The War Hero

Lieutenant Colonel Cy Peck, D.S.O., V.C.
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionPeck

We commanders in the field have to be very careful; if you make a success of a venture you are a great hero, but if you happen to lose a few men, no matter how well your attack might be planned, your position, your reputation, and, perhaps, your head may be the price.

(Peck, Debates, 14 Mar 1919, 466.)

On 2 September 1918, Cyrus Wesley Peck led the 16th Battalion against the Drocourt-Queant Line. Under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, Peck completed a dangerous reconnaissance mission, captured crucial objectives and directed tanks to support of his battalion’s advance. For “magnificent display of courage and fine qualities of leadership,” Peck was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Empire.

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The Victoria Cross

Lieutenant Colonel Clark-Kennedy, V.C., D.S.O.
24th (Victoria Rifles) BattalionClark-Kennedy

Though severely wounded soon after the start he refused aid, and dragged himself to a shell-hole, from which he could observe. Realising that his exhausted troops could advance no further he established a strong line of defence and thereby prevented the loss of most important ground. Despite intense pain and serious loss of blood he refused to be evacuated for over five hours, by which time he had established the line in a position from which it was possible for the relieving troops to continue the advance.

It is impossible to overestimate the results achieved by the valour and leadership of this officer.

(Clark-Kennedy, V.C. Citation. 14 Dec 1918)

For heroically charging a German machine nest during the battle of Arras on 28 August 1918, William Hew Clark-Kennedy received the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Empire. Born in Scotland on 3 March 1879, he had fought in the Boer War before immigrating to Canada, where he joined the 5th Royal Highlanders.

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The Defence Minister

Lieutenant Colonel G. R. Pearkes, D.S.O., M.C., V.C.
116th (Ontario County) BattalionPearkes

What kind of war must we be prepared to fight? With the introduction of nuclear weapons and the anticipated production of long-range ballistic missiles, it is obvious that the methods of waging any future war have clearly changed from those of World War II. Looking into the future is at best a risky business, but our military advisers must plan ahead, and it is their present opinion that a third world war would commence with a sudden ferocious thermonuclear attack of great intensity…

(Pearkes, Debates, 5 Dec 1957, 1900)

George Randolph Pearkes was a solider, politician, and winner of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the British Empire. He was born on 28 February 1888 in Watford, Hertfordshire, England and immigrated to Alberta in 1906. He joined the North West Mounted Police and fought with the 2nd and 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Pearkes began his military career as a private; he retired as major general.

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