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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lest we Forget

Saturday November 11 is Remembrance Day.

Many courageous soldiers have been proud to call Newfoundland or Labrador their home, both before and after its Confederation with Canada. This is the story of just one of them.

Lest we forget.

Thomas (Tommy) Ricketts, V.C. - Recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Born on April 15, 1901 in Middle Arm Newfoundland, Ricketts was underage at the time he enlisted.. Ricketts joined the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at the age of 15 and 4 months. Just two months earlier, the Regiment had been decimated at Beaumont Hamel, during the Battle of the Somme.

After shipping overseas Ricketts was was wounded in the leg at Cambrai, but soon returned to his regiment. The following deed took place October 14, 1918 at Ledeghem, Belgium, for which Ricketts was awarded the Victoria Cross.

No. 3102 Pte. Thomas Ricketts, 1st Battalion, R. Newfoundland R.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 14 October 1918, during the advance from Ledeghem, when the attack was temporarily held up by heavy hostile fire and the platoon to which he belonged suffered severe casualties from the fire of a battery at point-blank range.

Pte. Ricketts at once volunteered to go forward with his section commander and a Lewis gun to attempt to outflank the battery. Advancing by short rushes under heavy fire from enemy machine guns with the hostile battery, their ammunition was exhausted when still 300 yards from the battery. The enemy, seeing an opportunity to get their field guns away, began to bring up their gun teams. Pte. Ricketts, at once realising the situation, doubled back 100 yards under the heaviest machine-gun fire, procured further ammunition, and dashed back again to the Lewis gun, and by very accurate fire drove the enemy and the gun teams into a farm.

His platoon then advanced without casualties, and captured the four field guns, four machine guns, and eight prisoners.

A fifth field gun was subsequently intercepted by fire and captured.

By his presence of mind in anticipating the enemy intention and his utter disregard of personal safety, Pte. Ricketts secured the further supply of ammunition which directly resulted in these important captures and undoubtedly saved many lives.

From The London Gazette Issue 31108 January 3, 1919 (Fourth Supplement January 6, 1919 p.309).


For this incident, Ricketts was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V himself, and promoted to Sergeant. On the 18 January 1919 Thomas Ricketts received a message informing him that he was to be invested with the Victoria Cross by King George V on the following day, Sunday, 19 January 1919. As he was shortly due to return home to Newfoundland, the King instructed that Ricketts should proceed by train to Sandringham, the sovereign's country estate in Norfolk, where he would be invested with his VC. The ceremony took place in the estate's York Cottage where the King, accompanied by Princess Mary and Prince George, chatted with Ricketts for ten minutes before pinning the VC on his uniform coat. He was then the youngest living recipient of the Victoria Cross, and was introduced by the King at the investiture as "the youngest VC in My army."

The King later wrote in his diary on Jan. 20, 1919, the following entry: "Yesterday I gave the V.C. to Private Ricketts, Newfoundland Regiment, who is only 17 and a half now, a splendid boy."

Ricketts also received the British War Medal 1914–1920, the Victory Medal 1914–1919, 1937 GVIR Coronation Medal, 1953 EIIR Coronation Medal and France's Croix de Guerre with Golden Star.

15 comments:

Edgar said...

Patriot,

if you were at all patriotic you would remove that asinine quote from Fidel the oppressor and replace it with something significant and relevant.

If I may,

"To those who fall I say: You will not die but step into immortality. Your mothers will not
lament your fate but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered
forever and ever by your grateful country, and God will take you unto Himself.

Sir Arthur Currie
Canada's greatest and most feared General

"When people tell me that Pierre Trudeau put Canada on the map,
I direct them to the fields of Flanders and France, the skies over the English Channel,
and the North Atlantic sea."

G.E. Benton



"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed of success because dead men can advance no further."

Major-General Sir Beauvoir de Lisle (commander, British 29th Division) regarding the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel.

"Thank God, my left flank is safe! Now for my right."

Brigadier General Bernard Freyberg, VC (commander British 88th Brigade), at the Battle of Ledeghem, September, 1918, upon learning that the Newfoundland Regiment held his left flank.

God bless all the brave men and women who give of themselves for our way of life.

Frederick Major Cox, I have not forgotten and thank-you so much.

Edgar

Anonymous said...

Hey I never noticed before that Patriot was quoting Castro.

That's um.....well...um....kinda bizarre.

Anonymous said...

There are more Newfoundlanders per capita in the army beacause those are the only jobs they can get.

mt.pearligan said...

This isn't a website devoted to honouring our war dead - it may come up as a subject but Myles use of the Castro quote is appropriate considering the political nature of the site.

Anonymous said...

Anything from Castro isn't suitable for a Democratic country.

Anonymous said...

I agree with above..unless of course the plan is to take your wretched little province, make it independent, and then turn it into a dictatorship. (You are well on your way to dictatorship with Williams at least).

Then the quote would be suitable.

Anonymous said...

To those above there is probaly more democraty in Cuba than in Canada. THe people are treated more fairly for such. Newfoundland ends its own Castro, A man who will fight for the betterment of his people.


To try to keep things on track, how many of you learned the story of Pte. Thomas Ricketts in school, or read of him in a history book???

Anonymous said...

Why would we have read of him in a history book??
Not to belittle his heroism, however, there were hundreds, of young men just like him all over this vast country. And probably many more we will never know about.

Just being from Newfoundland doesn't earn you a place in history books. That wouldn't be very fair to all the others would it?

Anonymous said...

Fidel Castro is a bad man who is responsible for the covert deaths of thousands of Cubans. This man you want to emulate and use quotes from?

Scary.

Anonymous said...

You think Cuba is a better place to live than Newfoundland??

Go check it out then come back and tell me.

Edgar said...

mt.pearligan said...
This isn't a website devoted to honouring our war dead - it may come up as a subject but Myles use of the Castro quote is appropriate considering the political nature of the site.


So, if I am to correctly interpret your above statement Mt.Pearligan, the political nature of this site is to oppress and bring sufferage to those of differing views than those who would be in 'control' of the dictated nationalized agenda, as Fidel Castro and his minions do to the peoples of Cuba?

I know, you mean the revolutionary type agenda, where libertarians rule the day. I have given Myles other quotes from revolutionaries, albeit American and libertarian free market capitalists types. I presented the patriotic war quotes because of the article he wrote and it's significance to it.

I have called Myles a lenin/marxist socialist in the past and he hasn't disputed that challenge. I respect him as a human being, I just acknowledge that we believe in different truths but that maybe we can learn something from each other in the process. It is obvious from his nationalized slant, his disdain for industry and big business, his support of unionized labour and his belief that govt. can cure the ills of our society as it shows up in his writing. Whereas you could say that I am a capitalist-free-marketeer in the stance that I take in my arguement. I believe that you and I know what's best for ourselves and that God gave us the free will to make those choices. I strongly believe in the principle that I am responsible for my own well being and that I have a responsibilty to help others where I can.

As the above anon said, if you think Cuba is a model for NL go check it out and get back to us. The only thing that NL has in common with Cuba is that they are both islands. Those in Cuba who are in control like the situation there, the rest tie themselves onto makeshift rafts and hope that the tides and currents pitches them onto the shores of Florida before the elements or sharks get them.

Edgar

Patriot said...

Edgar,

You are indeed a funny guy. If you want me to disupute your claims about my ideology then I will. If you want to know what I am (some folks like yourself seem to love labels for some odd reason) I'm a humanist.

Castro's quote is simply here for 2 reasons: First and formost, it talks about what a smoll band of dedicated folks can do if they are determined. Very appropriate for this site, second, in some ways I do admire the man (though not in all ways).

He managed to remove the U.S. sponsored and corrupt leadership that was in place in Cuba. A leadership that had turned the country into a playground for the U.S. mafia, turned cuban women into prostitutes, taken land from the residents for hotels and casinos, etc. In exchange for getting rid of all this corruption much freedom was lost, but Cuba has one of the best education systems in the world.

Doctors, professors, scientists and the like from Cuba are sent around the world to help other nations. Just as a history lesson and an aside, Castro was not a communist. He was forced to deal with the Soviets at the time. Think about it, if your country had just ousted the U.S. from your land and you were sitting 90 miles off their shores, cut off from trade, etc. You'd need a powerful ally as well. Castro was more of a socialist in reality. Consider that Canada, in a lot of ways, is more of a socialist country than you might think, universal health care, etc.)

As for my quoting things here or saying anything that you or someone else doesn't like, I don't mean to be crass but that's just too bad for you. In case you've forgotten, this is my personal blog. You are the one who decided it was worth visiting. Because of that I'll put what I want up here and if you don't like it you are free not to read it (Isn't a free country great). I get to have things my way by saying what is on my mind and by leaving, you can ignore it.

That kind of freedom is what these men died for. (Including the right to quote someone you may not like)

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Castro-lover.

Anonymous said...

Actually Ricketts was not the youngest to recieve the VC:

The youngest Recipients were Andrew Fitzgibbon & Thomas Flinn. Both were only 15 years of age.
FitzGibbon was from Goojerat,India (but he was British)
and Flinn was from Athlone, Cape Town (but he was Irish).

Anonymous said...

To the above Anon--you are so right! Also, Ricketts wasn't even the youngest Canadian to earn it since NL wasn't part of Canada then. I guess he could be the youngest Newfie to earn it.

At any rate....good on him!