Battle of Canal du Nord 27th September - 1 October 1918
The Canal du Nord is a 95 km canal in northern France which was developed to allow the French coal mining companies to compete with foreign mining production and transportation. At the outbreak of war in 1914 canal construction was stopped and during the war there was widespread damage to the canal.
The Battle of Canal du Nord was part of the the Hundred Days offensive and took place on the outskirts of Cambrai between the 27th September and the 1st October 1918.
The Hundred Days offensive brought victory but with huge loss of life. Allied casualties between August and November 1918 were approximately, 700,000 with German losses slightly higher 760,000.
Twelve Victoria Crosses were awarded during the Battle of Canal du Nord :
Acting Lieutenant-Colonel John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort of the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
Captain John MacGregor, 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles.
Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
Lieutenant Graham Thomson Lyall, 102nd (North British Columbia) Battalion, CEF.
Lieutenant Samuel Lewis Honey, 78th Battalion (Winnipeg Grenadiers), CEF.
Lieutenant George Fraser Kerr, 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment), CEF.
Lieutenant Milton Fowler Gregg, Royal Canadian Regiment.
Sergeant William Merrifield, 4th (Central Ontario) Battalion, CEF.
Sergeant Frederick Charles Riggs, 6th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment.
Corporal Thomas Neely, 8th Battalion, The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).
Lance-Corporal Thomas Norman Jackson, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
Private Henry Tandey, 5th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding).
The Victoria Cross is the highest award in the British Honours System. It is awarded for :
... most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy...
It bears the motto : For Valour
Originally the ribbon was dark blue for Royal Navy recipients and crimson (described as 'red' in the Warrants) for the Army. After the formation of the Royal Air Force (1 April 1918) the crimson ribbon (sometimes described as 'claret', 'maroon' or 'dark red') was adopted for all recipients. ( Source: IWM)