By Sam McBride
Many thanks to the folks at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C. for including my presentation and display about the book “The Bravest Canadian” and the life of Capt. Frederic Thornton “Fritz” Peters in their Remembrance Day program.
While at the museum lobby-level exhibition area throughout the museum’s opening hours on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11 I enjoyed conversing with a steady stream of visitors, most of whom were learning about Fritz Peters for the first time.
I also enjoyed meeting and chatting with fellow exhibitors and military history buffs such as Bart Armstrong and Paul Ferguson, both of whom were familiar with the story of Fritz Peters and his rare achievement of multiple medals for valour in both world wars. Bart, who is a member of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, believes Canadians such as Fritz Peters who received the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross with the idea that it was the highest medal the U.S. could award to a non-American, should in fact have qualified for the Congressional Medal of Honor, as it had been awarded to non-Americans on other occasions. He thinks the possibility exists that Fritz might retroactively receive the Medal of Honor. What an incredible turn of events that would be!
Paul Ferguson’s presentation on visits to battlefields in Belgium, France and Turkey got me extremely interested in visiting Ypres where Fritz’s brothers Private John Francklyn Peters and Lieut. Gerald Hamilton Peters died in action and their cousin Second Lieut. Eric Skeffington Poole was executed for desertion.
Other Remembrance Day program exhibitors included the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS), a wonderful organization dedicated to developing genealogical research expertise among its members, and preserving and making records available for family tree purposes. I have a sentimental attachment to the VGS because my first cousin (once removed) Judge R. Blake Allan (1916-2009) was extremely active in the VGS, serving on the group’s executive in several capacities, doing several one-name studies, and producing family trees for several fellow judges who were prominent in Victoria history. It was Blake who inspired me in the early 1990s to take up genealogy as a hobby.
While at the museum I enjoyed viewing two first-rate exhibitions upstairs in the main area of the museum. If you have a chance, be sure to take in “The Navy – A Century in Art”, an exhibition on loan from the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa that will be at the Royal B.C. Museum until Jan. 27, 2013; and “For Valour: The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s):100 Years of Service in Peace and War”, on show until Dec. 2, 2012.
Once again, my heartiest thanks to Janet MacDonald, Learning and the Visitor Experience Manager, and other museum staff for the opportunity and experience.