First, thanks for those readers who responded to my quiz from Volume 16 Issue 7. Two more “right” commands were proposed: “RIGHT-rear-roll” from jump school and the U.S. “RIGHT about face” — marginally as not Canadian parade ground orders but acceptable. While trying to get to sleep (when I usually think up these posers) I came up with “RIGHT close march!” Another letter I received challenged 2Lt McLeod’s claim to fame as Canada’s youngest VC recipient, and suggested that Thomas Holmes, of 4th CMR, held that distinction. Close, but not quite. At the time of their deeds Pte. Holmes was aged 19 years and twelve days, while Alan McLeod was 34 days short of his 19th
birthday. Thanks to Steve Mintz who pointed out that, although the unfortunate Lieutenant Selfridge was the first casualty in a “heavier than air” aircraft, there had in fact been earlier balloon fatalities. (There are also records of earlier fatal glider experiments.)
Keep the letters coming! Thanks! Now for this month’s challenges.
1) Lieutenant Dunne of the British Army was charged with an experiment that later had an effect in Canada. What was it?
2) Two officers were “General of the Armies” in the U.S. Who were they?
3) Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy played himself on film. Which VC holder did the same?
4) General Sikorski, HRH The Duke of Kent and General Wingate have what in common?
5) How did Roy Rogers get to be “King of the Cowboys”?
6) What changes in the VC criteria in 1881 ultimately led to the introduction of the George Cross?
7) Who is eligible for the Elizabeth Cross?
8) Did Germany breach the Geneva Convention by using poison gas in WWI?
9) Which action resulted in “six VCs before breakfast”? Bonus for naming the regiment.
10) At what age must a field-marshal retire?
Answers: 1) He developed a military aircraft. The British Army wasn’t interested, so he combined with the Burgess company in Massachusetts, to produce the “Burgess-Dunne No 2.” It was purchased by Sam Hughes in 1914 as the fore-runner of a Canadian Flying Corps. (It was damaged en route to Europe and the CFC dissolved. For more information, read Norm Shannon’s book From Baddeck to Yalu.) 2) “Black Jack” Pershing and (posthumously) George Washington. 3) Billy Bishop in Captains of the Clouds. AVM Bishop officiated at a “wings” parade. My old geography master, a WWI airman, insisted that James Cagney and Dennis Morgan had supporting roles in the movie. 4) They all died on active service in aircraft crashes. 5) Gene Autry joined the USAAF and flew in the China-India-Burma theatre. Roy joined the “stay-at-home” actors and succeeded to the “crown” (or sombrero). 6) In 1881 the award was amended to include “in the presence of the enemy.” Before that some awards (including the only VC awarded in Canada) were awarded for other acts of gallantry. 7) Next-of-kin of British service personnel who died as the result of enemy or terrorist activity after that date. 8) No. This came under the Hague Convention of 1899, to which Germany had acceded. 9) Cape Helles, Gallipoli, 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. (Five VCs were also awarded to members of the Royal Navy for the same operation of 25 April 1915.) 10) Field-marshals are appointed for life.