The mystery of the Thames Victoria Cross

An item from the Legion Magazine.

Front Lines
The mystery of the Thames Victoria Cross

The mystery of the Thames Victoria Cross

Story by Stephen J. Thorne

In December 2015, a “mudlark” treasure-hunting along the bank of the Thames River in southern England found a corroded metal cross buried in the ooze exposed at low tide. His name was Tobias Neto, and the hunk of rusty metal was none other than a Victoria Cross.

Or was it?

“It was covered in mud,” Neto recalled. “I kept it and carried on detecting. Only when I got home did I realize I had a VC medal in my hands—I could read the writing ‘For Valour’ below the crown.


Victoria Cross
Military Milestones
Armoured vehicle serves as a working memorial

Armoured vehicle serves as a working memorial

Story by Sharon Adams

A contingent of Canadian tanks and armoured vehicles set out before dawn on Sept. 24, 2007, to push insurgents from a trouble spot in the Panjwaii district in Afghanistan.

The move was in aid of Operation Sadiq Sarbaaz (Honest Soldier), a joint operation with Afghan troops to build police stations throughout the area, in hopes a permanent police presence would provide some stability to one of the most dangerous districts in the country.


This week in history
This week in history

September 23, 1958

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker announces the RCAF is to be equipped with BOMARC missiles.


Iris Advantage
Legion Magazine

Former Sproul Fellow brings internet to remote communities; plus, fellowships & events

An up-coming event from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements
In this issue:
  • 2015 Sproul Fellow Heather Hudson brings internet to remote communities
  • Upcoming event: Migrant farmworker rights during COVID-19
  • Upcoming event: Hildebrand Graduate Research Colloquium
  • Applications Open: International Affairs Fellowship in Canada
  • Call for papers: ACSUS 26th Biennial Conference
2015 Sproul Fellow Heather Hudson:
Why Reliable Internet is Critical for Remote Communities
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the potential of the internet for many aspects of daily life, from health to education. This doesn’t come as a surprise to Canadian Studies affiliate Dr. Heather Hudson: she says communication technology has long been a lifeline for many communities. Dr. Hudson’s research over the past few decades has largely centered on the use of this technology in rural and remote areas, including Indigenous communities in Canada.
Dr. Hudson completed her B.A. at the University of British Columbia, and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Stanford. She has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of San Francisco, and is currently affiliated with the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage. In 2015, Dr. Hudson was a Sproul Fellow with the Canadian Studies Program and a visiting scholar in the School of Information. We sent Hildebrand fellow Kimberly Huynh to catch up with Dr. Hudson and learn more about her work; read the full interview on our website here.
What projects are you currently working on?
My interests are in how we can use communication technology for development, especially in rural and remote areas. At the moment, I’m primarily working with some Canadian Indigenous organizations to get better broadband for remote communities in the North. I’m very interested in comparing developments in Canada and Alaska in terms of communication policy and access to technology.
What are some ways reliable broadband benefits remote communities?
In Canada, many Indigenous students from remote communities must go away to a high school in a distant town or city. Often they drop out, and therefore don’t have the qualifications to apply for jobs or training. With access to the internet, as adults they can finish high school in their communities. In comparison, in Alaska any community with at least 10 school-age students must offer K-12 education. So the schools are there, but there are very few teachers to cover all the grades. Online supplemental material for subjects that aren’t available in the village help high school students complete and enrich their studies. Telemedicine has also been very important in Alaska for a long time. It’s interesting to see how it’s finally taking off elsewhere during the coronavirus pandemic, given how important it is for health services in Alaska and northern Canada.
Why is it important to involve locals in these projects?
We want to help small and Indigenous organizations provide information services in their community, so they can be providers and not just consumers. They have developed innovative solutions instead of relying on big outside companies that don’t have an incentive to extend services there or to hire and train local people. The Arctic is getting a lot of attention in involving Indigenous people, not only in using technologies but also developing the skills to invest in or manage their own services, and to get skilled jobs in technology and communication.
How has the Canadian Studies Program helped advance your work?
The John A. Sproul Fellowship fellowship was a great opportunity. I was also a fellow at Berkeley’s School of Information at the time, so it was a very useful combination. The I-School does a lot of work in communication, information policy, and new technology applications and effects. The Canadian Studies Program had connections with other researchers interested in the North, and in other fields in Canadian Studies that I was interested in but hadn’t specialized in. So I think the resources of Canadian Studies helped me extend, connect, keep up to date, and make new connections. And not just the Canadian Studies staff had an impact, but also the friends of Canadian Studies who come to talks and other events. When I gave talks at Berkeley people seemed very interested in Canada’s experience in communication
Social Movements and Legal Mobilisation in Times of Crisis: Migrant Farm Worker Rights in Canada
Lecture | October 6 | 12:30 p.m. | Online – RSVP here
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected migrant farm workers. Former Hildebrand Fellow Vasanthi Venkatesh, a professor of law at the University of Windsor specializing in social movements and immigration, gives context to the crisis by showing how the pandemic has overlaid itself onto existing systemic racial discrimination against migrant farm workers embedded in law and policy. She also shows how migrant farm worker advocates have responded to the crisis by exposing the racial capitalism of the Canadian agricultural economy, using radical narratives to challenge these systems.
Hildebrand Graduate Research Colloquium
Colloquium | October 20 | 12:30 p.m. | Online – RSVP here
Learn about the research Canadian Studies funds through our Edward Hildebrand Graduate Research Fellowships, as recipients present short overviews of their projects. Participating scholars are Desirée Valadares, (“Idling No More: Reading Japanese Canadian World War II Road Camps Alongside Specters of Indigeneity on the Hope-Princeton Highway in British Columbia, Canada”) and Martha Herrera-Lasso Gonzalez (“Regionalizing NAFTA: Theaters of Translation in Mexico City and Quebec”).
Applications Open: International Affairs Fellowship in Canada
Deadline: October 31, 2020
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)’s International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in Canada, sponsored by Power Corporation of Canada, seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between rising generations of leaders and thinkers in the United States and Canada. The program provides for one to two mid-career professionals per year to spend six to twelve months hosted by a Canadian institution to deepen their knowledge of Canada. The program awards a stipend of up to $95,000 for a full twelve month period, as well as a modest travel allowance. Fellows are drawn from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks. CFR will work with its network of contacts to assist the fellows in finding suitable host organizations in Canada. CFR cannot guarantee placement at any specific agency or organization.
Applications are due by October 31st, 2020: apply here.
Call for Papers: Canada, Near and Far
Deadline: April 1, 2021
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States (ACSUS), the Association will host its 26th biennial conference, October 21-24, 2021, in Washington, DC. The conference is open to all proposals with a significant Canadian focus. We welcome papers and panel proposals from graduate students, professors, independent scholars, and practitioners on all diverse and critical perspectives related to the theme, ‘Canada: Near and Far’. How is Canada perceived and portrayed from outside its borders, and by the international community? In recognition of ACSUS’s 50 years work, what role do non-governmental agencies around the world play in shaping Canada’s relationships with the world?
Submissions must be received by April 1, 2021. Read the full requirements for the paper and logistical information for the associated conference here. For more information, please contact Dr. Christina Keppie at
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

Remembrance Day Virtual Races

This is an interesting way to commemorate Remembrance Day in the age of the pandemic – and support the Juno Beach Centre.

(From 1K or 1500m. From 8K to 21.1K…all the way up to 64K! Just look at all the choices!)

Register now for one of three historically significant virtual race distances and $10 from each entry will go to support the Juno Beach Centre honouring those brave Canadians who fought in Normandy.
This shorter distance event (1500m) is for ideal children or older participants and is named for a particular strongpoint and 1500 metre stretch of beach overcome by Canadian Troops on D-Day.
The Juno Beach 8K is named for the entire 8-kilometre stretch of sand featuring coastal villages code name “JUNO” for the D-Day invasion and secured by Canadian and British soldiers.
The total number of troops that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day was approximately 21,000. We offer the Remembrance 21.1K (which is 21.1 kilometers long or a half marathon), in honour of those troops.

No Service of Remembrance at Grace Cathedral for 2020

While US Branch #25 of the Royal Canadian Legion has reached out to the leadership of Grace Cathedral on numerous occasions over the past few months, the release of the Fall 2020 Grace Notes indicates that they have decided to end the decades old tradition of a Remembrance service on the Sunday closest to Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.

—— Original message——

From: Grace Cathedral
Date: Sat, Sep 19, 2020 10:01
Subject:Grace Notes Calendar of Events for Fall 2020: We’re Building New Bridges Online

2020 has been a transformative year, and we’re all searching for online experiences to stimulate our minds, and lift our hearts.

Welcome to the Fall 2020 edition of Grace Notes, our seasonal calendar of events.

This edition of Grace Notes includes new ways to connect online. From The Forum on Zoom with Mayor London Breed, to the latest news from Projecting Grace – our outdoor art series supporting social justice – we’re building bridges at

Click, share and join us!

How will you remember them?

An item from the organization formerly known as There But Not There.

Remembrance Sunday, 8 November 2020, is fast approaching and we know this year may be a little different to usual. But that won’t stop us all celebrating, honouring and remembering.

And what about this inspirational display from Suzie and Martin Orrell in East London! Using our Plant Pot Tommies and with some help from renowned graffiti artist A.Dee (also known as the Artful Dodger), they have created a stunning tribute to Suzies Grandfather, Remembrance Sunday and to respect for all those who gave their tomorrow for our today. 

Suzies Dad, who is now 78 years old, lost his Father on 17th March 1945 – three days after his third birthday. They believe he was fighting in North Africa with Montgommery’s Desert Rats, fell ill and somehow ended up in St John Hospital in Jerusalem. In early 2012, Suzie heard her Dad say the words “Hi Dad” for the very first time, at the grave site in Ramleh Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.
Wow, what an incredible turn out we’ve had! So many people have been busy raising a cup (and vital funds) for our Tommies.

You’ve been so creative in ways to hold your Tommy Tea and we are seriously impressed. From bring your own picnic, cake deliveries and Zoom call parties. The rule of 6 hasn’t stopped anyone. Keep sharing your photos and top tips to inspire those yet to hold their tea!

Many of our supporters have asked if they can still hold a Tommy Tea – and the answer is of course YES PLEASE!

Tommy Teas will continue to be held well into November and we are here to support you. We have everything from recipe cards to social distancing tea tips.



We have another Tommy sighting! This time at Jo Porter from Whittlesey Green’s Tommy Tea! Both her VE Day and VJ Day Tommy decided to make an appearance. 👀 Thank you so much for holding such a successful (and socially distanced) Tommy Tea Jo! ☕
With Nephews that served in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and a Son joining the Welsh Guards, Sharon Major loved the idea of holding a Tommy Tea.What an incredible job she’s done, raising £625 so far! 😆
For support from our fundraising team please email
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