Currie Honours Victoria Cross Recipients
November 11, 2019
On November 11, Canadians everywhere take time to remember the soldiers who have fallen while defending our country. Originally, Remembrance Day was known as Armistice Day and marked the end of hostilities between the Allied forces and our opponents in World War One on November 11 at 11:00 am (the eleventh month, eleventh day, and eleventh hour). Today, Remembrance Day is a way for people in all Commonwealth countries and many other nations to honour everyone who has fought in any major conflict in service of their country.
With a past closely connected to Canada’s military history, the community of Currie takes special effort to commemorate Canadian soldiers every day of the year. Along Victoria Cross Boulevard, you can find permanent placards honouring recipients of the Victoria Cross who demonstrated extraordinary bravery, valour, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty in the face of a hostile enemy.
On November 11 at 11:00 am, please join the community of Currie and the rest of Canada in observing a moment of silence for our fallen soldiers.
Below you can read about one of the recipients of the Victoria Cross who we have permanently honoured in Currie, or you can visit Victoria Cross Boulevard in person to read about all the recipients we’ve honoured.
Corporal Frederick George Topham
On the morning of March 24, 1945, members of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion landed in enemy territory near the German city of Wesel, east of the Rhine River. Corporal Frederick George Topham was among these soldiers, serving as a medical orderly on the front lines in support of both Canadian and British Forces who had been fighting through the night.
Attempting to cross the east bank of the Rhine near Diersfordt Wood, Canadian forces came under extremely heavy gunfire from the enemy and many soldiers were wounded. The cries of an injured soldier reached Corporal Topham and after watching the two medics who attempted to reach him take fatal wounds themselves, Topham took the initiative to retrieve the wounded man. After reaching him on the battlefield, Topham began administering first aid but was soon shot through the nose. The corporal continued treating the wounded man, ignoring the blood and pain from his own injury, proceeding to carry him to safety through steady gunfire. Before he would allow others to treat his wounded nose, Corporal Topham persisted in treating other casualties on the battlefield, waiting a full two hours before letting medics dress his wound. He was ordered to be airlifted out of danger initially, but when it came time to evacuate, the corporal insisted on staying to assist other wounded men.
Only a few short hours after his initial gunshot wound, Corporal Topham rescued three more soldiers from a machine gun carrier that was about to explode. Under heavy mortar fire, all men had been advised to stay away from this volatile carrier where three men lay wounded. He bravely approached the men and helped pull them to safety, and although one later died of his injuries, Corporal Topham was able to assist in evacuating the two surviving men.
For performing acts above and beyond the duties expected, Corporal Frederick George Topham was awarded the Victoria Cross. Born in Toronto on August 10, 1917, Corporal Topham passed away in his hometown on May 31, 1974.