14 October 2012

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William Metcalf survived the First World War and returned to his native Maine and worked as a motor mechanic for the rest of his life. He died on 8th August 1968 in South Portland and was buried in the Bayside Cemetery, Eastport. At his funeral his casket was covered with the Union Flag of Great Britain and among those in attendance were more than forty members of the Royal Canadian Legion.

The Royal Canadian Legion have now replaced the headstone over William Metcalf's grave to reflect more his award of the Victoria Cross. A service of rededication took place at the Bayside Cemetery on Sunday, 14th October 2012, to commemorate the name of William Metcalf VC MM & Bar.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 15 November 1918 ]. Arras, France, 2 September 1918, No. 22614 Lance-Corporal William Henry Metcalf MM, 16th Bn, Manitoba Regiment ( Canadian Scottish ), Canadian Expeditionary Force.

For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty in attack ( Arras, France ), when, the right flank of the battalion being held up, he realised the situation and rushed forward under intense machine-gun fire to a passing Tank on the left.

With his signal flag he walked in front of the Tank, directing it along the trench in a perfect hail of bullets and bombs. The machine-gun strong points were overcome, very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy, and a very critical situation was relieved. Later, although wounded, he continued to advance until ordered to get into a shell hole and have his wounds dressed.

His valour throughout was of the highest standard.

William Metcalf was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Sandringham on the 26th January 1919.

[ London Gazette, 6 January 1917 ]. For the award of the Military Medal, No. 22614 Acting Lance Corporal William Henry Metcalf, Canadian Infantry Battalion.

No citation.

[ London Gazette, 24 January 1919 ]. For the award of a Bar to the Military Medal, No. 22614 Pte ( Lance Corporal ) William Henry Metcalf, MM, 16th Bn, Canadian Infantry Battalion.

During the attack in front of Amiens on 8th August 1918, this NCO behaved in a most splendid manner in charge of a signal section.

With extraordinary perseverence and judgement he carried a telephone line forward with the first wave and upon arriving at the final objective, established a signal station which he maintained all day under heavy shell fire. He several times traversed the zone of immediate danger to keep his lines in repair.

His fine conduct was responsible for keeping Headquarters in touch with the situation and thus contributing valuable assistance to the success of the action.

In November 1998 the Canadian Scottish Regiment Museum held an exhibition of the Regiment's Victoria Crosses, loaned to the museum by the Canadian War Museum and families of holders. Following an invitation by the museum's curator, the son and grandson of William Metcalf journeyed from Maine, and spent a week in the city during the period of the exhibition. Stanley Metcalf, William's son, was so impressed with the exhibition he decided to present his father's Victoria Cross medal group, along with his scrapbook and other associated items to the Canadian Scottish Museum for permanent safekeeping.

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Medal entitlement of Lance Corporal William Metcalf,
16th Battalion ( Canadian Scottish )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal & Bar
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )


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pain tin Iain Stewart, 14 October 2012