Oct. 27, 1942 – Investiture

For their actions at Dieppe during the raid, Doc Alexander received the Military Cross for devotion to duty during the Dieppe Raid and Lt.-Col. John Begg, the Distinguished Service Order.

The next morning after breakfast, we walk across Green Park to Buckingham Palace, where we line up in queue outside the railing. At 10 a.m. we file through the archway to the Inner Court, and then into the Lobby of the Palace where we are divided into rooms, according to our decoration. We are given instructions, the hooks are hung onto our tunics, and we get lined up in proper order.

At 11 a.m. we start in, in single file, into a long chamber filled with an audience. There is a raised platform in the center of the room and we march towards this. The wide glass doors open and the King steps in, the National anthem played, and the King invites the audience to be seated.

As our names are called, we step forward onto the platform in front of the King. We halt, turn left, bow, step forward in to the triangle, where the Kind is standing. He pins the medal on and talks to each person for a second. To me, he said “which beach did you land on, Red or White?” I told him both. Then he asked me if we had many casualties: when I told him, he asked me if I had got them all off. Lord Louise Mountbatten whispered something to him, which I imagine was about our ship – then he asked me what had become of all our casualties and when I told him so many had been blown overboard, he said “It was a dirty show, good work, congratulations.” Then shook hands, I bowed and walked off.

On going through the door, another man removed the medal, put it in a case and handed it to me.

We had to wait for an hour and a half, until it was all over. Then the National Anthem again, the King went back inside and we all left.

John (Begg) and I were photographed outside the gates of the Palace on leaving, then back to the Hotel, where his sister-in-law and her son joined us for lunch – then went to Parliament Buildings, then to the Grosvenor for dinner and then home.

The citation that accompanied the medal read: “As medical officer of the Calgary Regiment, Capt. L.G. Alexander performed outstanding service to his unit. Working under extremely heavy fire to which he was exposed on one occasion while attending to wounded personnel, he was blown overboard by the blast from a shell of heavy calibre. Fortunately he was not wounded and was able to regain the ship, where he continued to attend the large number of wounded. Maintenance of morale was aided in no small measure by his devotion to duty, and his efficiency in handling wounded was responsible for the preservation of many valuable lives.”

Doc Alexander and Lt.-Col. John Begg outside the gates of Buckingham Palace (top) shortly after the investiture ceremony. Alexander received the military cross and Begg the distinguished service order. Begg and the Doc at the parliament buildings (above). Alexander family collection.

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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.

2 responses to “Oct. 27, 1942 – Investiture”

  1. Ron Levagood says :

    You should indeed b proud of Doc’s service to Canada. Thanks for sharing with one who was born in 1943.

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