Scottish Cdn VC for sale Toronto

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Scottish Cdn VC for sale Toronto

Monty-convoy magazine
Monty-convoy magazine

April 28th, 2009, 2:32 pm #1

SCOTTISH BORN CANADIAN WAR HERO'S MEDALS FOR SALE AT BONHAMS

The medals of Robert Shankland, including the Victoria Cross will go on sale in Toronto at Bonhams May 25th Canadian Sale, valued at up to £185,000.

The Victoria Cross is the token by which much of the English speaking world has come to acknowledge and define the outer limits of man's capacity for valor, endurance and self sacrifice. Indeed, the process of assigning value to such an item can feel disconnected from the spirit of the actions behind it and yet the act of sale prompts the retelling of the remarkable story of the men involved which is itself invaluable.

Robert Shankland's citation for the Victoria Cross, awarded for his actions during the battle of paschendale, 1916. reads as follows:

For most conspicuous bravery and resource in action under critical and adverse conditions. Having gained a position he rallied the remnant of his own platoon and men of other companies, disposed them to command the ground in front, and inflicted heavy casualties upon the retreating enemy. Later, he dispersed a counter-attack, thus enabling supporting troops to come up unmolested. He then personally communicated to Battalion Headquarters an accurate and valuable report as to the position on the Brigade frontage, and after doing so rejoined his command and carried on until relieved. His courage and splendid example inspired all ranks and coupled with his great gallantry and skill undoubtedly saved a very critical situation.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shankland was born at St.Quivox, near Ayr in Scotland, on 10th October 1887. He was the son of a railroad guard, and on completing his education he began work as a clerk in the stationmaster's office.

He emigrated to Canada in 1910 and worked as an assistant cashier for the Crescent Creamery Company in Winnipeg. He enlisted on the 18th December 1914 into the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada), at Winnipeg. After his training he was posted to the U.K. leaving Canada on the 1st June 1915 on S.S. Grampian and landing on 10th June 1915. He was promoted to Company Sergeant Major at Shorncliffe in October 1915, and embarked for France on the 20th February 1916. Shankland had only served a few months before he was awarded his Distinguished Conduct Medal for leading stretcher-bearers in horrendous conditions.

He was commissioned on 27th December 1916 and as a newly appointed Lieutenant still with the 43rd Battalion won his Victoria Cross at the end of 1917, having led attacks and suppressed a counter-attack. He had also suffered a number of wounds including gun shot wounds to the back and head, but suffered no disability as a result of these. He returned to England in February 1919 and sailed for Canada on R.M.S. Baltic on 12th March 1919, arriving in Ottawa on the 25th March. He was demobilised on the 11th April 1919.

After WW1 he remained in the Militia with the Cameron Highlanders. He then moved to Victoria and subsequently joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment. He moved to Vancouver in 1937, but has recalled to his old regiment in Winnipeg when WW2 broke out. At this stage he had been promoted to Major, but despite being too old for combat duty at the age of 53 he went overseas with the battalion as Officer Commanding Headquarters Company. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was appointed camp commandant of the Canadian Army Headquarters in England in December 1940, serving in Aldershot and later Peper Harow House near Godalming, which was the Canadian Army Headquarters from 1942 onwards.

He took his discharge in 1946 and rejoined Hall Securities in Vancouver the company he had worked for prior to WW2.

His wife died in 1952 and towards the end of his life he lived at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. He died at Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver on the 20th January 1968 aged 80, having only been ill for a short period of time, up until that point he had remained active in business and life in general. He is commemorated at the Garden of Remembrance, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. There is a commemorative plaque on a lamp-post in Valour Road (formerly known as Pine Street) Winnipeg, interestingly this includes his name with those of Lance Sergeant L.Clarke V.C., and Company Sergeant Major F.W.Hall V.C. (all three were living in the same block in this road when they enlisted in the C.E.F.).

The medal comes with copies of the VC and DCM citations from the London Gazette, copies for entitlement for the Coronation 1937 Medal and Coronation 1953 Medal, a set of copied service papers for his WW1 service.

A total of 70 Victoria Crosses were awarded to Canadian Forces during WW1 (British Gallantry Awards, by Abbot and Tamplin p.295), and a total of 1946 DCMs, with 36 first bar and 1 second bar, were awarded to Canadian Forces in WW1 (Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920 by R.W.Walker). The combination of VC and DCM is very scarce and numbers a handful.

For further press information and images Matthew Wilcox on
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Monty-convoy magazine
Monty-convoy magazine

May 1st, 2009, 6:59 pm #2

This has been discussed before I believe, but briefly

1) what are your thoughts on sale of medals?

2) sale of Canadian medals outside Canada?

3) does a VC change your position on either of above?

tks
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Clive M. Law - Service Publications
Clive M. Law - Service Publications

May 1st, 2009, 7:08 pm #3

My thoughts on this have been made clear in other fora. I am for the private sale of medals as, generally, collectors honour the recipients more than family or institutions. From a purely emotional point of view I would prefer that VCs (including GCs and CVs)remain in Canada and I fully support the use of the Cultural Property Export Review Act which prevents the export of any Canadian cultural property if a matching price can be found within Canada. This is not always the case however.
If we were serious about keeping VCs in Canada then we should encourage the government to either fund this activity or we should support the CWM in raising and maintaining the necesssary money with which to accomplish this. I do not support the other point of view which would make it illegal to sell/export medals as this would only affect the rightful owners with no benefit to the country whatsoever.
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dale
dale

May 1st, 2009, 8:08 pm #4

This has been discussed before I believe, but briefly

1) what are your thoughts on sale of medals?

2) sale of Canadian medals outside Canada?

3) does a VC change your position on either of above?

tks
i find it very sad. it upsets me when i see medals, airborne coins, course certificates ect. for sale. the son/daughter should get a good smack. unfortunately, they don't mean anything to most. i have no children, i've left instructions for my medals, certificates, photo's and certain uniforms to be destroyed if not wanted and cared for by my next of kin. canadian vc's should stay in canada, or give the unit of origin ample time to generate funds to purshase it or at the very least be donated to the unit or the war museaume. of course its all about greed not country and regiment.
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Joined: March 15th, 2006, 3:45 pm

May 1st, 2009, 8:55 pm #5

Dale

How sad that you would request your medals and other
property be destroyed if no one in your family wants them.
Your memory and sacrifices can be maintained by other people who would honour your memory in other ways.
When a soldier is given medals from his country it is to remind him/her of
the service they gave. Once that soldier is gone his memory and sacrifices should live on in the medals, uniforms, badges etc.
regardless of if his kin want them or not.

I have recently put together a uniform grouping of a Canadian Officer from Van Keel hill Ontario who was killed in 1916.
When I contacted the Van Kleek hill historical society, they were more than happy to hear about it.
We have since shared photos of the uniform and photos of this solider. His family are long gone, but he is remembered through his uniform.

It struck me that almost 100 years after his death, that I wish he could know that people were still thinking about
his sacrifice.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 1st, 2009, 9:12 pm #6

i find it very sad. it upsets me when i see medals, airborne coins, course certificates ect. for sale. the son/daughter should get a good smack. unfortunately, they don't mean anything to most. i have no children, i've left instructions for my medals, certificates, photo's and certain uniforms to be destroyed if not wanted and cared for by my next of kin. canadian vc's should stay in canada, or give the unit of origin ample time to generate funds to purshase it or at the very least be donated to the unit or the war museaume. of course its all about greed not country and regiment.
Why would you support the notion that physical violence is a just reward for someone in favour of preserving history?

That's what your post boils down to, in the end.

A son or daughter with either a lack of interest or a lack of means of preserving their relative's service medals/certificates/memorabilia and makes the perfectly valid choice to sell them should be applauded, not villified. The act of spending money on them is incentive for someone to preserve them - they've invested in those items a value, in other words, other than the intrinsic value of the piece itself.

Declaring that memorabilia may never have a monetary value only ensures that family members unwilling or unable to properly preserve pieces will simply destroy them rather than find good homes for them.

Even as it is, many do not realize the militaria has a monetary value. Look at the situation in those cases. The widow of a brigadier general found herself with a closet full of "old clothes" and "worthless pictures" and invited a friend of mine over to clear the "junk" out of her closet. The result? Buddy preserved several boxes of Kodachrome slides which turned out to be crystal clear photographs taken by the general when he was a major - serving in Korea. Colour photos showing just about every Canadian uniform combination worn in field conditions, with photos of jeeps (including slat-grille types), 2-1/2 ton trucks, M4 Shermans, heavy cranes, Tokyo, Seoul, and various field hospital sites.

All would have gone to the dumpster because the family thought it had no monetary value. Had buddy not been there to say he would take the stuff, it would have. As I understand it, there were no "male heirs" or anyone with an interest in taking the artifacts over.

Declaring items as "worthless" means just that - the items become worthless. Simple math if you ask me.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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dale
dale

May 1st, 2009, 10:58 pm #7

mr. dorosh if you father left you his medals or uniforms, would you sell them? "a good smack" was a expression. rodger your right i will rethink my will. i just think canadian medals should stay here and what i tried to expressed in my initial post was the lack of respect this country shows veterans and soldiers. besides the congresional medal of honour can't legaly be sold or taken out of the u.s. can it?
Last edited by dorosh on May 1st, 2009, 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 1st, 2009, 11:32 pm #8

If your father was a bus driver and he left you his uniforms, would you sell them?

Would you apologize to the transit union if they objected to your lack of respect for your father's service to the union?

People get very self-righteous about military service, yet very closed-minded to the idea that there is service of all kinds that is necessary to make up a society. Few involve the level of sacrifice that the military demands, but that doesn't - and shouldn't - mean that all other forms of endeavour simply vanish or amount to nothing. However fashionable it may be on television, for example, to think that only doctors, lawyers, policemen, soldiers and EMT techs have value in society, you wouldn't run it for long without power, sewer, loggers, etc. Actually, some of that history channel "dreck" they have been showing lately kind of sums it up nicely, from History's Worst Jobs, to Ice Road Truckers, to Axe Men are all highlighting the notion that you don't have to wear a uniform or get shiny medals to contribute to society.

In British Columbia in 2008 alone, over 150 workers died on jobsites. That's almost as many deaths as soldiers dying in Afghanistan in the entire war. And that's just one province. Those deaths should never have happened and I don't mean to equate sacrifice in war with carelessness or poor management. But at what point do we take the soldier off the pedestal, or perhaps build a small one for everyone else who does their bit to keep the trains running and the toilets flushing?

If your father was an alcoholic who sexually abused you, should I forgive you if you decided to throw his medals in the trash?

Interesting questions.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Anonymous
Anonymous

May 2nd, 2009, 2:28 am #9

who says i wouldn't? are you that twisted that you figure something only worth something if it's military? i have my grandfathers taxi license metal badge from the 20's it aint going any were.is only war stuff worth anything to you?
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dale
dale

May 2nd, 2009, 2:55 am #10

last post mine sorry. not for the post.
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