Alexander Roberts Dunn was the first Canadian awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) — the British Commonwealth’s highest honour for bravery — for his heroism in 1854 during the Crimean War.Lt. Robert Hampton Gray was Canada’s 99th and last recipient. The airman died when attacking a Japanese warship in 1945 during the Second World War and was awarded the VC posthumously.Canada lost its last living VC recipient when Pte. Ernest Alvia Smith, awarded for his heroism in Italy in 1944, died in 2005 at age 91..Canada lost its last living VC recipient when Pte. Ernest Alvia Smith, awarded for his heroism in Italy in 1944, died in 2005 at age 91.Queen Victoria instituted the VC in 1856, available to be awarded for acts of “great valor” from 1854 onward.In Canada, awarding of the British VC ceased in 1972 when Canadian Decorations for Bravery — Cross of Valour, Star of Courage, and Medal of Bravery — were created. A Canadian version of the VC created in 1993, to our nation’s utter shame, has never been awarded..Demands over the years to reinstate the British VC for deserving Canadian recipients failed. Demands to award Canada’s VC to worthy recipients have also failed.Those calls came from many, including former prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1987, and later air force veteran and former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and retired Gen. Rick Hiller — who served honourably in the trenches and is widely acknowledged as the best Chief of the Defence Staff Canada has had. Those who’ve never had to find courage against all odds during raging battles have offered feeble excuses to deny the medal to those who have. Some of them will even stand solemnly paying tribute to heroes at today’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.Let’s first pay tribute to Dunn.During the Charge of the Light Brigade on October 25, 1854, 21-year-old Toronto-born Dunn saved two fellow soldiers. .A retreat was called after failed attempts during the Battle of Balaclava to capture Russian artillery while outnumbered by Russian troops.Dunn rushed to rescue Sgt. Robert Bentley under attack by Russian lancers trying to knock him out of the saddle of his wounded horse.Dunn killed two or three Russian soldiers and lifted Bentley who had fallen back onto his horse and sent him off to safety.Dunn then saved Pte. Harvey Levett under attack by a Russian hussar, whom Dunn killed with his specially commissioned 1.3-metre sabre.Of the 110 cavalrymen sent into that battle, 25 survived. Dunn wept.The Crimean war (1853-1856) claimed 650,000 lives. Britain, France, Turkey and Sardina took on the forces of Czar Nicholas l trying to expand Russia’s influence over the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean during the decline of the Ottoman Empire.War had broken out over religious disputes about access to Jerusalem and other sites under Turkish rule considered sacred by Catholic and Orthodox believers. Britain and France entered the conflict in 1854, siding with Turkey, primarily to protect trade routes to India. Dunn had moved to England and joined the British Army’s 11th Prince Albert’s Own Hussars. Dunn was among 62 recipients awarded the VC at an 1857 ceremony is London. He had sold his commission but rejoined the army in 1858 with rank of major to help establish the 100th Royal Canadian Regiment of Foot, a British unit in Canada stationed in Gibraltar, which he later commanded.He transferred in 1864 to the 33rd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in India.Dunn was promoted to colonel in 1866, the British army’s youngest colonel. Dunn’s regiment was sent to the Horn of Africa to take part in the British Expedition to Abyssinia, also known as the Ethiopian Empire. In 1868 was both a rescue and punitive mission.Emperor Tewodros ll had imprisoned and tortured missionaries and two British government representatives to force the British government to send troops to his rescue.The emperor faced military revolts from within, Ottoman Turks were encroaching and the Egyptian’s invaded from the Red Sea into Sudan.The British Empire wanted to work politically and commercially with the Ottoman Empire.The hostages were rescued and Tewodros committed suicide with a gun given to him by Queen Victoria.But at age 34, before the military campaign was launched, Dunn died from a mysterious gunshot wound in Abyssinian that has been explained as accidental, possible suicide, or murder.Nelson BC-born pilot Gray died August 9, 1945, less than a month before the Second World War ended September 2. He was 27.Gray was posthumously awarded the VC the following year — that war’s first recipient from any nation.Gray, with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, was flying with 1841 Squadron from the aircraft carrier His Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Formidable.Gray led two flights of Corsair aircraft against airfields in northern Honshu. During a second targetting of naval ships at Onagawa Bay, his plane was hit with machine gun and cannon fire. He managed to aim a bomb that hit and sank the escort destroyer vessel Amakusa before his flaming Corsair crashed. Smith was the only Canadian private to be awarded the VC. Smith was recognized for single-handedly holding off German tanks and a swarm of troops near Italy’s Savio River in October 1944. All were deserving of the VC.But so was Afghanistan veteran Jess Larochelle who was denied the VC despite relentless efforts to have his Star of Military Valour upgraded.Canada’s the only member of the allied forces to deny the medal to heroes of that conflict..According to military brass and Liberal government suits all comfy in their leather chairs, Larochelle apparently wasn’t heroic enough to deserve Canada’s VC awarded for “extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing a hostile force.”Nor were any of the 40,000 Canadians who served in that brutal war from 2001 to 2014. Larochelle served as a private with Charles Company, 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment.In October 2006 — after two of his fellow soldiers were killed and another three injured — Larochelle volunteered to keep his outpost west of Kandahar from being overrun by dozens of Taliban fighters. He managed to force a Taliban retreat by firing an M72 rocket launcher after his machine gun was damaged.He was severely injured.The Canadian hero, who continued to suffer poor health, died on August 31.Today we honour Larochelle and others denied medal they deserved.We honour the heroes awarded medals. But Lest We Forget all who served. From drivers, to cooks, to chaplains, to those who provided logistics and maintenance support services, men, and women — all who contributed to the fight for God and country and keeping innocents safe throughout the world through all the wars.And let’s not forget the walking wounded — today’s serving, disabled and retired military members now treated shabbily by CAF brass who won’t stand up to ungrateful, disrespectful politicians.When some bow their heads at ceremonies today — it should be in shame.