Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Only Victoria Cross Awarded in Canada.


Pte. Timothy O'Hea, VC


THE IRISH SOLDIER WHO EARNED THE ONLY VICTORIA CROSS
AWARDED ON CANADIAN SOIL

by Sidney Allinson.

St. Patrick's Day is an apt time to recall that the only Victoria Cross medal to be awarded for bravery on Canadian soil was won by an Irishman. Timothy O'Hea was born in the scenic village of Schull, County Cork, Ireland, in 1843, but left home as soon as he became 18, old enough to join the British Army. Six feet tall and blue-eyed, he made a fine-looking soldier in a crack regiment, The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade.
Two years later, in 1866, O'Hea found himself on duty in Quebec, helping guard Canada from possible attack from south of the border. At that time, the Canadian provinces were still mainly defended by small units of the British Army, as the bulk of Imperial forces had been withdrawn a decade earlier, sent to fight the Russian Czar during the Crimean War. Their departure drew attention to the colonies' vulnerability and stirred action to form volunteer Canadian militia regiments for their own defence. The end of the US Civil War in 1864 increased fears that the powerful Union Army might then march north to conquest.
As it turned out, though, the real threat of invasion that did develop was by an unofficial army calling itself the Fenian Brotherhood, composed of about 1000 Irish-American war veterans. Their optimistic if farfetched goal was to capture and occupy the Canadian colonies so as to force the British to abandon its government of Ireland.
After an abortive raid on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, the Fenians began to menace Quebec and Ontario. At dawn on June 1, 1866, a force of about 800 well-armed Irishmen and sympathizers, led by a self-styled 'General' John O'Neill, stormed ashore at Fort Erie, Ontario. Their invasion brought hurried response from local militia, who were poorly equipped with muzzle-loading muskets and had virtually no military experience compared to the battle-hardened Irish ex-soldiers.
A short sharp battle near the village of Ridgeway ended in a rout for the Canadians who lost 10 men dead, then fled the field when falsely told of a pending attack by cavalry. A couple of other skirmishes took place along the frontier, more successfully when British regulars became involved, and the Fenians retreated to Buffalo, New York. Would-be General O'Neill and his followers were arrested by American authorities for violating US neutrality laws, but were soon released when Britain made no move to demand their extradition.
However, the atmosphere was still tense along the entire border three weeks later when Private O'Hea was detailed to form part of an armed escort of a Grand Trunk Railway train moving ammunition from Montreal to Fort Erie. On June 19, 1866, he and three other privates under orders of a Sergeant Hill took charge of a munitions van loaded with 95 barrels of gunpowder and 2000 pounds of ammunition. To disguise the cargo, it was hitched at the rear of several passenger-cars carrying 800 German immigrants. This somewhat dangerous arrangement was compounded by locking the civilians in their carriages, to prevent any infiltration by Fenian agents.
When the train stopped at Danville station, about halfway to its destination, smoke was seen billowing from the ammunition car. Railroad workers and the soldiers quickly disconnected it, but were unable to move it away to a safe distance. When the flames gained strength and word spread about the dangerous cargo, it was realized an explosion could obliterate most of the village, and panic set in among the bystanders who stampeded away. Soldiers made a hurried attempt to open the passenger doors and release the German men, women, and children locked inside and still unaware of their dangerous plight. But a frantic call for the keys revealed that the railwayman who carried the passenger door keys had already scampered away and could not be found.
For reasons unknown, Sgt. Hall apparently stood frozen with indecision, ammo key in hand. Realizing that the gunpowder could blow up at any moment, Private O'Hea snatched the key, found a ladder, and climbed inside the smoking box-car. Seeing the flames were mainly on tarpaulins over the powder-barrels, he threw the burning covers outside, then he leaped down, grabbed a bucket, and raced to fill it from a nearby creek. Without any assistance from others, Timothy ran back and forth 19 times to throw water on the burning woodwork, while the locked-in immigrants cheered happily, not realizing their lives depended on him. Finally, after almost an hour of hot work in the face of almost certain death and without regard for his own safety, he single-handedly quenched the flames and the trapped civilians were out of danger at last.
The doused box-car was re-coupled to the immigrant train, and proceeded on its way to Montreal. After his superiors received reports of O'Hea's outstanding courage, they recommended the young soldier be awarded a Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military medal. When originally introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856, the VC was intended as recognition "For conspicuous bravery in the face of the enemy." However, this definition was soon amended to also include "bravery under circumstances of great danger," and it was this clause that allowed Pte. O'Hea to be presented with a much-honoured VC in January, 1867.
Though he could have continued military service with considerable prestige, O'Hea for his own reasons left the army the year after receiving his medal. Restless for new challenges, he sailed to New Zealand in 1872, and joined a mounted constabulary unit fighting in the last Maori War. Two years later, he sailed to Sydney, Australia, where he met Andrew Hume and an English ex-soldier, Lewis Thompson. The pair were about to set out to solve the mysterious fate of Prussian explorer Ludwig Leichardt who had disappeared in the Simpson Desert of northern Australia 25 years before. Their intended quest intrigued O'Hea, who maybe was also struck by another German connection with his own search for excitement.
So, in December, 1874, he set out with them into the trackless Outback, hoping to locate a lone survivor of the Leichardt party, rumoured to be living with an aboriginal tribe in western Queensland. Before long, though, the three companions became hopelessly lost in the blazing hot desert, out of food and desperately short of water. Tough as he was, O'Hea finally collapsed, and Hume was also exhausted. Promising to return, Thompson left them and set off to find water. But when he came back with filled canteens three days later, he found Hume and O'Hea lying dead. The Irish VC's adventurous short life had ended at the age of just 28, and he was buried in an un-marked grave at Noccundria Station, Queensland.
Feeding the modern hunger for conspiracies, O'Hea's saga has recently been clouded with complicated theories of mistaken identity and dotty speculation it was his brother instead who died. The real mystery of the disappearance of his medal itself was solved in 1950, when it was found forgotten in a drawer of an art gallery in New South Wales. He had left it as security for a loan by a financial backer, who later presented it to the gallery. Today, Timothy O'Hea's Victoria Cross is proudly displayed by his old regiment in the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, England.




Sidney Allinson is a Canadian military historian, author of
"The BANTAMS: The Untold Story Of World War One."

9 comments:

rebecca williams said...


.We are an organization set up to help people in need of
assistance, such as financial aid. So, if you are going through financial
problem, if you have a financial mess and you need funds to
starting your own business or you need a loan to pay off debt or pay
bills, start a nice business or you find it difficult
obtain capital loan from local banks, contact us today via e - mail
rebeccawilliamsloanfirm@gmail.com

"So, do not let this opportunity pass you by,
You are advised to complete and return the details below ..

Your Name: ______________________
Your Address: ____________________
Your Country: ____________________
Your task: __________________
The amount of loan needed: ______________
Term of the loan: ____________________
Monthly Income: __________________
Mobile Number: ________________
Did you apply for a loan before: ________________
If you have filed a previous loan, where you are treated honestly? ...

Act fast and get out of financial stress, mess, and challenges
contact REBECCA WILLIAMS LOAN FIRM today via e - mail:
rebeccawilliamsloanfirm@gmail.com

Wilson Freeman said...

Good day to you all, i just want to share this with you friends, because am so happy now , finally i just got my loan from Mr Wilson if you are in any need of any type of loan you can contact him through this email (wilsononlineloanoffer@gmail.com)

Kimberly McQueen said...


LOAN OFFER !!! APPLY NOW

Do you need financial assistance of any kind? We give out loans at 3% A.P.I. rate!
Personal Loans?
Business Loans?
Student loan?
Mortgage loans?
Agricultural and project funding?

Email: LYNDA.PATTERSON.LENDERS03@outlook.com

APPLY FOR A FAST LOAN TODAY

Alfred Nehemia said...

Good news!! loan seeker !!!

My name is Alfred Daniel Nehemia from bali Indonesia, bread CEO Daniel Bakery, First of all I would say that God should bless Lady jane for introducing me to an honest and lawful lending company so I really believe that you are telling co-workers that I have a good Idea to start my own business because getting a job is not easy so I went to the bank to get a loan (Rp800 million) but they all asked for an advance payment of my loan amount but the only property I have is a motorcycle. Bike, which makes me feel disappointed
So I am looking for an online loan company but mostly cheats and cheats, I almost lost hope and confidence until I read the article about lady jane but I did not get close but read the article so I tried another online search called craigslist. org where I saw the Dangote Loan company ad so I decided to apply and contact lady jane as well

Dangote Loan Company provides loan with interest rate of 2% and not less than Rp20 million

I follow the procedure there, give all the requested, I am also very afraid, but for the glory of god, my prayers answered and my loan money transferred to me without any problems.

so do not waste your time contact Dangote loan company Via dangotegrouploandepartment@gmail.com

You can also search on google for more information, this is real and very real or contact me also via email at alfreddaniel324@gmail.com and also on BBM: 7AEA8FA5

clinton nancy said...

Good day Loan Seekers Solution for your financial problems......
We are a fully registered and certified loan firm, that offers secured and unsecured loans to individuals and companies at a very low interest rate of 2%. We offer long and short term loans.Our company has recorded a lot of breakthroughs in the provision of first class financial services to our clients, especially in the area of Loan syndication and capital provision for individuals and companies. We have brought ailing industries back to life and we back good business ideas by providing funds for their up start. We have a network of Investors that are willing to provide funds of whatever amount to individuals and organizations to start business and operations.We are a group of energetic and experienced loan professionals with thorough knowledge of financial markets.In general we offer mortgages, home loans business loans and bad credit loans commercial loans, start-up- working capital loans construction loans car loans, hotel loans Xmas loans Our interest rate is 2% per annual repaid, our loan takes a maximum of 3 working days to get to all approved customers across the globe.You can contact us clintonnancy43@gmail.com

Unknown said...

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Have Loan Programs Tailored For Any Profile And You've Come To The Right Place To Satisfy Your Business Needs. If Your Company Or You Know Of Any Company With Viable Projects / Proposals That Needs Financing, Kindly Write Us With The Loan Requirement. Please, Contact Us For More Information: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

You Will Hear From Us. Well Nice To Meet You And I look forward to our Business Acquaintance. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Kindly write us back with the loan information;
- Complete Name:
- Loan amount needed:
- Loan Duration:
- Purpose of loan:
- City / Country:
- Telephone:
- How Did You Hear About Us:

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Dr Purva Pius said...

My name is Mrs.Anna Daniel,I am a Citizen Of USA.Have you been looking for a loan?Do you need an urgent personal or business loan?contact Dr Purva Pius Finance Home he help me with a loan of $320.000 some days ago after been scammed of $4500 from a woman claiming to been a loan lender but i thank God today that i got my loan worth $320.000.Feel free to contact the company for a genuine financial service. Email:{urgentloan22@gmail.com}

Unknown said...

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Have Loan Programs Tailored For Any Profile And You've Come To The Right Place To Satisfy Your Business Needs. If Your Company Or You Know Of Any Company With Viable Projects / Proposals That Needs Financing, Kindly Write Us With The Loan Requirement. Please, Contact Us For More Information: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Kindly write us back with the loan information;
- Complete Name:
- Loan amount needed:
- Loan Duration:
- Purpose of loan:
- City / Country:
- Telephone:
- How Did You Hear About Us:

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Unknown said...

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Have Loan Programs Tailored For Any Profile And You've Come To The Right Place To Satisfy Your Business Needs. If Your Company Or You Know Of Any Company With Viable Projects / Proposals That Needs Financing, Kindly Write Us With The Loan Requirement. Please, Contact Us For More Information: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

Kindly write us back with the loan information;
- Complete Name:
- Loan amount needed:
- Loan Duration:
- Purpose of loan:
- City / Country:
- Telephone:
- How Did You Hear About Us:

Do You Need A Loan To Consolidate Your Debt At 1.0%? Or A Personal Loans * Business Loans etc. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )

We Offers Financial Consulting To Client, Companies Seeking Debt / Loan Financing And Seeking For Working Capital To Start A New Business Or To Expand Existing Business. Interested Parties Should Contact Us For More Information Through Via E-mail: SuiteCapitals@gmail.com ( SuiteCapitals@post.com )