A Rare Second War Canadian Memorial Cross to a Kiska Island Raider
A WWII Canadian Memorial Cross; Kiska Island Raider - 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1945; and Memorial Cross, George VI (H.43014 CPL. L.C.R. GEROW). Naming is officially engraved on the MC. Un-mounted, the MC in its original case of issue and boxed, all with light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by his Identification Tag (bakelite, round, stamped "H-43014 CPL. GEROW L.C.R. CDN. U.C.", 35 mm), a Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen World War Service Medal (bronze gilt, obverse illustrates Victory with her left hand resting upon the shoulder of a man in loincloth in front of her, an olive branch in her raised right hand, the soldier leaning on a sword in his right hand and a hat under his right foot, inscribed "FOR SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR FOR LIBERTY AND FOR FREEDOM OF NATIONS", the reverse inscribed "PRESENTED BY THE BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD TRAINMEN TO ITS MEMBERS WHO GAVE THEIR SERVICE TO THEIR COUNTRY FOR THE SAKE OF DEMOCRACY AND UP-LIFTING HUMANITY" and maker marked "W. & H. CO. NEWARK, N.J.", 34 mm, gold-coloured star on its frayed original white ribbon with pinback, in its box of issue), a Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Victory with Victors Gold Star Shield Pin (two-piece construction, gold-filled with enamels, marked "IN MEMORIAM B. OF R.T." with an "I.J.W.U. UNION MADE" stamp and marked "W 1/10-10K" on the reverse, 14.2 mm x 32 mm, vertical pinback, on its card of issue), his Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Citation for Meritorious Service (inscribed "In Memory of Leslie C. Gerow who answered his Nation's call and paid the supreme sacrifice. His patriotism and heroic devotion to duty contributed immeasurably to the success of the War Effort and the defeat of our enemies. In so doing he has earned the deep gratitude of his country and our Brotherhood. The members of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen can proudly say "........he kept the faith. Authorized December 3, 1945", with the signatures of President A.F. Whitney and General Secretary and Treasurer G.H. Anderson, 260 mm x 310 mm, placqued and mounted to wood, laminated), along with a CD containing thirty-one pages with copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada Enrolment Forms, Assessment Papers, Department of National Defence Estates Branch Document, Department of National Defence Certificate of Death Correspondence and Province of Ontario Certificate of Registration of Death. Footnote: Leslie Clarence Robert Gerow was born on June 26, 1917 in Schreiber, Ontario, the son of Edward George Gerow, a Railway Conductor and Ellen Gerow, the couple having been previously married on March 31, 1908 at Rossport, Ontario. Leslie Gerow had one brother, William Gerow and four sisters, Mrs. James Grey, Mrs. Ivor Jacomb, Mrs. Perry (Doris) Hewson and Mrs. LeRoy Briggs. In regards to his schooling, he completed Grade Eight at the age of 18, failed his entrance and was forced to have to work. Before the war, Gerow was employed as a Trainman (Brakeman) for two and a half years with the Canadian Pacific Railway, then as a Truck Driver for a Grocery Store for three and a half years and later, a Highway Worker for one and a half years, before enlisting. He signed his Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada Form with the 2nd Battalion, Lake Superior Regiment as a Private (H-541372), at No. 102 Training Centre, on January 10, 1941, naming his next-of-kin as his father, Edward Gerow and stating his occupation as Canadian Pacific Railway Caller. Gerow was called up for Active Service on August 13, 1942. He was attached to the 102nd (Canadian Army) Basic Training Centre at Fort William, Ontario, signing his National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940 Personnel Enrolment Form at No. 10 NRMA Clearing Depot in Fort William, on August 14, 1942, stating that he had thirty days previous service with the 102nd C.R.R.T.E. in January-February 1941 and that he was Single. Gerow was transferred to A.15 Shilo Camp, Manitoba on October 13, 1942 for Advanced Training, still in the rank of Private. He was granted permission to marry, taking Rosina Mary Gerow (nee Della-Picca) of White River, Ontario as his wife, the marriage taking place on January 3, 1943 at White River. He overstayed his welcome, as he was declared Absent Without Leave from 0200 hours on January 7 to 0600 hours on January 8, 1943 by the Army and was subsequently awarded three days Confinement to Base and forfeited two days pay for his actions. By the early summer, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Edmonton Fusiliers at Port Alberni, British Columbia on May 7, 1943, where he was promoted to Lance Corporal on June 5, 1943. He was struck off strength of No. 10 NRMA Clearing Depot in Fort William on becoming a Member H.D. of the Canadian Army, as he was transferred to the Rocky Mountain Rangers (443014) on June 12, 1943. It was here that he attended an N.C.O.'s Course and was named Corporal on June 15, 1943. While with the Rocky Mountain Rangers at Nanaimo, British Columbia, on June 20, 1943, it was noted that Gerow was "slightly below average in learning ability" but had a "good appearance and attitude, should be a soldier O.K." He was declared "Suitable for Special Training in Amphibious Operations" and was later rated "near average in the army population in learning ability and intelligence", then appointed Acting Corporal on July 1, 1943. Gerow was placed with Combined Operations at Courtenay, British Columbia, prior to the Kiska Operation (Operation Cottage) in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and was a Section Leader in a Rifle Platoon. Operation Cottage was a tactical manoeuvre which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. Allied forces landed on Kiska Island, on August 15, 1943, which had been occupied by Japanese forces. However, the Japanese has secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, so the Allied landings were unopposed. Despite this, over two days in thick fog and a confused state of affairs, American and Canadian forces mistook each other for the enemy, leaving thirty-two dead and a further fifty wounded, with an additional one hundred and thirty Canadians wounded from Trench Foot alone. Allied forces suffered over three hundred casualties during the operation, due to stray Japanese mines, friendly fire incidents and the difficult terrain. After the conflict, he returned to Canada in December 1943. Gerow signed his Canadian Army Active Service Attestation Paper on April 6, 1944 at Vernon, British Columbia and was promoted to Corporal the same day, naming his next-of-kin as his wife, Rosina Mary Gerow of White River, Ontario, stating that he was Married, that his last employer was the CPR and that he had been employed with them for three years (not the previously acknowledged two and half years). He was sent to Toronto to await overseas duty, where he and his family stayed with his sister Doris (Mrs. Perry) Hewson and her family. He reported to the barracks each day, before embarking Canada on May 25, 1944, arriving in the United Kingdom on the 26th. Six weeks later, he embarked the United Kingdom on July 10, 1944, arriving at his destination in France on the 14th. Gerow was transferred from the 1st Battalion, Rocky Mountain Rangers to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry on July 16, 1944. He was placed on the X3 List with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, suffering a wound to his left buttock, as the result of a hand grenade accident in the rest area, as it exploded during filling, on August 6, 1944. He was initially treated at No. 17 Light Field Ambulance, before being transferred to No. 9 General Hospital, where additional multiple superficial grenade wounds to the back of his thighs were cleaned and were redressed. He was transferred to the 102nd (British) General Hospital on August 20, 1944, then transferred one week later to No. 2 Canadian Convalescent Depot on August 27th, before being discharged on September 12th. He was posted to the 11th Battalion, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry but was injured again, on September 26, 1944, suffering a laceration to his right hand from glass, stating that "while running into a shelter, during a mortar attack, I fell. It happened about 1200 hrs on 26 Sep 44." He was admitted to No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on September 27th, before being discharged on October 4, 1944. Corporal Gerow, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry was Killed in Action, on October 18, 1944, at Woensdrecht, Holland, at the age of 27. He was initially buried in a cemetery in Ossendrecht but after the war, was re-interred in Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, four miles northeast of Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands, Grave Reference: Grave 4. Row B. Plot 4. He is commemorated on page 314 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. His wife, Rosina, was left a widow at the age of 23, with a young son, Harvey Vaughn Gerow. For his Second World War service, he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp and the War Medal 1939-1945. Memorial Crosses were dispatched to both his mother and his wife on February 17, 1945, followed by a Birks Memorial Bar. In his Will, dated April 21, 1944 at Fort William, County of Thunder Bay, Ontario, it stated that "I Give, Devise and Bequeath unto my wife Rosina Mary Gerow of White River Ont. all my real and personal estate whatsoever and whenever situated for her own sale use and benefit." As a former employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Gerow was also honoured for his war service by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, as evidenced by the medal, pin and plaque presented here.