldest and the youngest in King George V's army. One being a Canadian the other living in Canada. It is doubtful the two have ever before appeared in print together till now.
Cheers till next time,