It would be here that the fourth American to earn the Victoria Cross would enlist and before war's end, would be awarded the VC and also earn the most prestigious Military Cross. As such he would be the only one of the 7 American VC recipients to earn both medals.
And to top that off this man was not even a fighting man. he was physician and surgeon, who's job it was to fix wounds... not make them.
This man was Mount Carmel Illinois born Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson. After his high school courses Bellenden went directly in training at the Western Medical School at Chicago about 175 miles north of his home town. He would then take up a practice as a surgeon and physician but then WW1 broke out. Bellenden would later claim that he was deeply sympathetic to the Allied cause. Apparently his great grandfather fought under Nelson and lost an eye at Trafalgar. His maternal grandfather was an adjutant of a Union regiment during the Civil War. With this in mind and a desire for adventure, he also felt war time experience would help him in his medical life after war.
His London Gazette announcement that he had been awarded the MC in August of 1918 says that... " the enemy put down a heavy barrage and many casualties were sustained. This officer worked unceasingly in attending to, and dressing the wounded under heavy fire in open ground. During the mopping up of a village the passed through the streets attending to the wounded. He also voluntarily dressed nearly 100 enemy wounded who had been left behind."
Please note ... these 100 were ENEMY WOUNDED.
As noted earlier, Hutcheson was an American serving with the Canadians. There were seven Americans who earned the Victoria Cross. Four of them would be from battles in France. Hutcheson would be the only one of the American VC recipients to also earn the MC, and thus, his would be a very rare medal indeed in the US, or throughout the world.
Nine months later he would be standing at attention at Buckingham Palace as King George V pinned the VC to his chest.
After the war he would marry a Nova Scotia nurse, whom he made wait till war's end, not wishing to possibly leaving a widow behind. They moved back to the States and he again took up his profession as a surgeon and doctor. He would serve as the health officer for the Mound City and also on staff at St Mary's Hospital. He would also be the official MO for two different railway companies..
When King George VI visited Washington DC in 1939 he requested that Captain Hutcheson, accompany him to Arlington where he placed a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier.
In 1954 Hutcheson died from cancer and was laid to rest at Mount Caramel Illinois, on the same grounds as another man that dealt with wounds for several years. But this fellow actually made them! His name was Al Capone. And at the same cemetery are a few of his fellow gang members.
Hutcheson's old regiment, the Toronto Scottish, called Fort York Armouries their home for over 70 years.
That changed in September of 2009. They have moved away from the CNE area of Toronto to the Etobicoke area and they have a brand new armouries at their disposal. (as of 2009)
It is called the Captain Bellenden Seymour Hutcheson VC Armoury.
And so it should be!
This hero died 59 years ago tomorrow.