Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bringing our history home

From a reader, we learn of Cdr Ted Simmons, winner of the DSO and DSC:

In September of 1941, HMC Ships Moose Jaw and Chambly sank a German U-boat that was attacking a convoy off the coast of Greenland. Lt. Ted Simmons led a boarding party over to the stricken sub and attempted to seize cipher equipment and code books before the boat sank. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for that action. A year later, while in command of HMCS Port Arthur, Simmons sank the Italian submarine Tritone, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In 1989, Simmons died and was buried at sea from HMCS Huron - a true Canadian naval hero, typically unsung and practically unknown outside the small Canadian military family circle.

Next week, Cdr Ted Simmons' medals will be auctioned off in the UK leaving the procurement of a significant piece of Canada's military history - and its protection for posterity here at home - entirely a matter of chance. Apart from minor coverage in local, Victoria media, there is an almost total lack of awareness about this situation in the rest of the Canadian media. To that end, I am asking for your help.

One of Ted Simmons's children, John, has launched a website to raise awareness and donations to help raise the $40,000 that the auction house (Wallis and Wallis) anticipates will be the fetching price for these medals and associated memorabilia.

The auction is on 18 November.

I do not know how much has been raised to date but I suspect the fund is falling short as time passes quickly. The website, where you can learn more and donate, is here.

From that website:

This is not a charity so no receipts for income tax purposes can be issued. The money collected will go directly to bidding on the items and if we fail then the money will be donated to CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum in Commander Ted Simmons name to do with as they see fit.

A worthy effort, especially this Remembrance Day as more and more of Cdr Simmons generation are lost to us.

Update: More from the folks at CTV:

Though he is "nowhere near" raising the amount of money necessary to purchase the collection when the items go up grabs to the highest bidder on Nov. 18, Simmons said he is encouraged by the "groundswell of support" coming from the area around his father's naval base in Victoria.

"Momentum around the cause is building," he said.

Let's keep that momentum going, folks. Every bit helps.


Blogger canary said...

How did the medals get over to the UK to be auctioned off?

BTW - Just listened to BBC world service news on TV covering Remembrance Day services in Britain,of course, and then France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Australia and the USA. Nary a mention of Canada. I complained via the BBC website.

6:27 p.m., November 11, 2008  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

As I understand it, Simmons moved to England later in his life, and the medals came to be in the possession of a half-sister, who is now auctioning them. Don't quote me on that, though - I'm not privy to the full family workings.

9:53 a.m., November 12, 2008  

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