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Triquet’s Cross: A Study in Military Heroism, by John MacFarlane

Peter J. Williams
Peter J. Williams
Abstract :

Among the sculptures of 14 heroes in Canadian military history, adjacent to the National War Memorial in Ottawa, is one of Paul Triquet, or, more correctly, Brigadier (ret’d) Paul Triquet, VC, CD. As a captain and company commander in the Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) fighting in Italy during the Second World War, he won the Victoria Cross, then, as now, the Commonwealth’s highest award for valour.

While some may be aware of Triquet’s actions at Casa Berardi in late-1943, most will be unaware of his life before and after the events for which he is best known. With the publication of this book, DND historian John MacFarlane has filled a long-standing gap in Canadian military history, and, perhaps more importantly, MacFarlane has the reader come to grips with what it means to have that most un-Canadian of labels, ‘a hero.’ MacFarlane has consulted widely in researching this book, making use of archival material in Canada and interviews with Triquet’s family and comrades, as well as contemporary newspaper articles. The Notes at the end of the book constitute over 60 pages in their own right, and, in many cases, they are extremely detailed, always a marker for good scholarship.

The book is divided into three parts and an epilogue. Part 1 deals with Triquet’s life before winning the VC. Next, and in the longest part of the book, the author considers the role of medals and the media in general, and focuses upon how they impacted Triquet’s life. In Part 3, Triquet’s post-war life is analyzed. In all, this is a somewhat bittersweet story, and, indeed the book could have been entitled “Triquet’s Crosses,” as it delves into subjects such as post-traumatic stress disorder and reintegration into a post-conflict military, issues with continuing relevance for the Canadian Forces (CF) today.

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Triquet’s Cross: A Study in Military Heroism, by John MacFarlane

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:52

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:52

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Volume 11, Number 1, - 2011

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