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Receiving the Victoria Cross

Heroes Remember

Receiving the Victoria Cross

I had a message from somebody in Canadian military headquarters in London oh, a long time before the end of the war. I forget, forget the month. Interviewer: So you were advised while you were in a POW camp? Oh yes. Yes. Interviewer: Did you know why you were being awarded the Victoria Cross? Yes. Whoever sent me the message gave the citation. So we had full information. Interviewer: The citation of course refers to your exploits on the bridge, at Pourville, taking the men across under fire and silencing some fortified positions on the other side. (That's right.) Interviewer: During the actual investiture, what do you remember of that? Only that I was very impressed with the King. He, he was a shy man you know, but he behaved like a king. And you got a very nice impression. And the informality of it. I've watched them doing it in Ottawa, and our present governor general does a very good job, but there's a horrible formality about it. Every person is summoned forward in exactly the same way, asked the same questions, different. I mean, the King was quite informal and we try to make it too formal. But this one that, when I was given my gong, it was, they'd been doing it for so many hundred years that. Interviewer: They knew what they were doing. That they do it very well.

Colonel Merritt recalls getting the news that he would be receiving the Victoria Cross. He speaks kindly of King George IV, who presented it to him in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt

Colonel Merritt’s father was killed in Ypres during the First World War. 7 or 8 of his uncles from both sides of the family also served during the First World War - three of whom were killed in action. He received his early education in Vancouver and Victoria and then went on to Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He articled with a Vancouver lawyer for three years before being called to the bar there in 1929. During this time, he joined the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada militia unit - the unit with whom he enlisted with when the Second World War was declared. Eventually, in late 1941, he was appointed Commanding Officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and served with the Regiment until the war was over. During his service he earned the Victoria Cross for his gallant efforts on Aug. 19, 1942 in the Dieppe Raid. Mr. Merritt was taken prisoner during the Dieppe Raid. Following the war Mr. Merritt returned to his law practice in Vancouver and served in the Canadian Federal Parliament from 1945 - 1949. He continued to live in Vancouver until his death on July 12, 2000.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Charles Cecil Ingersol Merritt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
South Saskatchewan Regiment
Company Commander

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