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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 2, January 8, 2006, Article 6

ANOTHER VICTORIA CROSS DONATED

On January 3, the Ottawa Citizen reported the donation
of another Victoria Cross medal to a local museum:
"The price of the rare Victoria Cross medal is reaching
extraordinary heights when it comes up for sale at
international auction houses. But the Merrifield family
of Sault Ste. Marie has decided its Victoria Cross will
never be sold to the highest bidder and will never leave
Canada.

In November, the Merrifields donated the Victoria Cross
medal set that belonged to Sgt. William Merrifield to the
Canadian War Museum. The family was donating a military
artifact that would be worth a lot of money on the collectors'
market; a British Victoria Cross sold for $482,000 in 2004.

William Merrifield was an infantryman in the First World War
who became one of only 94 Canadians to win the high honour.
He won the medal in France for attacking German machine-gun
posts that had trapped his platoon, then leading the platoon
forward on the battlefield. He was wounded twice. He received
the medal from King George V at Sandringham in January 1919."

"The family saw the rising amounts of money being sought
for military medals, and saw the angst and controversy
over the recent sale of Fred Topham's Victoria Cross.
The executors of Mr. Topham's widow's estate wanted to
auction the medal in Britain, causing a national outcry
in 2004. The federal government eventually stepped in
and bought the medal for $300,000.

The Merrifield family wanted to avoid all that."

"We don't want it sold and off to another country,
just regarded as a piece of metal. We were taught as
kids that this was a very highly respected honour and
we should keep it that way. The museum was a good way
to do it."

"So the family decided to hand over the medal set to
the Canadian War Museum in a little ceremony in November."

"Families typically do a lot of thinking before donating
such a piece, says Mr. Glenney. So far, the war museum has
collected 29. Mr. Glenney says the medals are great for the
museum to collect, not just because they are small and easy
to store and display, but also because there's a story behind
each set and it's the museum's mission to tell those stories."

To read the complete story, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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