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Merritt, Charles Cecil Ingersoll

Date of birth:
November 10th, 1908 (Vancouver, Canada)
Date of death:
July 12th, 2000 (Vancouver, Canada)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Graves Burnaby Masonic Cemetery
Plot: 49. Grave: 5.
Nationality:
Canadian (1931-present, Constitutional Monarchy)

Biography

Following his actions at Dieppe, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt was taken prisoner of war. He escaped the first prisoner of war (POW) camp in Bavaria, but was recaptured and sentenced to solitary confinement. Ultimately, he was transferred to the maximum security POW camp at Colditz Castle until liberated towards the end of the War.
After the War, LCol Merritt returned to his law practice in Vancouver and was elected as a Member of Parliament serving the Vancouver-Burrard district until 1949. In 1951, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Mount Pleasant War Memorial Community Cooperative Association until 1994.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit:
The South Saskatchewan Regiment, 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, British Army
Awarded on:
October 2nd, 1942
Awarded for:
Operation Jubilee
Citation:
"“For matchless gallantry and inspiring leadership whilst commanding his battalion during the Dieppe raid on the 19th August, 1942.
From the point of landing, his unit’s advance had to be made across a bridge in Pourville which was swept by very heavy machine-gun, mortar and artillery fire: the first parties were mostly destroyed and the bridge thickly covered by their bodies. A daring lead was required; waving his helmet, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt rushed forward shouting ‘Come on over! There’s nothing to worry about here.’
He thus personally led the survivors of at least four parties in turn across the bridge. Quickly organising these, he led them forward and when held by enemy pill-boxes he again headed rushes which succeeded in clearing them. In one case he himself destroyed the occupants of the post by throwing grenades into it. After several of his runners became casualties, he himself kept contact with his different positions.
Although twice wounded Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt continued to direct the unit’s operations with great vigour and determination and while organising the withdrawal he stalked a sniper with a Bren gun and silenced him. He then coolly gave orders for the departure and announced his intention to hold off and ‘get even with’ the enemy. When last seen he was collecting Bren and Tommy guns and preparing a defensive position which successfully covered the withdrawal from the beach.
Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt is now reported to be a Prisoner of War.
To this Commanding Officer’s personal daring, the success of his unit’s operations and the safe re-embarkation of a large portion of it were chiefly due.”
Victoria Cross (VC)

Sources