This continuity of the Canadian print press to miss stories important to their fellow Canadians, is most upsetting. So, as per usual, I will continue to bring you these stories, and today will finish what I started last week. The story is now about two weeks old and continues.
The late Lt. Colonel Philip Bent, VC. DSO. MID. has been mentioned numerous times in this space. Last week's blog reminded you of some of the past articles and left off covering his Halifax Nova Scotia birth through to his rapid rise from 2nd Lieutenant to Lt. Colonel, two wounds, earning his DSO, having received two MID's (bravery medals known as Mentions in Dispatches) and becoming the youngest Lt. Colonel in the British Army when only 25 years old. (despite internet errors claiming he was 26, the actual age at death). (Since first commissioned in August of 1914, his rapid rise to command his battalion took only 25 months.)
Lt. Colonel Bent would yet again show his leadership and bravery in Belgium at a place near the Polygon Wood, a small woods some 50 Km almost directly south of the Ostend harbour. You may recall this harbour and the Zeebrugge harbour where BC's navy man Rowland Bourke earned both a DSO and a VC in April/May of 1918, and often covered in past blogs here.
But today's story has army man Philip Bent from Nova Scotia also earning both a DSO and a VC.
It would be slightly to the east of this where Lt. Colonel Bent and his men gained much needed ground for later operations. Perhaps his last words on this earth were his words of motivation to the troops with the battle cry... "Come on the Tigers." In so leading, he gave his all, and lost his life for his country.
At Buckingham Palace on 2 March 1918 HRH King George V presented the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Service Order posthumously to Philip Bent's mother Sophy. The King would then present 8 other Victoria Crosses at the same ceremony.
There is no known grave for Lt. Colonel Bent as his body was not found in the battlefield. His name, like those of about 8,400 other offices and men who have no known graves, have their names engraved at the Common-wealth War Graves Cemetery at Tynne Cot, located near Zonnebeke, shown on above map.
The image at upper right bears the name of Halifax born, but British serving... Philip Bent. The above mentioned blog told that the stones were unveiled by PM Cameron at the time.
Readers will also hopefully recall previous mention here of the VC memorials listing the names of our VC men including Bent and unveiled in Canada at Barrie Ontario in 2013 and Edmonton Alberta last year. Also mentioned here recently was the proposed VC memorial in Ottawa. Though in most recent days some have suggested in the press that this projected may possibly be scuttled along side the one to honour our brave men and women who served, many wounded and dying, in Afghanistan. The press suggests that the new government might be rethinking that project.
But now for the most upsetting news that started these two blogs.
Last week I noted that at a very early age Philip's mother moved Philip and perhaps some other siblings from Halifax to her hometown of Leicestershire England.
He attended the Ashby boy's School for 2 or 3 years then took further training and the joined the military as covered last week.
In 1923 Philip's mother presented the entire VC medal group, five medals I believe, to the school for safe keeping and as a memorial to his son and of course motivator for the students and community to strive for the higher things in life, including service and honour to your country. The intent, according to family, was to have these items on site, not to have they stored in a lock up for over 4 decades, as they were, nor for the school to use as an instrument to sell to raise money to build a sportsplex of some sort at the school.
Several weeks ago the board at the school, announced that after considerable thought, it was decided that they would sell the items. Family says they were NOT CONSULTED. The same family that claims the school in fact does not even own the items.
The internet has dozens of articles about the concerns expressed from a Member of Parliament, the town council, the regiment, the family, other military and historical groups and the public who are very upset that these keepsakes of the family and the community may well end up not of public display and only be used as a fundraiser.
As upsetting, is the fact that the Canadian print and internet press as far as I can tell have been completely silent on the matter and have failed to bring this story to the people of Canada. Unknown is what... if any coverage... has appeared on the radio or TV.
Please Google the story, read the articles, and participate in the petition on the net to stop this sale. Please also contact your local press and ask them why they have not covered this story. Also contact you MP to ask what role our federal government and High Commissioner's office at London England are doing about this Canadian war hero's medals.
If the sale happens Canada should be at the sale and bring them back to our War Museum at Ottawa.
At the very least, the highest levels of Canadian Government should be in communication with this school to express our grief at the planned actions being considered.
More on Sunday,