All those telegrams

Over the past week Doc Alexander received a great number of telegrams and on Oct. 3 he wrote: “John came into my R.A.P. (Regimental Aid Post) first thing this morning to congratulate me on my little stroke of luck – so we formed a mutual admiration society.”

A typically vague entry and it left me thinking something positive had happened in regards to the assault ambulance he had designed and was trying to get approved, but then I had no idea why John Begg would be included and why they both felt they needed to form a mutual admiration society. Well, it had nothing to do with the ambulance but everything to do with the Military Cross my grandfather received for his actions at Dieppe during Operation Jubilee on Aug. 19, 1942. Lt.-Col. John Begg, who would take command of the Calgary Tanks after Dieppe, received the Distinguished Service Order.

My thanks to Mike Hunter who pointed that out and sent me scanned copies of the London Gazette dated Oct. 2, 1942 announcing the two decorations. And as Mike pointed out each decoration is the second highest award for bravery available for their individual ranks.

So in my grandfather’s usual take-nothing-seriously approach to life (other than his work, his family and his friends), he effectively brushes aside being decorated for bravery with a laugh and a joke.

And as it happens Mike Hunter’s father, Lt.-Col. Kenneth A. Hunter of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and Officer Commanding the 2nd Canadian Light Field Ambulance, was on the same landing craft at Dieppe as my grandfather and John Begg. Lt.-Col. Hunter (later Maj. Gen.) and was Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service at Dieppe tending to wounded men aboard Tank Landing Craft No. 8.

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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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