I was delighted to see the letter from Jack McLeod on the Canadian Scottish Regiment. May I take this opportunity to clarify and expand upon the points he raised?
Indeed the Canadian Scottish did win four Victoria Crosses in the First World War: Lt-Col Cy Peck (from Sidney), Piper Jamie Richardson (from Chilliwack), L/Cpl. William Metcalfe (from the U.S.A.) and Pte. William Milne (from Moose Jaw) but there was in fact a fifth Canadian Scottish VC winner who, for some reason, seems to have been forgotten by Canada.
Pte. Thomas Wilkinson was a resident of Lazo (near Comox) and a member of Vancouver Island’s 50th Gordon Highlanders then commanded by Lt-Col Arthur Currie. Wilkinson was in the 50th Gordons’ two-company contingent to the 16th Bn. Canadian Scottish in 1914. But after his arrival in U.K. he, like a very large number of his regimental comrades, was selected for officer training and granted a commission as temporary Lieutenant in the British New Army and posted to 7th Bn The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (Preston Pals Bn).
It was with this Bn. he won his posthumous VC on the Somme in 1916.
Sadly his body was never recovered but his name is commemorated both on the Thiepval War Memorial in France and also on the Sandwick Cairn War Memorial in Lazo.
Funnily enough, when the Canadian Scottish was advised of his death, they still had him recorded as being on strength of the regiment so, technically, he did indeed win his VC not only as a member of the Canadian Scottish but as a serving member.
His original VC is in the Imperial War Museum in London but a replica, with his citation, can be seen in the Canadian Scottish Museum in The Bay Street Armoury. It is recognized as one of the best regimental museums in Canada and well worth a visit.
The museum is open Sept. 1 thru to May 31 on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (other times by request) and in June, July and August 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays.
Richard Talbot, Honorary Colonel, C Scot R