Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Remembance Day Compliment from Arthur Rigby's Family regarding his Military Medal

On Remembrance Day 2010, to my surprise, I received an email from a lady I had never met, thanking me for writing about her father who had been awarded the Military Medal in the Second World War. She wrote that she was “absolutely thrilled” to come across her father's award described in my book Valour in the Victory Campaign. Sergeant Arthur Rigby was a crew commander of a Sherman tank of The Sherbrooke Fusiliers in April 1945. During the attack on Deventer Holland, the infantry of The Canadian Scottish Regiment were pinned down by two German self-propelled guns and suffering casualties. Sergeant Rigby managed to bring his tank to a position only a few hundred yards away from the deadly German guns and destroyed them both before they could fire on his tank. For his skill, coolness and courage in carrying out this action, he was awarded the Military Medal.

The email of thanks to me was written by Arthur Rigby’s daughter, who recalled that her father had been very proud of his medal. He had passed away in 1986 and she regretted that, as a young child, she never appreciated the true meaning of the honour awarded him. But now, on reading the passage in my book, she felt that she and her sister could appreciate what her father had done so many years ago. Her note of thanks to me was quite touching and, coming so unexpectedly, gave me – as the author of the book – some great satisfaction.

While thinking about her note of thanks, however, I wondered how she had been able to find her father’s name on the Internet. I therefore went on line and searched for his name on Google. I quickly found the reference to the source: it was a bit of shock to see what it was. I found that she had found the entire page with the full citation text for Arthur Rigby’s medal from Valour in the Victory Campaign on Google Books! But not only could the page be found, but the entire book was there online.

I had read that Goggle Books was putting the entire library of literature on line, with some controversy about copyright, but I had never expected to see my book included. Is that some mark of distinction? Probably not; but in any case, if it brings such satisfaction to families who never otherwise learn of their father’s experiences in the war, such as Arthur Rigby’s family, then that is of some value.

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