The Queen's Scarf of Honour
In the last year of her long life, Queen Victoria crocheted eight scarves for presentation to members of her forces fighting in South Africa. Four were earmarked for members of colonial units, with one each going to "the most distinguished private soldier" serving in the forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The other four went to members of the British regular army. The Canadian scarf was awarded to Private R.R. Thompson for his actions in going to the aid of wounded comrades at Paardeberg on 18 and 27 February 1900.
With the passage of time, awareness of the scarf faded from Canadian memory. In 1964 Bombardier Kenneth Richardson, of the Royal Canadian Artillery, located the scarf with Thompson's family in Ireland. It was returned to Canada by Thompson's nephew in 1965, and has been on display at the Canadian War Museum ever since.
A number of misconceptions and legends surround the scarf. For example, some believed it to be the equal of, or even rank above, the Victoria Cross as a decoration. Research has established that the scarf has no relationship to the Victoria Cross and, in fact, has no status as a decoration. Nevertheless, to have received a scarf was a great honour.