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Memorial Day tribute to USA VC winner

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  • Memorial Day tribute to USA VC winner

    Thought I'd post a tribute to one of two American winners of the Victoria Cross for Memorial Day, William Henry Metcalf. He lived close to the border with my Province of New Brunswick in Maine where he joined up and served with the Canadian Corps.

    Metcalf won the VC at the DC Switch in September 1918. That was the first part of the Hindenburg Line to be breached and it accorded the opportunity to flank the entire outer defenses of the line from Ypres to St Quentin. It was the second battle of the final 100 days which the Canadian Corps containing 4 divisions met and defeated 46 German Divisions, one of the greatest feats of Arms of the First World War.

    His VC citation is as follows: “For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty in attack, when, the right flank of the battalion being held up, he realised the situation and rushed forward under intense machine-gun fire to a passing Tank on the left. With his signal flag he walked in front of the Tank, directing it along the trench in a perfect hail of bullets and bombs. The machine-gun strong points were overcome, very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy, and a very critical situation was relieved. Later, although wounded, he continued to advance until ordered to get into a shell hole and have his wounds dressed.

    His valour throughout was of the highest standard."

    His funeral in Maine in 1968 was attended by many New Brunswick Legion members including a bagpipe contingent. Metcalf chose to be buried in Eastport Maine at a spot that overlooked Canada across the St Croix River.

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