PDA

View Full Version : Victoria Cross stays in Canada - great news



jensenpark
12-15-2004, 03:14 PM
The former comrades of a Canadian paratrooper who won the coveted Victoria Cross for bravery have finally raised enough money to keep his medal out of the hands of a wealthy British collector.

Veterans of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion are to announce today that their campaign to raise $275,000 to save the Victoria Cross won by Corporal Fred Topham in the Second World War has actually exceeded its goal.

"We've been so successful that we've now raised $300,000," said Lieutenant-Colonel John Fotheringham, an army reserve officer and organizer of the fundraising drive. "This January, we'll be able to take possession of the VC and all of his other medals."

The family of Cpl. Topham, who died in 1974, put his Victoria Cross up for sale, the Commonwealth's highest award for bravery, in order to settle his widow's estate. A British collector made an offer on the medal, but the family agreed to let veterans try to match the price to keep it in Canada.

Lt.-Col. Fotheringham said Cpl. Topham's medals will be given to the Canadian War Museum "for immediate safekeeping," but added the veterans want to send it on a public tour.

"We want to send it across the country to let all the people who helped keep it in Canada see the medals," he said.

The veterans issued an appeal to the public for help in raising the money last October, and Lt.-Col. Fotheringham said they were overwhelmed by the thousands of responses.

More than 1,400 people sent in donations ranging from $1 to $2,500, while the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Ontario Hydro, the Ontario Lottery Corp. and the City of Toronto contributed up to $25,000 each to the cause.

The federal government even agreed to put up the cash required to keep the Victoria Cross in Canada and Liza Frulla, the Heritage Minister, has said she will consider introducing new regulations to bar the export of historic medal collections.

Cpl. Topham, a medic with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, won his Victoria Cross in the final days of the Second World War when he parachuted into Germany with his battalion at the Battle of the Rhine Crossing in March, 1945.

Ignoring heavy German machine-gun fire that had killed two other medics, he dashed across a field to rescue a wounded comrade. Despite being shot in the face, he carried the wounded man back to safety and continued for two hours to retrieve other wounded soldiers trapped under enemy fire.

When finally ordered to the rear to be treated, Cpl. Topham insisted on returning to his battalion as soon as possible. On his way back to the front lines, he came across a burning vehicle and immediately dived into the flames to rescue the three crewmen.

His Victoria Cross remained with his family until the death of his wife three years ago. The couple had no children, and the rest of his relatives had to sell his medals to settle the estate.

Since its creation in 1857, the Victoria Cross has been awarded to 94 Canadians, the vast majority (70) for actions during the First World War. None has been awarded to a Canadian since 1946.

There is only one Canadian Victoria Cross winner still alive, Ernest "Smoky" Smith, who won the award for singlehandedly beating back a German counterattack during a battle for an Italian river crossing in 1944.

Chuck_Older
12-15-2004, 04:04 PM
Great news!


Were Topham's VC winning actions during Operation Varsity?

JG52_wunsch
12-15-2004, 05:38 PM
i was standing by smokey at remeberance day this year,i wanted to shake his hand,but with so many peeps around never got the chance,do you know his story?its amazing in the dark he held off a german counterattck single handedly
shot at least 2 german tanks(with piat)amazing
cheers
also good thing the para s got together to save that vc,our govt should have done that.

Daiichidoku
12-15-2004, 05:56 PM
Too bad Canadian troops have usually been saddled with the sheittiest missions and old or inadequate eq...world renowned as among the very best soldiers ever

Even what was RCN and RCAF would often best US forces in war games with inferior eq

Crimea_River
12-15-2004, 06:01 PM
Good news. Sad though, the lengths we sometimes need to go to preserve national history.

Hastatus
12-15-2004, 06:30 PM
1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. There is a unit we could use.

Cut NDHQ in Ottawa in 1/2 and put the money into some real soldiers.

Freakin Liberals. We blow $$$ on such nonsense in this country. Anyways im glad they were able to keep the V.C. here. Good for them.

VW-IceFire
12-15-2004, 06:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hastatus:
1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. There is a unit we could use.

Cut NDHQ in Ottawa in 1/2 and put the money into some real soldiers.

Freakin Liberals. We blow $$$ on such nonsense in this country. Anyways im glad they were able to keep the V.C. here. Good for them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I doubt the Conservatives or the NDP (don't think think about the Bloc http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif) would have done it any differently. I have just as little faith in them.

Glad that they were able to keep the medals here. Canadian pride of history needs to continue!

jensenpark
12-15-2004, 08:23 PM
2005 has been proclaimed the "Year of the Veteran" so hopefully we'll see more recognition of our guys.

May sees the opening of the new War Memorial here in Ottawa...just down from where I work.

Five times the size of the old one...finally a chance to display everything they have in storage.

Zeus-cat
12-15-2004, 09:51 PM
Minor point, but very important IMO. It's wrong to say people "win" medals like the VC. They are awarded these medals for heroic actions. To say they win them cheapens it.

S! to Cpl. Topham. May this hero rest in peace.

Zeus-cat

HansKnappstick
12-16-2004, 01:44 AM
Great story. S! to the hero, and S! to the nation that preserves its heritage.

But...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
The federal government even agreed to put up the cash required to keep the Victoria Cross in Canada and Liza Frulla, the Heritage Minister, has said she will consider introducing new regulations to bar the export of historic medal collections.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
This quote shows just how dumb the governments are.

The situation is:
The widow is poor so she must sell a valuable thing in order to support herself. (Well, s**t happens, and one just helps him/herself as he/she can)

A wealthy man wants to buy the thing and thus is going to support the widow's living. The only problem is, the guy lives "abroad". (Is England really so "abroad" for Canadians?)

Because the "thing" we are talking about is of a great moral value to the Canadians, the people voluntarilly gather enough money to offset the wealthy man's proposal. (My great S! for all the Canadians).

Thus the story ends in happy end:
1. the widow's future is secured
2. the item of great patriotic value stays in the country
3. the Canadian nation has proven to itself that it can mobilize ressources for moral ends

I just cannot imagine a story that could finish in a more positive way.

Now, the goverment steps is and tells us, such stories will be illegal under a possible future law. I say, very tactful, courageous and patriotic. Let the widows starve and people just pay taxes, the government thinks in your stead.


[edit: typos]

jensenpark
12-16-2004, 05:17 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Zeus-cat:
Minor point, but very important IMO. It's wrong to say people "win" medals like the VC. They are awarded these medals for heroic actions. To say they win them cheapens it.

S! to Cpl. Topham. May this hero rest in peace.

Zeus-cat <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good point...

I forgot to note this was a cut and paste from the National Post.