Friday, July 20, 2012

The Military Cross and Bar (right) and 1914-18 Military Medal, both
of which were awarded to Hick Abbott.

(Photo courtesy Dave Thomson)

If you are a regular in these parts, you will be familiar with the name Hick Abbott.
If you aren’t, well, his story will bring a lump to your throat. It also should bring a sense of wonder as you wonder what this man might have accomplished had he lived past the age of 27.
Edward Lyman (Hick) Abbott was one of Western Canada’s best athletes in the early part of the 20th century. He lived in Regina and played on the Regina Victorias, who won the 1914 Allan Cup. He was an outstanding hockey player. He also excelled in rugby, lacrosse and soccer.
As a rugby player, he was part of the Regina Rugby Club that won the 1913 Western Canadian championship. We know the RRC today as the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Abbott also was a law student. And he taught Sunday school. According to various reports in the Regina Leader back in the day, everyone loved Hick Abbott.
And when the time came, he did what so many young men did . . . he enlisted and went off to war.
He was twice wounded — shrapnel to the back and, in another incident, to the head. The latter caused damage to his right eye.
He refused to return home, however, and was back at the front in time for the Battle of Amiens.
Hick Abbott was killed on Aug. 18, 1918, shot by a German sniper as he was leading his men from a trench. He is buried near Somme, France.
Abbott was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Vimy Ridge in 1917, “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.” He led his men through “an intense hostile barrage. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.”
Three months later, a bar was added to the Military Cross after yet another gallant effort in battle.
And now those medals are for sale and Dave Thomson, an auto parts distributor from St. George, Ont., wants to purchase them and get them to the Saskatchewan Military Museum, which is located at the armoury in Regina.In a perfect world, Hick Abbott, for whom the Abbott Memorial Cup, which once went to the junior A hockey champion of Western Canada, is named, would be in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. The Abbott Memorial Cup, which was retired from competition a few years ago and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, would be part of a display in the Regina-based SSHF. And, Thomson says, the medals could be a part of that display.
First off, money has to be raised to purchase the medals.
Thomson says that can be done for the sum of $15,000.
Understand that Thomson doesn’t deal with money. He chases medals such as these as a hobby, wanting only to reunite them with the community in which he feels they belong. Do a Google search and you will learn that he has had ample success doing this.
In this case, the money part is being handled by Major (Retired) Keith Inches, the custodian of the Saskatchewan Military Museum.
If you are interested in donating to this worthy cause, your money will go to Major Inches. Thomson will put him in touch with the person who is selling the medals. And a wrong will be made right, and you will feel awfully good about having been part of this.
To donate, call the museum at 306-347-9349, call Major Inches at 306-586-8198 or drop an email to
Barb Pacholik of the Regina Leader-Post has written on this subject; her story is right here.
I wrote a lengthy piece about Hick Abbott in 1997. I post that story on this blog every Remembrance Day. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is right here.
Earlier Friday, Major Inches and I appeared on The Afternoon Edition on CBC Regina. If you're interested in hearing that, it's right here.


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