Monday, April 23, 2012
War and Politics
At the age of 16, Charles entered the Royal Military College of Canada and graduated with honors. In 1929, he was commissioned into the militia regiment Seaforth Highlanders of Canada but he did put his education to use and read for the bar. In 1932, he became a barrister and practiced law in Vancouver until the outbreak of World War II.
Merritt was a brave man. It was at Green Beach that he made himself a legend. Canada's attempts to take a narrow bridge had been in vain, as the Germans targeted the bridge with machine and mortar fire. Merrit led the next rush over the structure littered with bodies. He waved his steel helmet and shouted "Come on over! There's nothing to it!"
The South Saskatchewan regiment left 84 dead on Green Beach and 89 more, including a twice-wounded Merritt, were captured by the enemy.
Merritt was sent to a war camp in Bavaria where he and 64 others escaped through a tunnel. Unfortunately, they were captured not long after and following a two week stint in solitary confinement Merritt was transferred to another camp.
When speaking of his time as a prisoner war, Merritt was dismissive. He referred to it as a time of forced idleness and that there was nothing virtuous about it.
When he returned from Ottawa, Merritt went back into his law practice. He was also appointed honorary Colonel of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in 1951.
Merritt died at the age of 91 on July 12, 2000.
The Lt-Col Merritt, V.C., medal set, which consists of the Victoria Cross, the 1939–45 Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas and Dieppe clasps, the British War Medal 1939–45 with Mentioned in Despatches (MID), the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953, the Canadian Centennial Medal 1967, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977, the Canada 125th Anniversary Medal and the Effiency Decoration with Canada Bar, was donated to the Canadian War Museum.
Wikipedia for the above information.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Charles Merritt, Seaforth Highlanders, Victoria Cross, war, British Columbia