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  • A Valour Road Victoria Cross Memorial Plaque to Leo Clarke

    A Valour Road Victoria Cross Memorial Plaque to Leo Clarke

    Leo Clarke was born on December 1, 1892 in Waterdown, Ontario (although his Attestation Paper states that it was Hamilton, Ontario), the son of Henry Trevelyan Clarke and Rosetta Caroline Nona Clarke. He spent his early years in England, home of his parents, but returned to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba around 1903. 

    Before the start of the First World War, Clarke was working as a Surveyor for the Canadian National Railway in the Canadian north. He signed his Attestation Paper as a Private (72132) with the 27th Infantry Battalion "City of Winnipeg Regiment" on February 25, 1915 in Winnipeg. He did so at the age of 22, naming his next-of-kin as his father, stating that he had no previous military service, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Resident Engineer. 

    The Battalion was raised in Ontario and Manitoba, with mobilization headquarters at Winnipeg, Manitoba under the authority of G.O. 36, March 15, 1915. The Battalion sailed May 17, 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Snider with a strength of 33 officers and 1,039 other ranks, arriving in England near the end of the month. 

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  • Baird Mitchell

    United States Army Air Force Captain Anthony Baird Mitchell was born to Mr. and Mrs. Osborne Mitchell. Baird Mitchell grew up as the youngest of five children in the town of Poland, Ohio where his father was Mayor. He was an accomplished athlete and leader during his high school days, setting a record at a state championship track meet. He moved on to College after high school which he attended only for a short time before enlisting in the war effort. In September 1941 Mitchell enlisted with the USAAF, trained and graduated as a bomber pilot. He served on several missions on the Gulf of Mexico before being sent overseas for service in the European theatre in June 1944. He was placed with 854th Bomb Squadron, 491st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, Heavy, based in North Pickenham, Norfolk, England.

    In an ironic twist of fate Captain Mitchell landed a spot as Co-Pilot in a crew of ten, aboard a Consolidated B-24J-150-CO Liberator, piloted by Captain James K. Hunter for Operation Market Gardens. The normal Co-Pilot, 1st Lt. Charles Griffin had finished his tour of missions and wasn’t allowed to go on this one. Since there was a real competition to be included on this mission Captain Mitchell and a Captain Shy flipped a coin to see who got to fly, and Captain Mitchell “won”. On September 18, 1944 the crew of ten left to complete the operation, when their plane crashed northeast of Udenhout, Holland. The aircraft was badly hit in the right wing and the pilot, Captain Hunter decided to belly her into a field, but lost the no. 3 engine at an altitude of fifty feet, causing the right wing to dip low enough to touch the ground. Captain Hunter managed to pull the plane back into the air after hitting the ground, only for it to crash into some trees and farm buildings.

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  • Christoph Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel & Heinrich Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel

    This one-of-a-kind frame tells the story of a father and son, both recipients of the highest military honour of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: the Military Order of Maria Theresa. Two captioned boxes at the top indicate the honours for which both men received the decoration. The left box is for the father, stating: “Christoph Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel, for Belfort on July 4th 1815 as Captain in the Engineer Corps.” His son is described in the right box as “Heinrich Freiherr (Baron) von Pittel, for Goražde on October 21st 1869 as Major in the 52nd Infantry Regiment Erzherzog (Archduke) Franz Karl.”

    Below is a framed newspaper article from the Salzburg Times, dated Tuesday September 3rd 1816, which tells the story of Christoph Freiherr von Pittel's formal decoration as Ritter (Knight) of the Maria Therese Order. The article describes the festivities that took place in his honour as a celebration that the walls of Salzburg had never before witnessed. The Infantry Regiment Erzherzog Rudolph was garrisoned at Salzburg at the time, and the reveille of the troops ushered in the day and its festivities.

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