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eMedals-Victoria Cross Bar - Canadian General Pearkes

Item: C0293

Victoria Cross Bar - Canadian General Pearkes


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Victoria Cross Bar - Canadian General Pearkes

This group includes a five level ribbon bar, with nineteen ribbons: Victoria Cross (with miniature VC); Companion of the Order of Canada (with maple leaf); Companion, Most Honourable Order of the Bath; Distinguished Service Order; Military Cross; 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal (with oakleaves); Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (with maple leaf); War Medal 1939-1945; Jubilee Medal 1935; Coronation Medal 1937; Coronation Medal 1953; Canadian Centennial Medal 1967; Jubillee Medal 1977; Canadian Forces Decoration (with three rosettes); France: War Cross 1939-1945 (with oakleaves); and United States: Legion of Merit (with miniature LM). Also included are his General's shoulder boards, featuring gold bullion oakleafing on red wool, with brass buttons; and a display of his Tria Juncta In Uno pip, Regimental Crest and "CANADA" shoulder tab; along with a black and white portrait photograph. (Portrait and black/white still wearing medals are not included in this lot.) Footnote: Major General George Randoplh Pearkes, VC, PC, CC, CB, DSO, MC, CD, was a Canadian soldier and poliician, who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, along with being the 20th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. He was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England on Febrruary 28, 1888, the oldest child of Louise and George Pearkes, he attended Berkhamsted School. In 1906, he and his brother emigrated to Alberta where they settled near Red Deer. In 1911, Pearkes joined the North-West Mounted Police and served in the Yukon until the outbreak of the First World War. In 1915, he enlisted in with the 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles. During the Battle of Passchendaele, his gallantry as detailed in the following citation won him the Victoria Cross: "For most conspicuous bravery and skilful handling of the troops under his command during the capture and consolidation of considerably more than the objectives allotted to him, in an attack. Just prior to the advance Major Pearkes was wounded in the thigh. Regardless of his wound, he continued to lead his men with the utmost gallantry, despite many obstacles. At a particular stage of the attack his further advance was threatened by a strong point which was an objective of the battalion on his left, but which they had not succeeded in capturing. Quickly appreciating the situation, he captured and held this point, thus enabling his further advance to be successfully pushed forward. It was entirely due to his determination and fearless personality that he was able to maintain his objective with the small number of men at his command against repeated enemy counter attacks, both his flanks being unprotected for a considerable depth meanwhile. His appreciation of the situation throughout and the reports rendered by him were invaluable to his Commanding Officer in making dispositions of troops to hold the position captured. He showed throughout a supreme contempt of danger and wonderful powers of control and leading." During the war, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. He received the Victoria Cross, the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order. Following the First World War he became a career officer in the army. He was appointed to Princess Patricia's Light Infantry. During the 1920s and early 1930s, he was stationed as a staff officer in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in Calgary, Alberta. He also served as staff officer at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. In 1925 Pearkes married Constance Blytha Copeman and they had two children. A daughter, Priscilla Edith ("Pep"), was born in 1928 though she died while still a young child. A son, John Andre, was born in 1931. In 1936, he attended the Imperial Defence College for two years. From 1938 to 1940, he was District Officer Commanding, 13th Military District in Calgary. With the opening of hostilities with Germany in the Second World War, Brigadier Pearkes was given command of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. This comprised a number of units raised in Western Canada. In December 1939, Pearkes and his staff left for England to join the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. In February 1940, he developed a serious case of spinal meningitis, but soon recovered. In November 1941, Pearkes was asked to assume command of the expanding Canadian Corps, taking the place of Andre McNaughton, who was on an extended leave. Pearkes was opposed to the Dieppe Raid and was eventually removed from command of the Corps as a result. In August 1942 Pearkes was returned to Canada and became General Officer Commanding in Chief Pacific Command, primarily a home defence organization for Western Canada. He oversaw defences on Canada's West Coast. He was also part of the planning for Operation Greenlight in 1943, retaking the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese. During the Second World War, in 1944, Pearkes was instrumental in suppressing the Terrace Mutiny, a revolt by conscripts stationed in Terrace, British Columbia, resulting from the announcement that conscripts would be deployed overseas. Although successful, Pearkes was extremely critical of the actions that led to it in the first place, stating he had been placed in the "intolerable position of being ordered to enforce a policy which his past experience gained in applying similar policies has proven ruinous to discipline of [troops], and of being in an utterly dishonourable position, and [Pearkes said] that he will NOT issue instructions to his [junior commanders] placing them in an impossible situation." When it became clear that the government was not considering deploying troops for the fighting in the Pacific, Pearkes requested a change of command, or to be allowed to retire. The Cabinet War Committee eventually decided on the latter, and he retired from the Army in February 1945. Pearkes later achieved the rank of Major General. He went into federal politics, winning the Nanaimo, British Columbia riding for the Progressive Conservative Party in the 1945 federal election and re-elected in 1949. In the 1953 election, he was elected in the riding of Esquimalt-Saanich, British Columbia and re-elected in the 1957 and 1958 elections. He was Minister of National Defence from 1957 to 1960 under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. In 1958, Pearkes recommended that the Avro Arrow program be cancelled. He resigned from federal politics in 1960. He became Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia on October 13, 1960, and became one of the few Lieutenant Governors to agree to an extended term, serving until July 1968. In 1967, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. He donated a ceremonial sword to Berkhamsted School, to be awarded each year to the school's best senior NCO cadet. He died May 30, 1984, at the age of 96. His grave/memorial is at Holy Trinity Cemetery, West Saanich, Sidney, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Section 4 - West. Headstone an his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.
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