William Henry Metcalf

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William Henry Metcalf
Cpl MetcalfVC.jpg
Born 29 January 1894
Waite, Maine, United States
Died 8 August 1968
South Portland, Maine
Buried at Bayside Cemetery, Eastport, Maine
Allegiance Canadian Red Ensign 1868-1921.svg Canada
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Rank Lance-Corporal
Unit 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), CEF
Battles/wars First World War
Awards Victoria Cross
Military Medal & Bar

William Henry Metcalf VC, MM (29 January 1894 – 8 August 1968) 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. Though born in the United States (Waite, Maine), Metcalf is also considered Canadian since he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914. He is one of only 6 Americans to receive the Victoria Cross.

Metcalf was one of seven Canadians to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on September 2, 1918. The other six Victoria Cross recipients were Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney, John Francis Young, Cyrus Wesley Peck, Walter Leigh Rayfield, Bellenden Hutcheson and Arthur George Knight.

He was 23 years old, and a lance-corporal in the 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 2 September 1918 at Arras, France, when the right flank of the battalion was held up, Lance-Corporal Metcalf rushed forward under intense machine-gun fire to a passing tank and with his signal flag walked in front of the tank directing it along the trench in a perfect hail of bullets and bombs. The machine-gun strong-point was overcome, very heavy casualties were inflicted and a critical situation was relieved. Later, although wounded, Corporal Metcalf continued to advance until ordered to get into a shell-hole and have his wounds dressed.

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