Tribute to: Robert Metcalfe

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With the recent redesign of our Canadian currency bills, few citizens are aware of the significance of individual included on these new bills.

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran Shirley Hall submitted to us a copy of a narrative entitled “The  Veteran On Our Ten Dollar Bill(S.R.M. Fenton) which appeared in the Kanada Legion Branch 638 newsletter.  

The article is re-published below for your information and in tribute to Veteran Robert Metcalfe.

If  you look at the back right-hand side of a Canadian $10 bill,  you will see an old veteran standing at attention near the  Ottawa war memorial. His name  is Robert Metcalfe and he died in 2008 at the age of  90.

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That  he managed to live to that age is rather remarkable, given  what happened in the Second World War. Born in  England, he was one  of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent  to the mainland where they found themselves facing the new  German warfare technique – the Blitzkrieg.

He was  treating a wounded comrade when he was hit in the legs by  shrapnel.  

En  route to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German  tank, which then miraculously ceased fire. Evacuated from  Dunkirk on HMS Grenade, two  of the sister ships with them were sunk.

Recovered, he  was sent to allied campaigns in North Africa and  Italy. En route his  ship was chased by the German battleship Bismarck.

In  North Africa he served under  General Montgomery against the Desert Fox, Rommel.

Sent  into the Italian campaign, he met his future wife, a  lieutenant and physiotherapist in a Canadian hospital. They  were married in the morning by the mayor of the Italian town,  and again in the afternoon by a British padre.

After  the war they settled in Chatham  where he went into politics and became the warden (chairman)  of the county and on his retirement he and his wife moved to  Ottawa. At the age of 80 he  wrote a book about his experiences.

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One day out of the  blue he received a call from a government official asking him  to go downtown for a photo op. He wasn’t told what the photo  was for or why they chose him. ‘He had no idea he would be on  the bill,’ his daughter said.

And now you know the  story of the old veteran on the $10  bill. 

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