A Rare 1931 Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Pair
A Rare 1931 Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Pair - Privately Awarded Life Saving Medal (14K Gold with the blue enameled initials of the recipient "J.H." (John Hardie, Jr.), marked "14K" (Gold) on the reverse, obverse illustrating a seated woman at the right with her right arm raised and holding an olive branch in her hand, her left hand resting on a shield with the initials "J.H." on the sheild, a man diving into the water to her left, surrounded by an ornate frame, reverse engraved "PRESENTED TO JOHN HARDIE, JR. WHO ON AUGUST 17, 1931 IN THE RICHELIEU RIVER, CANADA, SAVED A LIFE FROM DROWNING, EXHIBITING SPLENDID COURAGE AND BRAVERY, AND WINNING THE EVERLASTING GRATITUDE OF JOHN ERNEST STERN", 34.3 mm, on original red ribbon with gold pinback hanger inscribed "FOR BRAVERY" in blue enamels); and Royal Canadian Humane Association (blackened bronze, hallmarked on the edge, obverse illustrating the royal crown above the inscription "ROYAL CANADIAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION" and enclosed in an open-ended wreath of maple leaves and olive leaves, reverse engraved "JOHN HARDIE JR. Richelieu River Canada AUGUST 17, 1931", 34.8 mm, on original navy blue ribbon with bronze pinback hanger inscribed "BRAVERY"). Court-mounted, light contact, extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of newspaper articles from the Montreal Gazette and the Montreal Star of August 18, 1931, along with assorted research material. Footnote: The luxury yacht Buck Jones out of the New York Yacht Club, owned by wealthy businessman John Ernest Stern of New York, set sail for the east coast of Canada and the St. Lawrence River valley, with Stern, his seven year old son and a full crew in the summer of 1931. The Buck Jones was anchored in the port of St. Johns on the Richelieu River (now Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Quebec, twenty-one miles southeast of Montreal, on August 17th, with the crew relaxing during a leisurely lunch. Stern's son was held to be an excellent swimmer and after receiving permission, donned his bathing suit and entered the water. Suddenly, the boy got into difficulties and shouted for help. While the majority of the crew prepared to launch the lifeboat, the yacht's cook, Williamson Vestes, plunged into the river alone and swam towards the boy. Upon reaching the boy, he supported the exhausted and frightened youngster. One of the crew on the lifeboat, John Hardie Jr., along with the other crew members rowed frantically towards the pair and upon arriving, hauled the boy into the boat. Unfortunately, an exhausted Williamson Vestes, stricken with cramps, disappeared below the surface of the water and drowned. The boy was returned to the yacht and made a full recovery. The body of Williamson Vestes was not recovered until sometime later. John Ernest Stein suitably rewarded the family of Williamson Vestes and also presented gold medals to the crew members of the Buck Jones' rescue boat, including John Hardie Jr. The Royal Canadian Humane Association also recognized Vestes posthumously, along with awarding the crew the Bronze Medal for Bravery, including John Hardie Jr.