Pte. Tommy Ricketts' Medals Come Home
After spending more than four years at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the medals bestowed upon Pte. Tommy Ricketts during the First World War have returned to the province he hailed from - at least for a little while. The medals will be on display at the Railway Coastal Museum in St. John's until November.
Ricketts, who was born in Middle Arm, Newfoundland, enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 1916 at age 15. His actions on October 14, 1918 earned him the Victoria Cross, making him the youngest - at age 17 - to ever receive the honour. On that date, Ricketts' platoon came under heavy fire, suffering severe casualties. The young soldier volunteered to accompany his section commander in an attempt to outflank the enemy. When their ammunition ran out 300 yards short of their target, Ricketts doubled back amid heavy gunfire, collected the ammunition and returned unharmed to successfully drive the enemy back. Because of his courageous actions, his platoon advanced without further casualties and captured four field guns, four machine guns and eight prisoners.
Ricketts' widow, Edna Ricketts, was present at the Railway Coastal Museum for the unveiling of the war medals, which include the Victoria Cross, the Croix de Guerre, the War Medal and the Victory Medal.
"As he always said, every soldier who went across deserved as much," Edna says, recalling her late husband's modesty. "He did not want the glory because he knew others should have it as well."
In November, the medals will return to the Canadian War Museum, where they hold a place of honour in the First World War gallery.
Despite her late husband's modesty, Edna Ricketts can't hide her own pride.
"He'll go down in history," she says with a smile.
Gros Morne and the 7 Wonders
Gros Morne National Park has been nominated to the voting list for the new seven wonders of nature in an online competition. A non-profit organization in Switzerland called New7Wonders Foundation is behind the competition and will announce the winners in 2010. Until the end of 2008, people from all over the world can vote for their favourite "wonder" at www.new7wonders.com. A panel of experts will then create a list of the top 21 nominees, as chosen by voters. A second online vote will follow to determine the new seven wonders of nature. Other Canadian locations in the running include Alberta's Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Dinosaur Provincial Park; the Bay of Fundy in the Maritimes; Lake Superior; Niagara Falls, Ontario; and a rock formation called Rocher Perce, located in Quebec. This competition follows the New Seven Wonders of the World announced last year.
Korab, Gushue and Nichols Reunite
After a highly publicized split in 2007, Jamie Korab has reassumed his post alongside fellow Olympic gold medal curlers Brad Gushue and Mark Nichols. Winnipeg's Ryan Fry will complete the team. Korab and Fry replace Dave Noftall and Chris Schille, who both left for personal reasons. Korab, originally from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, was cut from the team last April due to poor team chemistry.
Newfoundland's RBC Local Hockey Leader Dave Ingram was honoured for his commitment to minor hockey at Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame in April. (Left to right: Neil Skelding, president and CEO of RBC Insurance, Dave Ingram and Hockey legend Gordie Howe).
Local Man in Hockey Hall of Fame
Dave Ingram of Clarenville, Newfoundland, has been named the RBC Local Hockey Leader for this province. Over the last 30 years, Ingram has been an avid volunteer in this province's minor hockey scene. He's also played an instrumental part in making sure young players with financial difficulties continued to play the game. For his dedication, Dave has earned $10,000 towards a grassroots hockey initiative to be implemented locally, as well as a signed Team Canada jersey. His story and photo are now a part of a special display honouring the 2007-08 RBC Local Hockey Leaders at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Portnoys to Return to Israel
Angela Portnoy has returned to Israel to reunite her family after living in the basement of the Sacred Heart Holy Catholic Church in Marystown for nearly three years. The Russian-Israeli family sought sanctuary in the church when a deportation order was issued against them. Angela's husband Alexi was deported in 2006, having been arrested outside the church while running an errand; the family (including five children) has been separated ever since. The Portnoys intend to continue their fight from Israel to become Canadian citizens.