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Great Canadian War Heroes (Amazing Stories)


Great Canadian War Heroes (Amazing Stories)
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Victoria Cross Recipients of World War II

Of all the decorations a combatant in the Commonwealth can receive, none is more prestigious than the Victoria Cross. This book tells the inspiring stories of the 16 Canadians who received the Victoria Cross during World War II. These men came from all walks of life and from various ranks within the Canadian Forces, but they all had one thing in common: each displayed exceptional bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of danger.

Prologue

Corporal Fred Topham - "Toppy" - to his buddies watched in horror as two other medical orderlies were cut down by machine-gun fire as they tried to help a wounded soldier in an open field.

Toppy could hear the injured paratrooper's cries for help above the gunfire, and he couldn't stand it any longer. Without waiting for orders, he began running a zigzag course toward the downed soldier, ignoring the bullets that whizzed over his head and ploughed up the ground all around him.

Reaching the disabled paratrooper, Toppy realized the man needed immediate first aid if he was going to survive being dragged or carried out of the danger zone. As he worked on the wounded man, Toppy was shot in the face. Ignoring the intense bleeding and excruciating pain, he did all he could for the soldier, then hoisted him onto his broad shoulders and staggered through continuous heavy fire to the shelter of a wooded area.

Refusing treatment for his own wound, Toppy administered first aid to dozens of other injured Canadian soldiers for several hours. Finally agreeing that he too needed medical help, Toppy started back to his company command post. But he heard cries for help, this time from within a disabled vehicle.

A motorized Bren gun carrier had taken a direct hit from German mortars and was engulfed in flames. The wreckage was loaded with live ammunition, and a British officer had ordered everyone to stay clear.

Toppy couldn't stand by while his comrades-in-arms perished right there in front of him. Despite shouts of protest from the other onlookers, Toppy once again dashed through German mortar fire and reached the carrier.

One by one, he dragged three wounded soldiers from the exploding vehicle and brought them to safety. Only then did he allow the painful wound on his face to be treated. 

About the Author

Tom Douglas, an award-winning journalist and author, lives in Oakville, Ontario with his wife Gail, also an author in the Amazing Stories series. Tom's father, Sgt. H.M. (Mel) Douglas, was part of the Invasion Force that stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Tom is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, worked as a Communications Advisor for Veterans Affairs Canada, and has written speeches for the Minister of National Defence. Recently, he self-published a book, Some Sunny Day about his family's experiences in Northern Ontario following his father's return from World War II.

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