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In his last album before his death, Canadian singer Stan Rogers sang a song about Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonnell, who was Sir Isaac Brock's ADC at the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1812, and who died rallying the British Forces after Brock was killed.  It contains the line: "So you know what it is to scale the heights/And fall just short of fame".

 

Here is my falling just short of fame.

 

One reason I have been away from the Forum is that I have been on medal-related Facebook pages.  On one devoted to Canadian veterans, I found a Six Nations veteran who had purchased a UN Cyprus, CD combination to LCPL. G.S. Christmas.  He knew that the surname Christmas was common in the Membertou Mi'Kmaw First Nation in Nova Scotia, so purchased it to return it to the family.  He asked for help locating them.

2081211061_Christmasmedals.jpg.00e8cf261e02dbcf4a5dd172e327d788.jpg

 

I consulted my Hugh Crawford CD roll, and discovered that he was SF103917, Canadian Provost Corps, awarded 1964.  Ancestry turned up a George Christmas serving in the RCN in 1957 in Halifax, but shortly later serving with the Army.  The SF indicated a Nova Scotia enlistment, so it looked like the premise that he was from Membertou was correct.

 

I decided to cut the Gordian Knot by contacting someone I knew in Library and Archives Canada.  He confirmed that the  man was George Samuel Christmas, and, yes, he was both RCN and Army.

 

Meanwhile I was contacted by the CBC's Halifax Indigenous Service, who had gotten wind of the story, and could I help identify him?

 

Of course, it turned out that George Samuel Christmas was not Indigenous.  His father was born in Lancashire.  He was born in Ontario.

 

Through Ancestry, I was ultimately able to make contact with the daughter, who was thrilled to get the medals back again.  She confirmed that he had switched services as her mother didn't like him being away for long periods of time.  He served on HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Bonaventure (Canada's last aircraft carrier). But she was lukewarm on any publicity.

 

Meanwhile, I forwarded her information to the veteran, and also contacted Kyle Scott, a Legion Service Officer about getting the Special Service Medal and Canadian Peacekeeping Medal that Christmas would have also qualified for.

 

So I didn't get to become a CBC military history expert.  But at least the medals are back where they belong.

Edited by Michael Johnson
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