Truro veteran in rare company: Military Medal a ‘high honour’

Published on May 5, 2017

Walter Perrin, 95, of Truro, a veteran of the Second World War, is seen explaining his board of medals, including the Millitary Medal, at far left, which was awarded to him in June, 1945 by King George VI at Buckingham Palace, for bravery in action.

©Harry Sullivan - Truro Daily News

TRURO, N.S. – In a recent story regarding the experiences of Truro veteran Walter Perrin during the Second World War, it was noted  he had received a medal from King George VI at Buckingham Palace in June, 1945.

What the original story did not disclose was what the medal is all about.

“It’s very, very rare,” said Ron Trowsdale, a member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in Truro and immediate past-president of the Nova Scotia Nunavut Command, of what is known as the Military Medal.

The medal is awarded for brave action during battle and is “one of the highest (military) medals that anyone can receive ... almost next to the Victoria Cross,” Trowsdale said. “It’s that high of an honour. That’s why he received it at Buckingham Palace.”

According to Wikipedia, the Military Medal was established March 25, 1916, for members of British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces for non-commissioned officers, and was ranked equivalent to the Military Cross (MC), which was awarded to commissioned officers.

Recipients of the Military Medal, such as Perrin, are entitled to use the letters “MM" after their names.

Perrin, 95, served on the front lines in Europe as tank commander with the 4th Gaspe, Anti Tank Regiment, 5th Division. He was wounded in action in Italy but after being hospitalized for about a month, he returned to action until the war’s end in Europe.

Here is the actual citation that Perrin received as published by the Canada Gazette on April 28, 1945.

PERRIN, Walter Alvin, Sergeant (F.78690) - Military Medal – RCA.                                                                                                         

Throughout the period of operations of 4 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment during the past year Sergeant Perrin has commanded his three-inch M-10 self-propelled gun and detachment with exceptional courage and leadership. During the Liri Valley battle in May 1944, Sergeant Perrin manoeuvred (sic) his gun, under heavy enemy shell fire, into a position from which he destroyed an enemy Mark IV tank and a self-propelled gun, both of which were holding up the advance in this area. Again, immediately following the capture of Coriano, when his troop was supporting a unit of 4 British Infantry Division, this Non-Commissioned Officer showed courage and leadership of a high order. On one occasion, while leading his gun on foot under heavy enemy mortar fire, two mortar bombs fell into the fighting compartment and set the gun on fire. After an unsuccessful attempt to save his detachment and gun, he took over command of a nearby three-inch M-10 gun whose detachment commander had been killed and successfully caused the withdrawal of an enemy self-propelled gun which was delaying the advance. The initiative and devotion to duty of Sergeant Perrin have been a great source of encouragement and inspiration to his whole troop.