The Battle of Passchendaele is remembered for its atrocious conditions, heavy casualties and Canadian velour. The Canadians instrumental in securing this victory earned nine Victoria Crosses for their courage and sacrifice.
Colin Fraser Barron. At the time he won his V.C., Colin Fraser Barron held the rank of corporal. Barron was born in Baldavie, Scotland, he moved to Toronto in 1910 where he became a railway worker. Not much is known of his private life as he was something of a recluse. All that is really known is that between wars he was married and lived in Toronto. In WWII he re-enlisted with the Royal Regiment of Canada and served in Iceland and Great Britain. He was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant and became an employee of the Don Street Jail.
Cecil John Kinross. Was born in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, his family emigrated to Alberta and settled on a farm near Lougheed. In 1915, Kinross enlisted in the 51st Battalion and later transferred to Edmonton's 49th.
In 1929 , he returned to England to attend a reception for the V.C. holders that was hosted by the Prince of Wales. Again in 1956 he would attend the 100 anniversary of the founding of the Victoria Cross in London. By this time Kincross was a confirmed bachelor, he had given up farming and had moved into a hotel in Lougheed, living on his veteran's pension. He died in his hotel room on June 21, 1957.
Kincross was buried with full military honours in the Soldiers Plot in Lougheed Cemetery. In 1951 one of the most spectacular mountains in Jasper National Park was named after him. His Victoria Cross was retained by his sister.
In addition to his V.C., McKenzie also won the Distinguished Conduct Medal as an NCO and then the Croix de Guerre (Fr.). His Victoria Cross along with his service medals were destroyed when his widow lost her life in a fire in Amherstburg, Ontario in 1959. His Distinguished Conduct Medal and Croix de Guerre where in the possession of relatives in Scotland. Through the efforts of the Canadian War Museum the destroyed medals were replaced. In 1979 his daughter, Mrs Elizabeth McAndrew of Windsor, Ontario, presented the complete set to the national collection.
George Randolph Pearkes was born in Watford, England on February 26, 1888. Before coming to Canada he joined the Bedfordshire Regiment as a bugle boy. He arrived in Red Deer, Alberta in 1911 and worked on a training farm. In 1913 he joined the Northwest Mounted Police and served in the Yukon. In 1915 he bought himself out and enlisted as a trooper in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. While in France he was granted a commission and won rapid promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Pearkes was accorded a full military and state funeral, the parade was led by 32 Mounties, 100-man units of the PPCLI and a 50 man guard from the Canadian Scottish. At his burial he was given a fifteen gun salute. Pearkes Victoria Cross was donated to the Canadian War Museum in 1994.