Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney VC DCM MM

Private Claude Joseph Patrick VC DCM MM 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Wiki Image)

Private Claude Joseph Patrick VC DCM MM
38th Canadian Infantry Battalion
(Wiki Image)

Drocourt-Quéant Line near Vis-en-Artois: Action of 1-2 September 1918
No inscription on marker

For most conspicuous bravery during the operations against the Drocourt-Queant line on Sept. 1st and 2nd, 1918. On Sept. 1st, when his battalion was in the vicinity of Vis-en-Artois, preparatory to the advance, the enemy laid down a heavy barrage and counter-attacked. Pte. Nunney, who was at this time at company headquarters, immediately on his own initiative proceeded through the barrage to the company outpost lines, going from post to post and encouraging the men by his own fearless example. The enemy were repulsed and a critical situation was saved. During the attack on Sept. 2nd, his dash continually placed him in advance of his companions, and his fearless example undoubtedly helped greatly to carry the company forward to its objectives.

Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney is one of two soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal. Both Nunney and fellow soldier Samuel Lewis Honey VC DCM MM were killed during the Great War. Nunney is buried at Aubigny and Honey at Queant Communal Cemetery – about 37.9 kilometres apart. Nunney died of his wounds received in his 1-2 September VC action on 18 September 1918.

As I continue with the 2022 November Series I realize that many pictures from my 1999 first visit to the Western Front remain unscanned. This first trip was an important return to North West Europe. Having lived in Germany for three years in the 1960s our family made the most of visiting neighbouring nations and though war graves and memorials were not the destination, I became, in 1999, easily re-accustomed to familiar journeying about. In the 1950s my father Ed visited the grave site of friend Trooper Mario Ruaben buried at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Netherlands. Mario was, like my father, from Lethbridge, Alberta and at the time of Mario’s death 2 April 1945 was serving with the Fort Garry Horse. I have the black and white 1950s photo from that time and must, together with the 1999 pictures, work on making them accessible.

In 1999 the only real plan that Mike, Chris and I had for the Western Front was visiting the Vimy Memorial and staying in Arras “Mange baguette. Fromage, jambon. Cafe avec lait”. Poor French I know but we were well fed and pleased knowing we could manage these few days. On the day of our visit, the memorial at Vimy was covered in mist with low cloud above…It was here I found my great grandfather’s name and penned a few words that I oft’ repeat to self to this day…How many eyes have seen these names…and whispered voices read them softly? A first for me – place – experience – images -words…here at this expression in stone.

My great grandfather…brought me here…perhaps I could give back in some way…a guiding hand of 1917 to 1999. One now wonders as I write what other images I have from 1999? Did I capture the experience of place elsewhere? I am now keen to learn if we visited Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension in 1999? Perhaps this was the first visit to Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney? It seems possible. I need to have another re-visit – a dive into old film photos. There will be surprises here…I hope they are in focus.

Nunney marker at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

Nunney marker at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France, Age 25.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

Helpful Link
The First World War – East Sussex

Marker image used in marking series of images for review while traveling. (P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

Marker image used in marking series of images for review while traveling.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2010)

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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