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Canada’s Recipients of the Victoria Cross


Ron McGuire, NE Ontario Regional Rep.

For over 35 years I have been part of a group endeavouring to have postage stamps issued for Canada’s Victoria Cross winners.  My most meaningful contribution was in the late 1980’s when I was the Historian for the Canada Post postage stamp programme.  My proposal was accepted to issue a stamp for two Victoria Cross winners.  However, when the stamps were issued in 1994 there was only one for Air Marshall Billy Bishop, the second was for Mary Travers, a Quebec singer-songwriter.  Canadian stamps are often issued in joined pairs and depict people with a common connection.  The only thing common to Bishop and Travers is they were both born in 1894.

My rationale was that one stamp be for Bishop, a First World War airman, who also did significant work during the Second World War.  The second stamp was to feature Sgt. Major John Osborn, the first to receive the VC in the Second World War, a soldier and veteran of the Royal Navy in the First War.  Thus both major wars and the three services would be represented.  Makes sense?  I thought so!  But not to Canada Post officials?

Now for the good news.  On 21 Oct 2004 a 16 stamp panel 32 mm x 48 mm was issued to recognize all 94 Canadian recipients of the VC.  As good an example as you will find of the old saying “better late than never”!