Canadian War Museum acquires Strachan Victoria Cross set

The Strachan Victoria Cross medal set. Photo courtesy Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is celebrating the purchase of a Victoria Cross won 100 years ago by a Canadian soldier.

The set involved belonged to Lt.-Col. Harcus Strachan of The Fort Garry Horse. The purchase includes Strachan’s service medals from both World Wars, photographs and documents, the museum said in a media release.

Strachan earned the Victoria Cross on Nov. 20, 1917, at Masinières, France. The museum says that after his squadron leader was killed, Strachan led men through machine-gun fire to take an enemy battery. The small force returned safely, bringing with them 15 prisoners of war.

“It is always humbling when we are entrusted with the medals of Canada’s military heroes,” said Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and Canadian Museum of History, in the release. 

The acquisition of the Strachan set was aided by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Movable Cultural Property Program, the war museum’s National Collection Fund and private donors — Honorary Col. (retired) Brian Hastings and Honorary Col. Robert Williams, both of The Fort Garry Horse.

The Victoria Cross was presented to Strachan by King George V at Buckingham Palace on Jan. 16, 1918. Strachan served in the home army during the Second World War and died in May 1982 at 97. He was the longest-lived recipient of the award. This is the 36th Victoria Cross Medal Set acquired by the museum.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.