Award citations for members of the 17th Field Regiment
This page contains all known military awards made to members of the
17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, with the exception
of mentions in despatches.
The latter are not reported with citations, nor are the specific units
of the recipients noted.
The source of the information on this page is the compact disk entitled
“Courage & Service” and subtitled
“Second World War Awards to Canadians”
published by Service Publications
(www.servicepub.com) of Ottawa.
The citations are in alphabetical order by the surname
of the recipient.
Each citation is preceded by the complete name of the soldier with the
surname first in bold and the service number if available.
The rank is then given followed by the name of the award.
On the 21st May 1944, the gun position of
“E” Troop, 17th Canadian Field Regiment, Royal Canadian
Artillery, situated midway between Pontecorvo and Acquino, was being
subjected to very heavy shelling by the enemy.
At one time several
shells landed at once in the vicinity of Lieutenant Archibald, one of
which buried him and another killed three men, mortally wounded a
fourth, and seriously wounded four others.
This officer immediately extricated himself from
the debris and despite the continuous shelling, organized the
evacuation of the wounded and personally pulled out the ammunition
from a burning trailer, thus preventing another explosion
and further loss of life.
Although suffering from severe burns,
Lieutenant Archibald realized that the regiment was taking an
essential part in the divisional artillery program and that it was
necessary, therefore, for every possible gun to be in action in order
to obtain the desired fire effect.
Disregarding his personal safety
entirely, he reorganized his troop and with great initiative and
determination caused his guns to continue firing, despite the
His calmness and confidence combined with his
inspired leadership were of considerable assistance to the results
obtained by the supporting fire of the unit and the subsequent
success of the 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
At Otterloo, during the night 16/17 April 1945,
the enemy attacked and overran 76 Battery Command Post, setting the
building on fire and knocking out the wireless sets and cutting off
line communication with Regimental Headquarters.
Gunner Bouchard, a
driver/mechanic, realizing the serious situation and that word of a
full scale attack must reach the infantry as soon as possible, jumped
into his unarmoured 15-hundredweight vehicle and headed back for the
infantry battalion headquarters, a distance of 1,200 yards.
By this time the enemy were dug in on both sides
of a 400 yard stretch of the road.
Displaying absolute contempt for
the enemy machine gun and rifle fire, inspired only by the thought
that he must get through, he continued down the road.
Sheets of flame
swept both sides of the vehicle as he proceeded on his self-appointed
task and soon it was burning fiercely.
Disregarding the imminent
danger of explosion he continued with his vehicle and on arrival at
battalion headquarters presented the first clear picture of the
This man, by his own personal initiative, complete
devotion to duty and contempt for danger, set an outstanding example
to his comrades and transmitted clear and concise information
essential to the successful defence of Otterloo.
On 7 September 1944, Acting Captain Brown was a
Forward Observation Officer with the Irish Regiment of Canada which
was holding the ridge immediately east of Coriano.
The battalion, and
particularly the most forward companies, were under direct
observation by the enemy holding Coriano Ridge and as a result was
being heavily mortared and shelled.
Captain Brown, in order to gain the necessary
observation to deal with the enemy mortars, occupied an observation
post in a house fully exposed to enemy observation and fire.
From here he began the task of locating and engaging these targets.
During some particularly heavy shelling Captain Brown's observation post was
hit by shells several times and the house collapsed.
This same shelling killed one other Forward Observation Officer in this area
and wounded the battery commander.
Realizing that he was the only
artillery officer remaining to relieve the infantry of its mortaring
and shelling, Captain Brown occupied another exposed house from which
he could see and engage the enemy mortars.
This second house was,
however, soon engaged by the enemy and destroyed.
courage and determination, Captain Brown, knowing that only from a
house could he see the flash of enemy mortars behind the Coriano
Ridge, occupied yet a third one.
This house, too, was engaged by the
enemy and although hit by shells many times, Captain Brown remained
there and successfully stopped the enemy mortaring and the greater
part of the shelling.
The determination and devotion to duty shown by
Captain Brown undoubtedly saved the infantry in this position from
many more casualties. His actions under these trying conditions are
worthy of great praise.
On the 30 April 1945, during the attack of the
Irish Regiment of Canada on Heveskes in Holland, Gunner Fehr was a
wireless operator in an artillery observation post tank when the area
was subjected to heavy fire from enemy guns only 800 yards distant.
It was imperative that these guns must be silenced because they
threatened to engage “C” Company of the Irish Regiment of
Canada which had advanced to the area of Heveskes and was about to attack
Shell splinters were continually hitting the tank
and the first round shot away the aerial rod.
Disregarding the heavy
artillery and small arms fire and in full view of the enemy, Gunner
Fehr climbed on top of the tank and replaced the aerial.
In order to get better observation the Troop Commander was obliged
to leave his tank.
Shortly after leaving the tank his remote control cable was
Despite the fact that the tank had already received three
direct hits and shell splinters continued to hit the tank, Gunner
Fehr fearlessly stood up in the hatch in order to receive fire orders
from his Troop Commander and gallantly continued to man his set until
the enemy guns were successfully neutralized.
Gunner Fehr's courageous devotion to duty under heavy fire ensured that
continuous and accurate supporting fire was provided and his gallant
efforts contributed to the subsequent attainment of the company objective.
Warrant Officer Class I
Member, Order of
the British Empire
On the night of 16/17 April 1945, Regimental
Sergeant-Major Gunter was acting as Regimental Sergeant-Major to 17
Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery.
The regiment, in support of
11 Canadian Infantry Brigade, had deployed in the early evening in
the area of Otterloo, Holland.
As the enemy had not been completely
cleared of the vicinity, all units were required to take active
measures for their own local defence.
At the regimental headquarters,
this responsibility fell to Sergeant-Major Gunter.
At about midnight
warning was received that enemy troops were detected infiltrating
through the gun position and by 0005 hours 17 April 1945, they had
reached the immediate area of the regimental headquarters.
battery personnel were heavily involved with protecting their guns,
this Warrant Officer coordinated and deployed his own men at the
In addition he organized a system of runners to
maintain contact with the batteries as radio and telephone
communications were partly disrupted and undependable.
At the same
time he arranged and supervised the collection of enemy prisoners
captured by the batteries as well as our own wounded. Sergeant-Major
Gunter's control of the situation at regimental headquarters, his
calmness of manner and disregard for his own personal safety were in
keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Canadian Artillery,
and were instrumental in preventing the enemy from overrunning
On the night of 16/17 April 1945 at Otterloo when
the enemy attempted to break through the town and rejoin his main
forces, this Non-Commissioned Officer was in command of his gun
detachment in 60 Battery.
This battery was sited in rear of the other
two and during the early stages of the attack, although subjected to
intense mortaring and machine gun fire, did not have the enemy
actually on the gun position, and as a result was able to maintain a
terrific concentration of fire to assist the other two batteries who
were heavily engaged in fighting the enemy.
While 60 Battery guns were still firing the enemy
did reach his position.
With contempt for the mortar bombs and
machine gun bullets which were landing all over the position,
Sergeant Knight, realizing his gun must continue firing, shot the
first enemy to approach his gun.
Then a second German appeared and as
this Non-Commissioned Officer attempted to deal similarly with him,
his weapon jammed.
Again with no thought of personal consequences and
displaying valour and a sense of duty far beyond the normal call,
Sergeant Knight disposed of the next German with his bare hands.
While all this was going on he still continued to pass fire orders to
his gun, which remained in action the whole time.
His courage and
coolness in a situation which seldom confronts the gunners kept his
detachment on the gun and continued to produce the essential fire
required by the other batteries.
Later on, “tank alert” was ordered when
information was received that tanks were entering the town from the
Sergeant Knight, again with utter contempt for the mortars and
machine guns, moved his gun up into the town to a position where he
could cover the main cross-roads, so that he could engage any tanks
which might threaten the battery position.
During the whole
engagement this Non-Commissioned Officer's conduct was outstanding.
His cool, stout-hearted steadiness and courage, the example he set
for his detachment and the rest of the unit undoubtedly kept the
remainder of his battery in action until the attack was successfully repulsed.
Throughout the battle of the Liri Valley in May
1944 and again during the Gothic Line actions in August 1944, Gunner
Marchuk displayed courage and devotion to duty of a high order.
On 24 May 1944, this soldier was driver of a vehicle which had gone
forward to reconnoitre a new gun position.
The group of which he was a part was subjected to heavy mortar, shell
and small arms fire but despite the fact that his vehicle was hit by
shell fragments, Gunner Marchuk carried on with his duties
The example he set was a great encouragement to all ranks present and
no delay occurred in preparing the new gun position for occupation.
During the night 24-25 August 1944 the regimental gun position near
Montemaggiore was heavily shelled, killing the commanding officer and
seriously wounding two signallers.
Disregarding the continuous close shelling, Gunner Marchuk immediately
rendered first aid.
Having noted that the Commanding Officer was dead and that one of the
wounded men was beyond help, he skilfully applied shell dressings
to the second wounded signaller.
Then the road to the dressing station was found to be blocked by vehicles
damaged by the shelling.
Gunner Marchuk organized a carrying party and led it with the wounded
man to the dressing station.
His courageous action undoubtedly not only saved this man's life but
gave great encouragement and inspiration to his comrades.
The work of this Gunner Driver had at all times been
outstanding and his initiative and courage under enemy fire are
deserving of the highest praise.
Officer of the Order
with Swords (Holland)
Captain Matthews has served with the 17 Canadian
Field Regiment since 1940 as Quartermaster.
Since April 1945, Captain
Matthews has carried out his duties of Quartermaster with untiring
devotion to duty.
The very large quantities of ammunition required
for the attack on Arnhem, 1 April 1945, was quickly delivered under
Captain Matthews' supervision in spite of heavy traffic problems and
change of gun positions.
Subsequently, during the rapid advance from
Arnhem to Hardwewijk, 15 April to 19 April 1945, Captain Matthews
spent long hours in personally getting supplies and ammunition up to
the fast moving gunners.
During the attacks on Delfzijl, 1 May 1945,
the supply lines were again stretched to many miles but Captain
Matthews, showing great skill from long experience, carried supplies
forward to the fighting troops without delay.
For his actions in Holland Captain Matthews is
highly commended for his skilful work in carrying out the many
diversified duties behind the lines.
All his efforts were
concentrated in making every man and officer as comfortable as
possible under adverse circumstances by supplying food, clothing and
weapons of war at the right time and right place.
faithfulness in doing his work well has gained the unwavering respect
of all ranks.
On 30 April 1945, Captain Pyper was the Forward
Observation Officer with “C” Company of the Irish Regiment
of Canada who had consolidated southeast of Heveskes, Holland.
For approximately four hours during the afternoon the area was subjected
to very heavy enemy fire from nine 40-millimetre flak guns.
Despite the shelling, Captain Pyper continued to direct his artillery fire on
to enemy targets until his observation tank, which had received four
direct hits, burst into flames.
Captain Pyper managed to escape from
the burning tank and crawled into an adjacent barn and established a
new observation post.
From this position he carried on with
supporting artillery fire.
The barn received several hits during the
remainder of the afternoon but Captain Pyper, with complete disregard
for the intense fire, skilfully directed artillery fire on to the
enemy guns and succeeded in knocking them out of action.
On 1 May 1945 Captain Pyper was with “C”
Company in the town of Heveskes when his observation post was hit
and his operator killed and the two remaining members of the party
Unable to get replacements immediately, Captain Pyper
carried on alone.
He remained at his post for six hours under heavy
fire, operating the wireless set, directing artillery fire on targets
and maintaining liaisons with the forward company, a task normally
carried out by four men.
Captain Pyper's courageous devotion to duty
and initiative were an outstanding example to all ranks of
By his gallant conduct and provision of
effective artillery support, Captain Pyper inspired the company to
carry out its task.
For the past six months Lieutenant-Colonel Rankin
has commanded 17 Canadian Field Regiment with distinction.
During March and April operations in Holland he was outstanding in devotion
He acted as representative to Commander, Royal Canadian
Artillery at infantry brigade headquarters throughout and deployed
the guns with unusually sound foresight.
These fluid actions demanded
frequent and rapid movement of batteries over wide areas and it was
due entirely to the unceasing efforts of this officer that the
regiment was able to provide continuous effective fire support for
The successful accomplishment of the various
complicated moves during this period is exemplary of the highest
state of efficiency of the regiment.
Lieutenant-Colonel Rankin has
maintained his regiment at a high standard of discipline and training
which was displayed when his men repelled a savage and concentrated
attack by eight enemy infantry on the regimental gun position near
Otterloo on the night of 17 April 1945.
During the five day battle
for Delfzijl, commencing 21 April 1945, this officer was responsible
for fire control of two field regiments, two heavy anti-aircraft
batteries, one heavy artillery battery and one armoured regiment,
each calibre of gun being required to bring fire to bear from time to
time over a frontage of 20,000 yards.
By maintaining close personal
liaison with forward observation posts and forward troops
Lieutenant-Colonel Rankin secured up to date information of the
As a result of these visits, often under heavy
fire, he was able to organize and put into operation a flexible fire
plan which ensured immediate and effective artillery support
throughout the action, culminating, in the final phase, in a
concentrated effort of his entire resources on the final objective.
Throughout his period of command, Lieutenant-Colonel Rankin has
displayed initiative and aggressiveness and his regiment, as a result
of its training and fighting spirit, has brought honour to the Corps
of Artillery and 5 Canadian Armoured Division.
On the night of 16-17 April 1945 “F”
Troop of the 17 Canadian Field Regiment deployed 300 yards north of
the village of Otterloo.
Lieutenant Ross was Gun Position Officer of
About 0030 hours 17 April 1945 the enemy
attacked the town in an effort to break through to rejoin his main
Under cover of a heavy wood, the enemy succeeded in getting
into the troop command post.
Appreciating that he could do nothing
for his troop from an enemy occupied house, Lieutenant Ross
successfully covered his command post staff while they got out of the
house and on to the gun position, where they dug in.
The gun position
was being heavily mortared and soon was subjected to medium machine
gun fire from both flanks as well as the front.
In spite of this
concentration of fire, Lieutenant Ross went to each gun detachment in
turn to issue clear and concise orders that the position would be
held and that every round of small arms ammunition would be used only
for sure hit.
As a result, when the enemy arrived in strength, only
visible targets were engaged, that is, at about four yards.
troop was completely surrounded and cut off, and it was assumed that
all ranks had been either killed or captured.
But such was far from true.
This officer with his troop, for six and one-half long, hectic
hours, beat off attack after attack and defended the guns
successfully until after first light when assistance arrived to find
the men cleaning the guns and having breakfast.
During the night
Lieutenant Ross made two trips across 300 yards of open country swept
by machine gun fire to contact the nearest infantry position in an
endeavour to get a message to his Battery Commander by Battalion
Headquarters for additional fire support.
By his quick appreciation of the situation,
excellent command and rapid organization of the troop position for
defence, this gallant officer enabled the position to be held without
the loss of a single gun.
As a result of this determined stand the
organized attack on the town through the troop position failed.
Bombardier Smith joined 17 Canadian Field
Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, 27 July 1940 and has served
throughout the campaigns of Italy and Holland with untiring devotion
During his time in the ranks Bombardier Smith was a popular,
cheerful individual who had an outstanding knack in leading men in
the various endeavours during the long months of training in England.
Upon becoming a Non-Commissioned Officer his gun detachment followed
his leadership with great devotion and he in turn always made sure
that the men under his command were the best equipped, best trained
Gunners in the regiment.
At Arnhem, 16 April 1945, when the regiment
was ordered to deploy in a certain area, the enemy started to shell
Bombardier Smith's battery when it was going into action. Showing
utter contempt for the enemy shells, Bombardier Smith urged his
detachment to such swift action that his gun was in position and
firing long before the other guns in his troop.
By this action it was
possible to quickly register a very important target of twenty enemy
vehicles which were engaged and many destroyed.
During an enemy
attack on Otterloo around 0430 hours, 17 April 1945, Bombardier Smith
was commanding his gun detachment which was deployed in an open field
150 yards from a wood.
This wood provided good cover for the enemy
who soon engaged the area with persistent bursts from machine guns.
Bombardier Smith, realizing that a determined attack would soon be
made by the enemy, crawled back to the troop command post, a distance
of 100 yards, and asked permission to engage the enemy in the woods
over open sights.
Permission was granted and he and his detachment,
assisted by the light from burning buildings, fired at the enemy
using high explosive shell and a time fuze with a setting of ten
seconds which is the minimum safe setting.
The first rounds burst
behind the enemy so Bombardier Smith, without thought of the possible
serious consequence, immediately ordered the fuzes to be set at two
seconds time of flight and continued to fire until the enemy were
forced to withdraw.
Throughout this period the detachment were
subjected to continuous machine gun and rifle fire.
Smith's gallant action and his absolute control of the gun crew a
coordinated enemy attack was prevented, thus enabling the guns of his
battery to continue firing.
Lieutenant Stone is Command Post Officer in 76
Canadian Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, and has been
through the campaigns in Italy and Holland with 17 Canadian Field
Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery.
During the advance on Lake
Comaccio in January 1945, Lieutenant Stone was acting as Gun Position
Officer when due to heavy rains the dug in Command Post was flooded
with water and the staff was forced to work from a vehicle.
During this period the gun position was subjected to heavy shelling but
showing great devotion to duty Lieutenant Stone continued working in
his vehicle and kept the guns firing.
So close had been the shell
splinters that many holes were counted in the tarpaulin of the
vehicle where splinters had penetrated.
On the night of 16/17 April
1945, 17 Canadian Field Regiment was deployed 300 yards north of the
village of Otterloo on the main axis of 5 Canadian Armoured Division.
At 0030 hours 17 April 1945, the enemy attacked with 800 men on a
brigade front which took in the area of Lieutenant Stone's battery.
In spite of constant machine gun fire and mortar bombs falling in the
area of the Command Post, this officer personally manned the wireless
to Regimental Headquarters, passing back valuable information as it
was relayed from the troop positions.
The battery deployed on his
right suddenly called for supporting artillery fire which Lieutenant
Stone answered by engaging the enemy with fire from the third
In order to be effective it had to fall within 100 yards of
his own Command Post but without considering the danger, he brought
down this fire with telling effect.
Lieutenant Stone did not withdraw
from his post until the enemy entered his Command Post and the
wireless was knocked out of action.
Not to be outdone, Lieutenant
Stone obtained another wireless set, established a new Command Post
and with a small group of men and small arms defended the position
until an opportunity was afforded to rejoin Regimental Headquarters.
Lieutenant Stone's coolness and absolute devotion to duty was an
inspiring example to all ranks and the determination and gallant
efforts displayed in fighting under the worst possible conditions is
worthy of the highest praise.
On 17 January 1944, 11 Canadian Infantry Brigade
put in an attack on a strongly held German position in front of
Ortona where an observation post had been established for the
Commanding Officer of the Cape Breton Highlanders and the Officer
Commanding 37 Battery, 17 Field Regiment, the Royal Canadian
During the early stages of the battle both the observation
post telephone lines and the infantry telephone lines were cut by
enemy mortar and shell fire, while at the same time wireless
communication was unsatisfactory.
Gunner Turner, who as Battery
Signaller realized that communications had failed, on his own
initiative went forward in full view of the enemy and, under intense
mortar, shell and machine gun fire, re-established communications
between the observation post and brigade headquarters.
battle this soldier continued, at great personal danger, to maintain
the line communication which was so essential to the successful
conduct of the battle.
It was through the courage, initiative and
determination of Gunner Turner in the face of fierce enemy fire, that
the command and control of the battalion with which the observation
post was working was able to continue throughout the battle and thus
carry out its allotted task.
During the ensuing weeks while the
regiment was in the line, this soldier continued to show a devotion
to duty which compared favourably with that already mentioned.
Opposed to harassing fire, working long hours and under continuous
strain, this soldier showed an ever-increasing spirit of
determination to ensure that communications were maintained.
Never faltering in his duty he has set a standard worthy
of high recognition.
This officer was appointed to the Canadian Army
(Active) on 10 July 1940 and proceeded overseas on 9 November 1941.
While serving with the 17 Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery,
he was severely injured, being permanently disfigured and partially
In spite of these handicaps Major Wood remained overseas and
as a result of his outstanding efforts is now a Chief Instructor, the
Royal Canadian Artillery.
The keenness and efficiency of this officer
have been a factor in raising the standard of artillery reinforcements.
NOTE: On 26 September 1943 Colonel W.A. Townsley,
Commanding Officer, 1 Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit,
recommended Acting Major Wood for the Canada Medal (an award
subsequently issued to nobody).
The text adds to our knowledge of his career.
This officer was born in Kincaid, Saskatchewan in 1915.
After receiving a standard education he qualified as a school
teacher 1st Class and was so employed until enlistment in July 1940.
Proceeding overseas in the rank of Captain, November 1941, he
followed through various courses and training in the 17 Field
Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, earning for himself a record of
industry and efficiency.
In May 1942 Major Wood, while on training,
met with a serious accident resulting in head injuries, partial loss
of sight and disfigurement.
In hospital he underwent consequent
severe operations and on returning to duty became a member of the
Instructional Staff of 1 Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit, where
after command of a Training Battery he was made Chief Instructor in
the rank of Major.
Although permanently injured and disfigured, this
officer has never relaxed in his training or duty.
His drive and
initiative have placed him in his present responsible post in spite
of what he has undergone.