John Osborn V. C. Unit #1

300-1395 Ellice Ave.

Winnipeg MB R3G 3P2

email anaf1@shaw.ca

Office (204) 783-4396

Club Room (204) 775-7642

Canteen (204) 786-0872

 

ARMY NAVY AIR FORCE VETERANS IN CANADA

ANAVETS

The Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada is Canada's oldest veterans' association. Although the precise start-date is obscured by time, it is known that a charter was given in 1840 by Queen Victoria to create a unit in Montreal. It is felt that units existed well before that time, perhaps as early as the Conquest of New France in the seventeen hundreds.

The Association derives its name from those remnants of British and French colonial regiments which were left in Canada when their regiments returned to Britain or France following their tours of duty protecting the colonies. These men banded together to exchange information on service benefits available to them and to fraternize. They called themselves "The Army Veterans in Canada" so that when they were in Britain they could denote their location as opposed to the Army Veterans in Australia or South-Africa. The reference to Canada became an integral part of the Association's title, as incorporated by the Government of Canada in 1917.

Following the War of 1812 sailors from the British Navy which patrolled the Great Lakes and the eastern seaboard, who remained in Canada, joined the Army Veterans in Canada and the title was changed to "The Army and Navy Veterans in Canada".

The association was also composed of volunteers who answered the call of the Canadian Government for active service during the Fenian Raids of 1860, 1870 and 1871, the Red River Expedition of 1870, and the North-West Rebellion of 1885.

A cairn was raised in 1902 by the Toronto Army and Navy Veterans Association to commemorate the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, John Graves Simcoe, founder of York (now Toronto) and to mark the Military Burying Grounds (now the Victoria Memorial Gardens) situated in a park at the junction of King St. West and Bathurst St. in Toronto.

In April 1909 at Montreal, Mr. W. W. Marsh of the Army and Navy Veterans Association was one of the founding members of the Last Post Fund.

During and following the Second World War, members of the Air Force were welcomed as members and the official title the "The Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada" was enacted, by an amendment to our Act of Incorporation, by Parliament in 1946. The Association uses the short form ANAVETS to identify itself.

 

SIR William Johnston Tupper

 (1862-1947)

 

George Frederick Carruthers

(1846-1918)

Charles Midwinter

(1851-1939)


William Brown

(1870-1943)

 

A HISTORY OF

John Osborn V. C. Unit No. 1 Winnipeg

As a prelude to this brief narrative of the history of our Unit, it should be pointed out, that prior to becoming an Army and Navy it was Chartered as The Canadian Veterans Association in the late 1800s.
The first Charter known to exist as an Army and Navy was issued by the Province of Manitoba to, "His Majesty's Army, Navy and Colonial Forces Veterans Association of Winnipeg, dated, April '25th, 1901. The Charter Members Listed at that were: William Brown, Dudley Smith, J. R. Fairburn, Joseph H. Kennedy, George Davis, Thomas McCaffrey, Davis Little, J. Tascon, Charles Carr and Samuel Doran. Records do not give the name of the President at this time, but most of these Charter Members named served prominently with our Unit after it received it's present Charter in 1915, and we can therefore only come to the conclusion that this was the forerunner of our Unit as it exists today. The aforementioned Charter was issued the 22nd, day of January, 1915. Records show, that Sir Hugh John McDonald served as President in 1911 and that Chas Midwinter served in that capacity in 1912 and 1913 with Lt. Col. G. F. Carruthers holding the office from 1914 - 1917. It was during the latter term of office that he and his advisors at that time recognized 2the advantages of having a Dominion Body and. through their efforts our Dominion Command was incorporated September 20th., 1917.
let should be noted that one of the first acts of the new Dominion Command was to issue a Dominion Charter to the Winnipeg Unit as Unit # 4 at that time, which 'was later changed to Unit # 1. At that time Col. Carruthers acted as temporary President, with E. Lowe as Secretary until the first Dominion Convention held in Winnipeg, July 1st, 1918 at which time W. J. Tupper, later Sir. W. J. Tupper, was elected Dominion President and Crystal Irving of our Unit was elected Dominion Secretary

It was also through the efforts of Winnipeg Unit # 1 that the Manitoba Provincial
Command came into being. This was formed on June 16th 1924. under the Presidency of Charles
J. Sharp from Portage La Prairie MB Unit # 13.

13 Units in the Command were Winnipeg, Fort Garry, Keewatin, Minnedosa, Oak River, Portage La Prairie, Hamiota, Russell, Selkirk, Birch River, Alexander and Fort William. The 13th Unit was the new Provincial Command.
In 1946 the Unit Charter was amended to include the Air Force and be known as The Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans in Canada. Through the years the South African Company was recognized as an integral part of our unit. In 1920 The Ladies Auxiliary of # 1 was formed and their story is still carries on.
Winnipeg Unit # 1 takes an active part in all facets of the Associations work and Social Activities. It is also the current sponsor of, The Winnipeg Grenadier Cadet Corps. In addition to taking an active part in local community affairs. It always remembers the prime objects of it s existence. the care of the Veteran, fellowship in the community. Shoulder to Shoulder we will carry on in the tradition of our distinguished comrades and founders.

 

PRESIDENT YEAR

Sir Hugh John MacDonald

1911

Charles Midwinter

1912-13

George Frederick Carruthers

1914-17

Sir William Johnston Tupper

1918

Major J. May

1919

A. Hedley Garland

1922

W. J. Le Cappellain

1923-24

A. Banks

1944-45 + 1948-51 + 1954

A. F. Forsyth

1946-48

J. M. Alder

1957-59

J. C. Milton

1959-61

W. B. Ryce

1955 + 1962-63

E. Merrick

1963-66

L. G. Stoddart

1967-68

A. T. Ballingall

1975 + 1989

George A. Todd

1969-74 + 1988-90 + 1997

G. J. Black

1997-98

G. F. McKenzie

1937-38

W. E. Cooke

1939-40

R. Mactavish

1952-53

Tom Whitfield

1999-2010

Peggy Merrick

2010-11

William (Bill) Todd

2011-12

 

 

ADOPTION OF OUR UNIT NAME TO

JOHN OSBORN V. C.

The Winnipeg Unit of the Army and Navy Veterans in Canada originated shortly after the Fenian Raids of 1866 and was more fully organized by one Wm. Brown, commonly known as "Peg Leg" Brown, an ex-navy man who lost a leg. He might also be considered as the first official president of the Winnipeg Unit, having held that position tor several years. In 1866, after the Riel Rebellion, another organization was formed, Known as "The 90 th Veterans Association", and held an annual decoration of the graves of the 1885 Rebellion veterans. As years went on, it widened into "The North-West Field Farce Association", and later still, into "The Imperial Service Medal Association".

The first Charter known to exist as an Army and Navy was issued by the Province of Manitoba to, "His Majesty's Army, Navy and Colonial Forces Veterans Association of Winnipeg, dated April 25th, 1901. The Charter Members Listed at the time were: William Brown, Dudley Smith, J. R. Fairburn, Joseph H. Kennedy, George Davis, and Thomas McCaffry, Davis Little, J. Tascon, Charles Carr and Samual Doran.

Then about 1912, all the existing veterans' associations of Winnipeg amalgamated into a body known as the "Army and Navy Veterans in Canada".

In 1915 the Unit obtained a provincial charter and set out to organize fresh Units throughout Manitoba and neighbouring provinces. The Unit's headquarters at that time were situated at 428 Main Street.

The aforementioned Charter was issued the 22nd day of January, 1915. Records show that Sir Hugh John McDonald served as President in 1911 and that Chas Midwinter served in that capacity in 1912 and 1913 with Lt. Col, G. F. Carruthers holding the office from 1914-1917. It was during the latter term of office that he and his advisors recognized the advantages of having a Dominion Body and through their efforts our Dominion Command was incorporated September 29th, 1917.

It should be noted that one of the first acts of the new Dominion Command was to issue a Dominion Charter to the Winnipeg Unit as Unit No. 4, which was later changed to Unit No. 1 on August 31, 1946. Col. Carruthers acted as temporary President, with E. Lowe as Secretary until the first Dominion Convention in Winnipeg, July 1, 1918 at which time W. J. Tupper, later Sir W. J. Tupper, was elected Dominion President and Crystal Irving of our unit was elected Dominion Secretary.

It was also through the efforts of Winnipeg Unit No. 4 that the Manitoba Provincial Command came into being. it was formed on June 16th, 1924 under the Presidency of Charles J. Sharp from Portage La Prairie Unit N. 13, with 13 Units in the Command. They were: Winnipeg, Fort Garry, Keewatin, Birch River, Alexander and Fort William Presumably the 13th Unit was the new Provincial Command.

In 1946 the Unit Charter was amended to include the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada.

Also, through the years, The South African Company was reorganized as an integral part of our Unit and one member from the Company was automatically a member of the Unit Council. The South African Company is of course now defunct.

In the 1970's the Hong Kong Veterans Association, Manitoba Branch, who had been meeting on a regular basis at the unit, adopted it as its official home. The Canadian Vietnam Veterans also adopted Unit No. 1 as its official home.

Following a unanimous motion by the general membership, the name of the unit was officially changed to John Osborn V. C. Unit No. 1 to honour the memory of the first recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War II.

On September 1 5th, 1990 the official opening of the new unit was held with His Honour, George Johnson, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba along with Captain Jerry Osborn (retired), son of the late John Osborn cutting the ribbon. Captain Osborn brought his father's medals for all to view and The John Osborn citation was unveiled in the foyer.

A picture of the Vietnam memorial wall and the Colours of their organization are also on display in the Unit.

John Osborn V. C. Winnipeg Unit No. 1 takes an active part in all facets of the Association's work and Social Activities. In addition to taking an active part in local community affairs, it always remembers the prime objects of its existence, the care of the Veteran, His/Her Spouse and Dependents. Shoulder-to-Shoulder, we will carry on, in the tradition set by our distinguished Founders and Comrades.

 

 

Company Sergeant-Major J. R. Osborn of “A” Company

The Winnipeg Grenadiers, Jamaica, ca. 1940–1941

 

Born

January 2, 1899
Foulden, Norfolk, England

Died

December 19, 1941 (aged 42)
Hong Kong

Service/branch

Canadian Army

Rank

Company Sergeant Major

Unit

The Winnipeg Grenadiers

Battles/wars

Battle of Hong Kong

Awards

Victoria Cross

John Robert Osborn, VC (January 2, 1899 – December 19, 1941) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was born in Norfolk, England.

At Hong Kong on the morning of 19th December 1941 "A" Company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers to which Company Sergeant-Major Osborn belonged became divided during an attack on Mount Butler, a hill rising steeply above sea level. A part of the Company led by Company Sergeant-Major Osborn captured the hill at the point of the bayonet and held it for three hours when, owing to the superior numbers of the enemy and to fire from an unprotected flank, the position became untenable. Company Sergeant-Major Osborn and a small group covered the withdrawal and when their turn came to fall back, Osborn single-handed engaged the enemy while the remainder successfully rejoined the Company. Company Sergeant-Major Osborn had to run the gauntlet of heavy rifle and machine gun fire. With no consideration for his own safety he assisted and directed stragglers to the new Company position exposing himself to heavy enemy fire to cover their retirement. Whenever danger threatened he was there to encourage his men.

During the afternoon the Company was cut off from the Battalion and completely surrounded by the enemy who were able to approach to within grenade throwing distance of the slight depression which the Company was holding. Several enemy grenades were thrown which Company Sergeant-Major Osborn picked up and threw back. The enemy threw a grenade which landed in a position where it was impossible to pick it up and return it in time. Shouting a warning to his comrades this gallant Warrant Officer threw himself on the grenade which exploded killing him instantly. His self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved the lives of many others.

Company Sergeant-Major Osborn was an inspiring example to all throughout the defence which he assisted so magnificently in maintaining against an overwhelming enemy force for over eight and a half hours and in his death he displayed the highest quality of heroism and self-sacrifice.

 

Ladies Auxiliary, Winnipeg Unit #1

The Ladies Auxiliary of Winnipeg, Unit #1, was granted a Charter on July 8, 1920. It was then called "The Ladies Auxiliary of The Army, Navy Veterans" and was presented on the 25th day of August, 1920. Charter Members were wives of leading citizens of the community who worked unselfishly tor the Auxiliary, the Veterans and their families.

Mrs. E. Wasdell was our first President in 1920, and continued to hold that position until 1949.

In 1950, Winnipeg hosted the Dominion Convention. This was the year of the big flood and much of the City was inundated. Our Ladies worked in all capacities such as filling sand bags, gathering clothing and food for those in need. Our Sister Auxiliaries from all across Canada assisted us.

Our first birthday celebration was held in 1951. Congratulations and gifts were received. We also celebrated our 50th, 60th and 80th Anniversaries.

We also used to visit the old Academy Home for Veterans before our boys were moved to Deer Lodge Hospital, now called Deer Lodge Centre.

Over the years the Auxiliary undertook many projects such as: checkroom duties, dances, afternoon whist, raffles, sale of refreshments Saturday mornings, teas, sale of poppies and family dinners. We also held Tuesday afternoon Bingos with the proceeds going to support our local charities. Early charities were Good Neighbours Club; Knox United Church tor senior’s dinners, domiciliary patients at Deer Lodge. In 1967, we donated funds to furnish a room at the new Grace Hospital and our President was invited to attend the opening ceremonies. For years we entertained domiciliary patients at Deer Lodge every third Tuesday at a Bingo. We paid cash prizes and served home made refreshments each evening. We also paid for bus excursions during the summer months and donated a television, radio etc. for their enjoinment. Our other charities were Children's Hospital Research, Kidney Foundation, Variety Club, Heart and Cancer Foundations, Multiple Sclerosis, CJOB shut-in fund, Lung Association and a room at the new Veterans Home. We assisted the Men re Kiddies Picnic, Kiddies Xmas Parties, New Years Eve dinners, Provincial Board luncheons and Decoration Day service our current charities are Canadian Diabetes, Heart and Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer Society, Children's Hospital Research, Arthritis Society, Manitoba Lung Association, Children's Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Fire Fighters Burn Fund, Salvation Army and Birthday Buddies Inc WE are able to make a donation to the Ladies Auxiliary Command and a generous donation to our Unit on Levee Day each Year.

Things are much simpler today. In the early nineties the Unit started holding Lottery controlled Bingos. The Ladies Auxiliary staffs the canteen and drink concession. We serve sandwiches and hot dogs as well as cakes, chocolate bars, chips, and tea and coffee. Lucrative and less labour intensive. We still assist with the Kiddies Christmas Party, which mainly consist of Grandchildren of Members. We serve food for Unit functions and in some cases supply it; as well as cater for funerals. When the Unit makes a major purchase such as a big screen TV, we cost share with the Jolly Seniors and the Unit.

We take part in Command sporting Events; participate in the Event and in some cases host them.

In 1967, we gave a bursary to the son of a veteran in the Unit, who was studying to be a Doctor. In 1988, strange as it may seem, one of the oldest members in the Auxiliary became a patient of his. On a home visit to her, he recognized some of our girls in a picture on the wall. He had not forgotten our generosity to him.

During our Association years, we honoured members with Life Memberships, gave several certificates of appreciation and had sixteen Presidents. In the early years we were only allowed to serve two years in the same position but in later years we were allowed to serve longer terms of office.

We received our second Charter in 1964 and a third in 1975. (This was when it was presented to the Auxiliaries.) This was when the Ladies Auxiliaries changed their numbers to correspond with that of their Parent Unit.

We have not forgotten those who have answered the final Roll Call. We continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our Parent Unit.

 

The Jolly Seniors

The definition of a social club is" An association of people with similar interests and common purpose who gather and spend time together". This is certainly true of The Jolly Seniors.

The Seniors Club was started shortly after WW 2, by Ernie Campbell and his wife Edna, for the vets to get together in a social setting. They'd have lunch prepared by Edna and a few beverages donated by different brewers in the city. The afternoon was mainly for the single men, but any member of the unit over age 65 was welcome.

After women were allowed in the clubrooms, couples came to the seniors club together and the ladies took turns supplying lunch. Entertainment was provided, usually by Ernie and Edna, and they had many good times.

Over the last decade or so, the Seniors Club has become very supportive of the unit both financially and by attending and supporting the various events in the clubrooms. They help with the Deer Lodge Vet's luncheons and assist with funerals and memorial service receptions by providing baked goods, preparation and serving needs.

To raise funds they hold Meat Draws during the week and run the kitchen in the Bing Hall on Saturday nights. All the work is done by volunteers, and there are not enough words to stress the importance of the jobs they do.

They are an extremely active group and enjoy taking day trips to points of interest, other seniors clubs, and various festivals throughout the Province.

The highlight of their social calendar is the Inter-Unit Visit held the first Friday in October every year. Seniors Clubs from the provincial A.N.A.F. units as well as other seniors clubs are invited. With lunch, great music and dancing, spot dance prizes, draws and door prizes, a great time is had by all.

The Campbell’s certainly would be thrilled by how their little afternoon get-togethers have evolved into a, vital part of the John Osborn V. C. unit.