The Victoria Cross Medal is given to soldiers who have performed above and beyond expectations in war. They risk, and sometime give, their own lives to save others. Only 16 Canadians received this medal in World War II. Some of those recipients include Charles Hoey, Charles Merritt, Andrew Mynarski, John Osborn, Ernest Smith, Frederick Topham, Ian Bazalgette, and Frederick Tilston.
On February 16, 1944, “Major Hoey's company formed a part of a force which was ordered to capture a position at all costs” (Veterans Affairs, "Charles Ferguson Hoey," 2014). The territory was well protected by machine gun and rifle fire. Major Hoey led his company to their objective. Along the way, Major Hoey was shot at least twice in the leg and head, but he still took a Bren gun from one of his men and fired from the hip. He pushed on very quickly and his team was falling behind. Hoey captured the enemy’s position first and killed all of the enemy soldiers residing in that location, until he was fatally wounded. Hoey received this award posthumously for his “outstanding gallantry and leadership, his total disregard of personal safety and his grim determination” (Veterans Affairs, "Charles Ferguson Hoey," 2014).
Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt’s battalion landed on Green Beach. To reach their objectives, the battalion had to cross a heavily guarded bridge that went across the River Scie. German artillery, machine guns, and mortars protected the bridge which halted the battalion’s movement. Merritt took charge while he “led the survivors of at least four parties in turn across the bridge” (1942, p. 4323). From there, they took out several pillboxes and other enemy positions that defended the bridge and successful cleared a village. Even though he was wounded twice in the leg, Merritt endangered himself irresponsibly to German gunfire for the sake of his battalion. After fighting valiantly, “Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt is now reported to be a Prisoner of War” (1942, p. 4323). Since then, he has been released from the prisoner of war camp where he was being held and passed away on July 12, 2000.
Andrew Charles Mynarski was a mid-upper gunner in an Avro Lancaster bomber. Andrew Mynarski was “the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster aircraft, detailed to attack a target at Cambrai in France, on the night of 12th June, 1944” (1946, p. 5035). During an attack on the railway yards in Cambria, a German night fighter attacked his plane, causing both engines to fail and the aircraft to catch on fire. The pilot ordered the aircraft to be abandoned. When Mynarski left his turret, he saw that Flying Officer G. P. Brody was trapped in his turret, that couldn’t be moved because the hydraulic and manual systems both failed. Mynarski ran through the blazing fire and attempted to free Brody, but was unable to. Mynarski’s parachute and clothing below the waist caught fire and Brody told him that there was nothing Mynarski could do and told him to leave. Mynarski exited the aircraft and was...