The Military Medal of Nelson Ross Crowe Has Come “Home”
Today at Grey Roots, I will have the honour of processing three medals into the collection. The set has a Military Medal, a British War Medal, and a Victory Medal. They had belonged to a First World War veteran, Sgt. Nelson Ross Crowe, who also was known as “Scotty Crowe”. The medal set recently came up for auction, and thanks to our Collection Manager, Sim Salata, some great help from Scott Dunn at the Owen Sound Sun-Times, and some terrific financial donors who helped with the acquisition, Grey Roots was able to obtain them and “bring them home” to Grey County. Scott Dunn’s initial article in the Sun-Times helped us find out a lot more about the life of Sgt. Crowe, as it helped us connect with relatives of his, and helped us acquire an image of Sgt. Crowe proudly wearing his medal, thanks to his great-great niece.
Nelson Ross Crowe was born in Markdale, Ontario, on August 6, 1898, and was one of the children of George Crowe and Christina Crowe (nee McGilvray). Circa 1906, the Crowe family moved to Owen Sound, and George Crowe died in 1911. Two of Nelson’s older brothers enlisted in 1915. Nelson was working as a Butcher and had resided at home with his widowed mother and siblings before he attested to the 147th Grey (Overseas) Battalion at Camp Borden, on October 5, 1916. He was eighteen years old. The 147th was held up for a while in Nova Scotia by a diphtheria outbreak, but safely crossed the Atlantic on the S. S. Olympic in November, 1916 (it was a five-day crossing). The 147th did more training in England and were disappointed to find out that they would not be sent to the Front as an intact unit. Instead, the 147th was placed into the 8th Canadian Reserve Battalion, and used as drafts for other units. Private Crowe (839155) was put onto the strength of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles on April 4, 1917, and he served in France and Belgium. He was wounded with gas poisoning on July 6, 1917 during a gas shell attack (he was wounded again by gas later on). In 1918, he was Sergeant Crowe, back in the fray, and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in regards to something he did during the Canal Du Nord and Cambrai operations, October 5, 1918.
According to research by Master-Corporal George Scott Auer, there were about 81 Military Medal recipients who had a connection to Grey County. Of the soldiers who had attested to the 147th Battalion, 26 men were awarded the Military Medal. Scotty Crowe’s MM is a tangible reminder of them all.
Scotty’s brothers, John “Jack” Crowe, and George Wallace “Wally” Crowe, also were wounded overseas. Private Jack Crowe lost both of his legs due to wounds and being trapped in a shellhole for nine days, and was a Prisoner of War for nine months. L-Corporal G. W. Crowe was wounded twice.
After the war, Nelson Crowe, MM, lived in the Windsor and Stratford areas. He also served in the Second World War with the Veteran’s Guard. In the 1950s he moved to Wiarton, and belonged to the Royal Canadian Legion branch there. He died on May 5, 1961, and is buried at Bayview Cemetery (Wiarton).