When Ed Arndt from the Agassiz Legion met up with The Observer it was about a mysterious pair of medals that had been found by RCMP under a local bridge.
“These medals are extraordinary,” he said.
The medals, weren’t just any medals, they were the medals of a war hero, dating back to the First and Second World Wars.
So, what were they doing abandoned and washed up under a bridge? How did they get here, and who did they belong to?
“Cst. Shawn Crampton recovered the medals under the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge — because I’m a detention guard over at the RCMP part-time I had a chance to look at them. They put them out on Facebook, there were pictures in all the clubs around town to see if anybody knew them, and Crampton exhausted a search to find out who they belonged to with the time they had, and so I begged Staff. Sgt. Rennie for guardianship,” said Agassiz Legion president, Gary Enright.
According to Enright, when something like this happens, the medals usually go back to Veterans Affairs, where most likely they would be forgotten.
The medals also bear the mark of the oak leaf which is of great significance.
“You can see on the four miniatures where the oak leaf was, and at some point it was lost,” said Legion honours and awards member, Tom Browning. “The oak leaf means that he was mentioned in dispatches for something he did that was over and above the call of duty — we don’t know that was, but what caught my attention was the O.B.E (which stands for Officer of Order British Empire.) How can someone who was awarded the O.B.E. end up with his medals in a ditch under a bridge,” he said.
After a careful search into the honours and awards section of Veterans Affairs Canada by the legionnaires it was discovered that the unique and authentic medals were only distributed during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. In fact, the specialty of these medals, was so distinct that they were no longer distributed by the Government of Canada as of 2009.
It was determined that the medals were granted for bravery and were issued only by the The United Kingdom, thus, it was determined they were irreplaceable and incredibly valuable.
With some further digging and through the appropriate channels they discovered that the medals belonged to a Captain Kenneth A. Greene, who was born on April 16, 1888, and was once a High Commissioner to Australia for Canada, as well as Consul-General to New York in the early 1950s.
The four medals include an O.B.E Medal 1914-1918, a WW1 Medal, a WW1 Victory Medal, and a King George VI Coronation Medal.
It is known that he was married and had a daughter named Margaret Patricia, through an article that was printed in the Dec. 9 1947 edition of the Ottawa Journal. The article reads…
Delight was expressed this morning to The Journal by the Australian High Commissioner to Canada, Francis, M. Forde, at reports received about Canada’s New High Commissioner to Australia, Kenneth A. Greene.
Recently, the city of Sydney tendered a reception in his honor and Australians as well as foreign diplomats among the guests, heard the Canadian High Commissioner speak of the close friendship between Canada and Australia.
Speaking of other occasions when Canada’s representative at Canberra, who is making his debut in diplomatic life, had given public addresses, Mr. Forde described himself as “having the happy knack of saying something constructive and, at the same time interesting.”
“When Kenneth Greene was appointed High Commissioner for Canada, I knew that he would be an outstanding success and he would be ably assisted by a charming wife and delightful 18 year old daughter, Patsy. Since, his arrival in Australia, it is very evident to me from reports I have received that has made a host of friends.”
In letters to him, all the good things the Australian High Commissioner had said about Australia “ have been borne out by the experience of the Greene family,” Mr. Forde remarked.
A marked similarity between of the people of Australia and his own countrymen had been noted by Mr. Greene and this was included in recent letters.
“I know that Mr. and Mrs. Greene and their daughter are the kind of people who are respected, admired and appreciated by the countrymen,” Mr. Forde said.
Greene was undoubtedly a very distinguished Canadian. Aside from his post as High Commissioner to Australia, Greene was also made Consul-General to New York, which is also a high diplomatic posting. Here is an excerpt taken from the introduction of his speech called “Representation Abroad” Canadian Consul-General, New York, N.Y. Thursday, April 10th, 1952: Members and Guests of The Empire Club of Canada: We are to hear an address today by Mr. Kenneth Alfred Greene, Her Majesty’s Canadian Consul-General in New York. A native of Ottawa, after service overseas with the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Mr. Greene entered the General Insurance business in that city in 1919. He has held many positions of importance including those of Governor of Carleton College, President of the Rideau Club and President of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa. For outstanding work in the national service during the Second World War Mr. Greene was awarded an O.B.E. in 1946. The following year he assumed his first Diplomatic post, that of Canadian High Commissioner to Australia. Just over two years ago he entered upon his present duties as successor to Hugh Scully in New York. By the very nature of their work we seldom have an opportunity to hear an address by one of our own distinguished diplomats.
Greene also had a son named Kenneth Ainslie Greene who died in 1944, so he was quite young when he passed, but his daughter, Margaret Patricia (Patsy) Green, went to University in Boston, and that is where the trail stops according to Browning.
“If we could find a claimant to the medals we would be overjoyed,” said Browning. “That’s the ultimate aim, and also to bring attention to the fact that here’s a man who was a great Canadian, and his medals were cast under a bridge.”
Anyone with information regarding the medals, or their rightful ownership is urged to contact Ed Arndt at the Agassiz Legion at 604-796-2332.