Canadian War Museum Acquires Passchendaele Victoria Cross

December 5, 2017


For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario, December 5, 2017 — The Canadian War Museum is honoured to announce its acquisition of a Victoria Cross awarded to a Canadian soldier for his exceptional bravery in one of the most epic and tragic battles of the First World War.

The medal — the highest award for military valour — was awarded in 1917 to Corporal Colin Fraser Barron of the Canadian Expeditionary Force for his heroism at Passchendaele, in Belgium. Corporal (later Sergeant) Barron was recognized for his successful single-handed attack on a cluster of three enemy machine guns.

“This medal is a testament to one soldier’s courage and a symbol of the service and sacrifice of all Canadian soldiers who fought on the Western Front a century ago,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “Its acquisition is especially meaningful this year as we commemorate the centenary of Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge and other iconic battles of the First World War.”

With this acquisition, the War Museum now holds five of the nine Victoria Crosses awarded to Canadians for their bravery at Passchendaele — a battle that exemplifies the carnage and misery of warfare on the Western Front, as well as the grit and perseverance of the Canadian Corps. Fighting on a ruined landscape of mud and water-filled shell craters, the Canadians captured their objective but suffered terrible losses in the process, with some 16,000 killed or wounded.

Sergeant Barron was born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1910. Also a veteran of the Second World War, he died in 1958 in Toronto. The War Museum purchased his complete medal set through Spink & Son Ltd., an auction house based in London, England. The purchase was made possible by the generous support of Leslie Barron Kerr, Corporal Barron’s great-granddaughter and by the donor-supported National Collection Fund, which helps the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum acquire nationally-significant artifacts. The Barron Victoria Cross Medal Set is the 37th Victoria Cross Medal Set to be acquired by the Canadian War Museum.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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Media contacts:
Yasmine Mingay
Director, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer, Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607