Canada's Victoria Cross Recipients


Lieutenant Wallace Algie

20th Infantry Battalion – Cambrai, France, 100 Days Campaign, First World War

Born on 10 June 1891 in Alton, Ontario, Algie served with the 20th Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on 11 October 1918 during the advance to Cambrai. Algie and his troops captured two machine guns and a number of prisoners, clearing part of the village of Cambrai. He was killed later that day.

Major William Barker

Royal Air Force – Forêt de Mormal, France, First World War

Born in Dauphin, Manitoba on 3 November 1894, Barker originally enlisted as infantry and later transferred to the Royal Air Force. While flying alone on 27 October 1918 he encountered several formations of German aircraft. Barker shot down four enemy planes despite being wounded himself, a feat which earned him the Victoria Cross. Barker was killed in a flying accident on 12 March 1930.

Corporal Colin Barron

3rd Infantry Battalion – Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium, First World War

Born in Baldavie, Scotland on 20 September 1893, Barron enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914. He earned the Victoria Cross on 6 November 1917 for single-handedly capturing a German pillbox containing three machine guns and taking several prisoners. His efforts allowed his battalion to continue their advance. On 15 August 1958, Barron died in Toronto.

Lieutenant Edward Bellew

7th Battalion – Keerselaere, Belgium, First World War

Born in Bombay, India on 28 October 1882, Bellew received his Victoria Cross on 24 April 1915. Serving as battalion machine gun officer, Bellew and a sergeant continued to fire as the Germans advanced on their position. Although the sergeant was killed and himself wounded, Bellew continued firing until his ammunition was gone and he was taken prisoner. Bellew died in Kamloops, British Columbia on 1 February 1961.

Lieutenant Colonel Philip Bent

Leicestershire Regiment British Expeditionary Force– Passchendaele, Belgium, First World War

Born 3 January 1891 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bent served with the Leicestershire Regiment of the British Expeditionary Force. He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on 1 October 1917. During a fierce enemy attack, Bent led a collection of men from reserve and forward companies in a counter attack which succeeded in securing a vulnerable portion of the line. He was later killed while leading an attack.

Captain William ‘Billy’ Bishop

Royal Flying Corps – Near Cambrai, France, First World War

Born in Owen Sound, Ontario on 8 February 1894, Bishop originally joined the 9th Mississauga Horse before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. Bishop received his Victoria Cross for single-handedly attacking a German airfield almost 20 kilometres behind the front on 2 June 1917. During the raid he was credited with shooting down three German aircraft. On 11 September 1956, he passed away in Palm Beach, Florida.

Lieutenant Rowland Bourke

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve – Ostend, Belgium, First World War

Born in London, England in on 28 November 1885, Bourke originally tried to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force but was rejected and joined the Royal Navy instead. He earned his Victoria Cross on 9-10 May 1918. Despite being fired upon by the enemy, Bourke took his motor launch into the harbour at Ostend, Belgium to pull casualties from the water. He died in Esquimalt, British Columbia on 29 August 1958.

Corporal Alexander Brereton

8th Battalion, CEF – Warvillers, France, Battle of Amiens, First World War

Born on 13 November 1892 in Oak River, Manitoba, Brereton served with the 8th Battalion, CEF. On 9 August 1918, he earned the Victoria Cross when he single-handedly captured one of six German machine guns that were firing on his platoon which was in an exposed position. Inspired by his example, the rest of his platoon captured the other five machine guns. On 11 June 1976, Brereton died in Calgary.

Lieutenant Jean Brillant

22nd Infantry Battalion – Battle of Amiens, France, First World War

Born in Assemetquaghan, Quebec on 15 March 1890, Brillant earned the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 8-9 August 1918. On 8 August he was wounded while capturing a machine gun but went on to lead an attack later that day where he was wounded a second time. On 9 August he led yet another successful attack when he was critically wounded and could go no further. Brillant died of his wounds the next day.

Private Harry Brown

10th Infantry Battalion – Lens, France, Battle of Hill 70 First World War

Born on 11 May 1898 in Gananoque, Ontario, Brown received the Victoria Cross for his actions on 16 August 1917 near Lens, France. During a major German counter-attack, Brown was sent back to headquarters to request reinforcements. He was seriously wounded but managed to deliver his message before losing consciousness. He died a few hours later.

- All portraits painted by Sharif Tarabay -

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