A century of heroism on its way home

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Over the course of a century, the Memorial Cross of a Scotsburn man has made an incredible journey.

It’s now on its way back to Pictou County with the help of a kind stranger and the Pictou County Military Museum.

The Mothers Cross medal of John Kennedy Campbell of Scotsburn was found in an online auction site being sold by someone in Pennsylvania; it has been recovered by medal and memorabilia hunter Dave Thompson. He finds medals online and informs the local communities, doing his best to return them to the families who rightfully own them.

Last year, Thompson contacted David Avery of the Pictou County Military Museum in Westville to get a medal being sold in British Colombia back to Pictou County where the man was originally from. The family was eventually reunited with the medal and was incredibly grateful for all those involved helping to bring it home.

The Mothers Cross of Campbell that was recently found and secured with a winning bid is one that is very rare and quite the find for both the military museum and Thompson, as an enthusiast of history.

“There were 59,500 Memorial Cross Medals given out after the First World War and of them, only 1,388 went to members of the Royal Flying Corps — that’s approximately one for every 42,” said the military museum’s David Avery. One of the most fascinating parts about the cross, Avery said, is that although listed as a proficient mechanic on his military records, Campbell was actually a pilot in the First World War, when flying an airplane was still something seen as incredibly brave.

“So this is one very rare, historical heirloom as Campbell is one of those 1,388,” said Thompson about the cross. This is only one of a couple Royal Flying Corps medals that he has come across in his years of reuniting medals.

Avery is hoping members of the community will come forward at this time as they did last time to help purchase the medal and rare piece of history and bring it back home for the museum for good. In total, the medal has a price tag of $500 USD, which easily could have been more, considering its rarity. Avery is urging anyone interested in bringing the honour of the fallen county soldier back to his home will contact him about donating toward the cost.

Anyone willing to make a donation can call David Avery at 902-396-3761 and he will arrange to pick up the donation or meet the donors at the military museum.

Thompson shared that Campbell would have flown a plane with a front firing machine gun. Because of how new the technology of a plane was and the intense battles that the pilots fought they earned the nickname “knights of the air” with the life expectancy of these pilots being only 11 days.

“This is a really rare medal coming back to Pictou County,” Avery said.