Cy Peck, VC, the Prince Rupert Company, and the Great War
Keywords:Prince Rupert, Cy Peck, Drocourt Queant Line, 16th Battalion
The Northern Review 44 (2017): 347–354
On 24 April 1915 Major Cyrus Wesley Peck and his 225-strong contingent of men from Prince Rupert, British Columbia crossed the English Channel bound for No Man’s Land. The day was also notable for being Peck’s forty-fourth birthday. Peck, the owner of a real estate and insurance firm, had been instrumental in raising the Prince Rupert company in November 1914—managing to keep the unit together as it went through training in Canada and later England. Upon reaching the front lines the company reinforced the badly depleted ranks of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), which had been shredded two days earlier in the Canadian army’s baptism of fire at Kitchener’s Wood. Peck was made a company commander and the Prince Rupert troops were distributed throughout the battalion. This meant the story of Prince Rupert’s contribution to the Great War essentially mirrored that of the renowned Canadian Scottish battalion. On 3 November 1916 command of the battalion went to Peck. On 2 September 1918 Peck’s gallant leadership of the battalion in winning the pivotal Drocourt-Quéant Line battle earned him a Victoria Cross and the Canadian Scottish one of their most treasured Battle Honours. This article is part of a special collection of papers originally presented at a conference on “The North and the First World War,” held May 2016 in Whitehorse, Yukon.
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