By Avra Gibbs Lamey, Canadian War Museum –
The Canadian War Museum is honoured to announce its acquisition of the Victoria Cross awarded to Saskatchewan native Lieutenant-Colonel David Vivian Currie of the South Alberta Regiment, for his exceptional leadership and bravery in a decisive battle of the Second World War.
The Victoria Cross is the Commonwealth’s highest honour for military valour. Sixteen were awarded to Canadians who served during the Second World War. Currie’s is the only one associated with the fighting in Normandy, and the only one awarded to a member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
“The Canadian War Museum is proud to have been a part of the effort to keep this important piece of our military heritage in Canada for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History. “It is inspiring to see how many Canadians have come forward to help. We are profoundly grateful for government support and for the private donations that enabled us to acquire the Currie medal set.”
The purchase was made possible by the generous support of the Movable Cultural Property Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Museum’s donor-supported National Collection Fund, and generous contributions from the Brownlee Family Foundation, as well as the following honorary members of the North Saskatchewan Regiment and their families: Heather Ryan and L. David Dube, Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel; Sandra Howe and Dallas Howe, Honorary Colonel; Sandra Stromberg and Robert Stromberg, former Honorary Colonel.
The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board deemed the medal to be “of outstanding significance and national importance,” helping to pave the way for the Museum’s acquisition.
“We are pleased to have been able to help the Museum preserve this important piece of our national heritage,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “The stories behind medals such as these provide Canadians with important connections to their past.”
“We’re proud to support the acquisition of Lieutenant-Colonel Currie’s Victoria Cross medal,” said the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs. “It’s medals like these that allow Canadians to learn about and appreciate the legacy of our Veterans.”
Currie’s Victoria Cross honours his “inspired leadership” and “gallant conduct and contempt for danger” throughout the 36-hour battle at Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives, which played a central role in closing the Falaise Gap in August 1944. Currie later served as Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons in Ottawa (1960 to 1978). He died in 1986. His medal set is the 38th Victoria Cross medal set to be acquired by the Canadian War Museum.
The Currie, Barron and Strachan Victoria Crosses will be on display at the Canadian War Museum from today until May 29, 2018.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
Photo: Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum
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