WWI Military Medal repatriated

Manitoulin responds generously to call for donations

SOUTH BAYMOUTH—Islanders can give themselves a pat on the back. Thanks to the generous pledges that rolled into the Tehkummah town office, the Little School House and Museum can bring home the WWI Military Medal for Bravery in the Field belonging to First World War veteran Henry Boyd Chisholm who was born in South Baymouth.

Last week, The Expositor reported that Mr. Chisholm’s medal had appeared on eBay, posted by a seller in Indiana. Dave Thomson of St. George in southwestern Ontario alerted this newspaper, as well as members of the museum board, and the ball got rolling to get the medal home.

Mr. Thomson, a self-described eBay sniper, won the medal Wednesday night out of 24 bids with four seconds remaining at a cost of $735 US. The bidder has made a hobby out of repatriating war medals to the communities or families to which they belong.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” he said. “It’s really helpful when you get people like Jane (Deyell, museum chair), Norma (Hughson, board member) and the newspaper involved.”

Jane Deyell explained that the municipality of Tehkummah has already sent a money order to the seller in Indiana and said she hopes the medal will arrive within the next two weeks.

“It’s just awesome and so amazing,” she said. “The support of the Manitoulin community is just unbelievable. They rallied so fast.”

And rally they did, with support in the form of pledges to pay for the cost of the eBay win rolling into the Tehkummah town office since this newspaper published its article last Wednesday with a call for support.

Ms. Deyell explained that she made sure that the medal was legitimate, and indeed it is. All World War I medals have the soldier’s name inscribed along the rim of the medal, as this one does with the name ‘Henry Boyd Chisholm.’

“The pledges that came in will be enough to cover it, and there may even be a little extra to frame the medal,” she said excitedly. “I even received an email from a gentleman in England who is related to the Coultis family of Tehkummah who said he was sending the $20 bill left from his Canadian vacation to me.” The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #177 and its Ladies’ Auxiliary also made a pledge for the cause, she added.

“I can’t say enough about Dave (Thomson),” Ms. Deyell continued. “He would take nothing from us, not even to pay for the cost of his long distance phone calls. He just gets a thrill out of it.”

Private Henry Boyd Chisholm was born September 7, 1894 in South Baymouth, son of Alexander Chisholm and Henrietta Armstrong, and enlisted in the service in 1916 at the age of 22 in Providence Bay. According to his obituary, the soldier received injuries in WWI while serving in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces as an engineer. Enlisting with the 199th Battalion, he served overseas with the 110th Battalion and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. He survived the conflict and returned to Canada following the Armistice.

Stay tuned to upcoming editions of The Expositor for the return of Private Chisholm’s Military Medal and an in-depth look at the soldier himself.

Alicia McCutcheon