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Old 02-18-2013, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
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Who are some French Canadians who were awarded Canada's (or Britain's) highest military honors?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Stasis
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Apart from Billy Bishop, Wop May, and friend in the 1970's I couldn't name any recipients of Canadian military honors. This is a good place to start: Orders, decorations, and medals of Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Canada
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The individual who immediately comes to mind for me, is Léo Major. He was a soldier in World War 2 and it's kind of insane that he isn't a household name, I mostly know about him because he was from my area and some people in the area knew about and talked of his ridiculous action hero like military accomplishments. If someone were to make a movie about his life, no one would ever believe it. He captured 93 SS troops by himself when on reconnaissance and marched them back to base single handedly. Some Germans killed his frind, Willie Arsenault, and then, enraged, he liberated the ENTIRE CITY OF ZWOLLE BY HIMSELF!!! In the Korean War, 10,000 American soldiers of the Third US Infantry division had to retreat from an onslaught of 40,000 Chinese troops, but then him leading 20 French Canadian snipers retook that hill, refused to retreat, and held is for three days against endless Chinese assaults. Twenty guys won against multiple Chinese divisions, alone, for days, until reinforcements could come. The guy was something else, died at 87 in 2008.

Leo Major - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Aside from Major, who was highly decorated but never received the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, there were these other French Canadians who have been awarded that particular award.

Jean Brillant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Paul Triquet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's worth noting that the vast majority of Victoria Crosses were awarded in World War 1 and a few in World War 2 and then for some reason they stopped giving them out, although soldiers are still honoured with other high level medals and I'm certain that there are many very decorated and courageous French Canadian soldiers who aren't Victoria Cross recipients. I suspect discontinuation had to do with distancing from Britain and the Commonwealth, as this is an award for Commonwealth troops. A special Canadian version of the cross has recently been minted and I suspect our own military will start issuing them in the future.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
It's worth noting that the vast majority of Victoria Crosses were awarded in World War 1 and a few in World War 2 and then for some reason they stopped giving them out, although soldiers are still honoured with other high level medals and I'm certain that there are many very decorated and courageous French Canadian soldiers who aren't Victoria Cross recipients. I suspect discontinuation had to do with distancing from Britain and the Commonwealth, as this is an award for Commonwealth troops. A special Canadian version of the cross has recently been minted and I suspect our own military will start issuing them in the future.
No, the Victoria Cross (VC) hasn't been discontinued for Canadian soldiers, sailors, and air personnel; it's just that there have been very few opportunities since WWII for Canadians to earn the medal in the way that previous Canadian VC recipients have. As set by those recipients, the threshold is quite high; probably about as high as it it is for an American serviceperson to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

But in the last 50 or 60 years, we have not been involved in the kinds of actions we were in the Boer War, or WWs I and II, and our individual service personnel have not had to take actions like previous VC recipients. The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation by Harry Truman for their actions at Kapyong, Korea during the Korean War, but that's probably the closest Canadians have come to high-level military awards since WWII. Still, I'm sure that if a Canadian soldier, sailor, or airman were to meet or exceed the established threshold while on duty in Afghanistan or other world hotspots, that he or she would be awarded a VC.

For what it's worth, the Canadian version of the Victoria Cross is no different from that awarded to other Commonwealth countries, except that it bears the words "Per Valore" (Latin for the English words "For Valour," which the British, Australian, New Zealand, etc. medals bear). Canada chose to use the Latin version of the phrase, as it was neither English nor French; and thus, should be acceptable to native speakers of each of Canada's official languages.

Last edited by ChevySpoons; 02-18-2013 at 09:52 PM..
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Stasis
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List of Canada's Afghan War dead - showing home Province
CBC News In Depth: Afghanistan
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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The two world wars were somewhat problematic for French Canadians for a variety of reasons. For starters, much of the wartime propaganda in Canada was about defending Mother England or Britain and this was not a big motivator for people. The Canadian military was very British-oriented and even perceived as being hostile and racist to francophones. Basically, joining the Canadian army was like joining a foreign army to go fight a foreign war.

A question that is often asked was why Canadian francophones weren't more enthusiastic about defending France? Well, keep in mind that all contact between French Canadians and France had been cut off for about 150 years at that point. They really were distinct entities separated by an ocean and there was little in common, and no family ties really remained at this time. Sure, there were some people who had nostalgia for France and superficial affinities but this was totally counter-balanced by the sentiment of abandonment - that France betrayed French Canadians (their own flesh and blood) in 1763 by delivering them to the British, and instead keeping Caribbean islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe because Paris wanted to keep the revenue from sugar cane.
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