In the early days of Egypt a baker selling you a bill of goods that were not quite up to snuff could get his ear pinned to the wall of his shop. If the baker in Babylon cheated you and got caught, he could get his hand chopped off. In Britain it would take several centuries before tough rules for the bakery profession were slackened.
In order to make sure the baker did not goof up in his or her preparations of the day, many simply decided that more was better than less. Instead of just giving you the dozen ordered, he'd throw in an extra just for safety (his own). And thus, so say some, came the term... the bakers dozen.
Well folks, today I am going to share with you my list of the first bakers dozen of 13 Victoria Crosses being awarded to Canadians, or those with connections to Canada.
And the list will be without sleight of hand. Pardon the pun. hehe.
Back in 2006 some buffoon decided the memorial was fit to urinate on. Since then the summer months have found the memorial under the watchful eyes of volunteer military sentries during daytime hours for the summer months, and recently expanded till Remembrance Day.
The press release by Canadian Press and many others noted that the Mounties have performed this sentry duty on July 5th for years. This is a special day for them, and all Canadians, as it was on that day, 115 years ago that a member of the North West Mounted Police, saved a wounded man from heavy fire in the Boer War and was later awarded the Victoria Cross.
Sgt Richardson is shown in all three photo's above. The first probably with the Lord Strathcona's pre July 1900, the center image after his receiving the VC worn in the picture and the third whilst later back with the NWMP.
The Canadian Press (CP) news release dated 3 July told of the RCMP's sentry duties being performed on the 5th. It also had the curious statement that... "Richardson was the first member of the Canadian Armed Forces to be awarded the prize, which is reserved for officers who served the crown in the presence of the enemy."
Regular readers of my blogs know how I and many others feel about any reference to an award that trivilizes it. The Victoria Cross is the most widely known and recognized medal of bravery in the world. IT IS NOT A PRIZE. Prizes come from winning in tiddlywinks.
Further, the CP ought to surely know that the VC is NOT RESERVED FOR OFFICERS, but can be awarded to any man or woman, regarless of rank.
And had CP done some research, it would have also come to the conclusion that there have been several awards for actions NOT IN THE FACE of the enemy.
Past blogs have told that when speaking of the first awards, there are at least three ways to look at the matter. Each produces a separate list. First there is the date of the action resulting in the award. Second is the date the subsequent award is approved and made public, and the third is of course the date in which it is actually presented to the recipient, or relatives in the case of a posthumous award.
Sergeant Richardson's award was a first for a Canadian serving in a Canadian unit you are looking at a list of gazetting dates. But the award was second to Lieutenant William Nickerson when you look at a lits of action dates. Nicherson's took place on 20 April, over two months before Richardson's deed resulting in the VC award.
That being said, here is my compiled list of the first 13 Victoria Crosses awarded to Canadians or those with ties to our country.
By Date Of Deed....
Alexander Dunn from Toronto Ontario
Herbert T Reade from Perth Ontario
Willam Hall from Horton's Bluff NS
George Richardson from Ireland
Timothy O'Hea from Ireland
Douglas Campbell from Grose Ille Quebec
Raymond De Montmorency from Montreal
Henry Douglas from England
William Nickerson from Dorchester NB
Arthur Richardson from England
Hampden Cockburn from Toronto Ontario
Edward Holland from Ottawa Ontario
Richard Turner from Quebec City Quebec
And by Date of Gazetting...
Dunn (details for all are above)
Arthur Richardson became the first in a Canadian Unit, as noted above, as those before him served in the British Navy or Army. But by nationality he was far from the first to be earn the medal.
That aside, his bravery is without doubt most deserving, and nothing in this blog is intended to diminish anyone's respect and admiration for this hero.
Hope you will join me again next week,