The first Military Show of 2022 was held at the General Sikorski Hall North Oshawa. Military shows are a window on conflicts from our past history, and they are part of nation building and defence of democracy and freedom that we all treasure. Today, seventy-seven years after the end of the last war in Europe, the freedom of the people of Ukraine is under threat by Russia. With modern technologies the conflict is played out daily on our living room televisions and the internet. History is repeating itself, people are fleeing, and towns are being destroyed. Like in past wars leader’s voices rally the nation and everyday people will become heroes.
Walking through the Show I selected several items that feature past heroes and their story.
The George Medal, (image 1) instituted on 24, September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry “not in the face of the enemy”. The reverse shows St. George on horseback slaying the Dragon with the legend THE GEORGE MEDAL around the top edge of the medal. frasermedals.com A fine George Medal was awarded to John Hadley, on the occasion of the devastating raid on the B.S.A. Works at Small Heath, Birmingham, England during the Blitz on the night of 19-20 November 1940. The London Gazette noted :- 11, April 1941:‘John Hadley, Member, A.R.P. (Air Rescue Party), Birmingham. As a result of aerial bombardment, a four-storey building collapsed. A man and a girl, who had taken shelter under a bench on the ground floor, were buried under the wreckage. Hadley, after three hours of effort with an oxy-acetylene apparatus, succeeded in rescuing the trapped couple.’Also shown, Defence Medal unnamed as issued. Mounted as worn, good fine.
The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada* Tunic (image 2) worn by Nova Scotia-born Major General Lewis Mackenzie CM, MSC, O.Ont, CD. (1940-) who joined The Queen’s Own as a young officer in September 1960, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Mackenzie served in Germany with NATO forces and did nine tours of peacekeeping. His account of his military experiences, Peacekeeper, Road to Sarajevo, became a best seller in 1993. Mackenzie retired after 36 years in the military in 1993 and is now active as a writer and public speaker. The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada is a Reserve Regiment based in Toronto, Moss Park Armoury.
Commemorative Display (image 3) Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, VC. DSC. RCNVR (1917–1945) was a Canadian naval officer, pilot, and recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) during World War II. On 9, August 1945, at Onagawa Bay, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, Lieutenant Gray (flying a Vought F4U Corsair) led an attack on a group of Japanese naval vessels, sinking the escort ship Amakusa before his plane crashed into the bay. The citation for his VC, gazetted on 13, November 1945, described as being for great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Japan on 9, August 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from five warships Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying very low in order to ensure success, and, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has consistently shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership. His VC is owned by the Gray family. The VC on display is a copy. There is also a mountain peak in British Columbia named after Gray.
Dual Of Eagles Lithograph (image 4) by Robert Taylor (1945- ) This depicts Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, and Luftwaffe leader Adolf Galland in a fight over Northern France 1941. c1980 autographed 1500 issued. The signatures have faded.
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, (1910–1982) CBE, DSO, DFC, FRAeS, DL, became a hero and legend in his own lifetime. Douglas Bader was a model national hero. At the age of just twenty-one, as a young officer in the Royal Air Force, he had both legs amputated after he crashed his aeroplane, but through sheer guts and determination he learnt to walk again. Then, after being allowed to rejoin the RAF at the outbreak of World War II, he went on to become Britain’s best-known pilot – the most famous of ‘the few’ who helped save their country during the Battle of Britain. Nor did Bader’s heroism end there. When his plane came down in France on 9, August 1941, he didn’t sit out the rest of the war quietly in a prisoner-of-war camp. Instead, his constant attempts at escape, despite his disabilities, led to his incarceration at Colditz Castle. The Douglas Bader Foundation was formed in 1982 by his family, friends and former RAF pilots that provides support for children and people with disabilities.
Adolf Josef Ferdinand Galland (1912–1996) Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was a German Luftwaffe general and flying ace who served throughout the Second World War in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western Front and in the Defence of the Reich. On four occasions, he survived being shot down, and he was credited with 104 aerial victories. After the war Galland became friends with Douglas Bader.
WWII Saving Certificate Poster (image 5): Everybody felt they had a patriotic duty to buy saving certificates to support the war effort. Posters were displayed in the factories and shop windows. The Government issued war bonds and promoted men and women working in the war effort to make deductions from their wages every month to buy certificates. Children collected scrap metal and did odd jobs for pocket money and for .25 cents they could buy stamps at the post office and stick them on a card. Once all sixteen places had been filled the Government would send them a $5 dollar war savings certificate.
WWI Memorial Plaque to Pte. James Clarke, 102nd Canadian Infantry Bn. (image 6) :
The Scroll reads in part. “giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after, see to it that his name be not forgotten.” Killed 27, September 1918. Age 25 years. Buried Quarry Wood Cemetery, France. Inscription “ Until the Day Dawns”
*Information Courtesy Wikipedia, The Queens Own Rifles, The Douglas Bader Foundation.
Military Show information visit: www.torontomilitaryshow.com