Courage Rewarded – The Valour of Canadian Soldiers Under Fire 1900 to 2007
By T Robert Fowler
Published by Trafford Publishing (www.trafford.com)
This interesting book reveals the gallantry exhibited by Canadian soldiers and the awards that they have received for these outstanding acts. The book starts by considering the actions of Lieutenant-Colonel Dollard Menard of the “Les Fusiliers de Mont-Royal” at Dieppe during the early morning hours of August 19th 1942. This officer describes and reflects upon his actions at these famous landings whilst trying to describe what constitutes courage in the battlefield. The opening chapter of the book discusses the components of courage and bravery. If you are the sort of medal collector who likes to know why gallantry medals were awarded then this is a book for you.
After defining what constitutes gallantry the book considers the involvement of Canadian Forces in the South African War, the Great War, the Russian Expeditions, the Second World War, the Korean War and the “New Era”. This latter section considers post 1953 campaigns.
The chapter on the South African War gives details of the build-up to this conflict and the role played by Canadian volunteers. It discusses the Weapons and Tactics used by both sides, the Campaigns and Battles, and Honours bestowed during the conflict. There is a table of awards based on regiment and medal (VC, DSO, DCM & MiD [Mentions in Dispatches]).
The Great War receives a similar treatment. The Canadians received 62 VCs and numerous DSOs, MCs, DCM, MM and MiDs. Many of the acts behind these awards are described in detail and they give an excellent insight into the conditions that these men endured.
There is a good treatment of the Russian Expeditions and the Siberian Expeditionary Force. This campaign is often overshadowed by the World War but it is a remarkable story. The Second World War receives an in-depth study and two main chapters are devoted to it. The Dieppe Landings, the Sicily Campaign, the Italian Campaign and Northern Europe all have individual sub-chapters devoted to them. Of interest are the pages on the defence of Hong Kong, Prisoners of War in Germany and Hong Kong, and awards to the Special Services and Clandestine Operations.
The penultimate chapter considers the Korean War and gives it a similar treatment to the South African and WW1. The last chapter discusses the introduction of “Canadian” Awards such as the Canadian Victoria Cross, the Star of Military Valour and the Medal of Military Valour which were instituted in 1993 and the Cross of Valour, the Star of Courage and the Medal of Bravery instituted in 1972. These awards have become the standard decorations for gallantry across all branches of the Canadian Military.
If you collect or are interested in Canadian awards then this is an excellent book and is highly recommended.