July 13, 1944

CANADIAN ARMY

AWAKD OF VICTORIA CROSS TO MAJOR JOHN KEEFER MAHONY OF THE WESTMINSTER REGIMENT (MOTOR)

LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, on March 6 I had the privilege of submitting to the house the names of almost five hundred members of the Canadian Army who had been awarded honours for deeds of gallantry in this war. With the unanimous permission of the house, these names were given a permanent record on Hansard. Among the names were two recipients of the Victoria Cross, Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Merritt and Major Paul Triquet.

A few hours ago there was announced concurrently in the United Kingdom and in Canada that another officer of the Canadian Army has been awarded this highest honour for gallantry which can be conferred on a member of the armed forces by His Majesty the King. The recipient is Major John Keefer Mahony of New Westminster, British Columbia. His regiment is the Westminster Regiment (Motor). The award to Major Mahony is for great gallantry while leading his company in establishing and holding an important bridgehead across the river Melfa in Italy.

The citation appears in a special issue of the Canada Gazette published to-day, and I am sure the house would want it recorded in Hansard. The citation reads:

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Victoria Cross to: Major John Keefer Mahony,

The Westminster Regiment (Motor).

On the 24th May, 1944, a company of the Westminster Regiment (Motor) under the command of Major Mahony was ordered to establish the initial bridgehead across the river Melfa. The enemy still had strong forces of tanks, self-propelled guns and infantry holding defensive positions on the east side of the river. Despite this, Major Mahony personally led his company down to and across the river, being with the leading section.

Although the crossing was made in full view of and under heavy fire from enemy machine gun posts on the right rear and left front, he personally directed each section into its proper position on the west bank with the greatest coolness and confidence. The crossing was made and a small bridgehead was established on ground where it was only possible to dig shallow weapon pits. From 15.30 hours the company maintained itself in the face of enemy fire and attack until 20.30 hours when the remaining companies and supporting weapons were able to cross the river and reinforce them. The bridgehead was enclosed on three sides by an 88 mm. self-propelled gun four hundred and fifty yards to the right, a battery of four 2 cm.

Major Mahoney-Award oj Victoria Cross

anti-aircraft guns one hundred yards to the left, a spandau one hundred yards to the left of it, to the left of the spandau a second 88 mm. self-propelled gun and approximately a company of infantry with mortars and machine guns on the left of the 88 mm. From all these weapons Major Mahony'e company -was constantly under fire until it eventually succeeded in knocking out the self-propelled equipment and the infantry on the left flank.

Shortly after the bridgehead had been established the enemy counter-attacked with infantry supported iby "tanks and self-propelled guns. The counter-attack was beaten off by the company with its piats, 2-inch mortars and number 36 grenades, due to the skill with which Major Mahony had organized his defences.

With absolute fearlessness and disregard for his own safety, Major Mahony personally directed the fire of his piats throughout this action encouraging and exhorting his men. By this time the company strength had been reduced by sixty men, and all buit one of the platoon officers had been wounded. Scarcely an hour later enemy tanks formed up about five hundred yards in front of the bridgehead and in company with about a company of infantry launched a second counter-attack. Major Mahony, determined to hold the position at all costs, went from section to section with words of encouragement personally directing fire of mortars and other weapons. At one stage a section was pinned down in the open by accurate and intense machine gun fire. Major Mahony crawled forward to their position and by throwing number 77 smoke grenades, succeeded in extricating the section from its position with the loss of only one man. This counter-attack was finally beaten off with the destruction of three enemy self-propelled guns and one panther tank.

Early in the action Major Mahony was wounded in the head and twice in the leg, but he refused medical aid and continued to direct the defence of the bridgehead despite the fact that movement of any kind caused him extreme pain. It was only when the remaining companies of the regiment had crossed the river to support him that he allowed his wounds to be dressed and even then refused to be evacuated, staying instead with his company.

The forming and holding of a bridgehead across the river was vital to the whole Canadian corps action, and failure would have meant delay, a repetition of the attack, probably involving heavy losses in men, material and time and would 'have given the enemy a breathing space which might have broken the impetus of the corps' advance. Major Mahony, knowing this, never allowed the thought of failure or withdrawal to enter his mind and infused his spirit and determination into all his men. At the first sign of hesitation or faltering Major Mahony was there to encourage by his own example those who were feeling the strain of battle. The enemy perceived that this officer was the soul of the defence and consequently fired at him constantly with all weapons, from rifle to 88 mm. guns. Major Mahony completely ignored the enemy fire and with great courage and absolute disregard for personal danger commanded his company with such great confidence, energy and skill, that the enemy's efforts to destroy the bridgehead were all defeated.

The great courage shown by Major Mahony in this action will forever be an inspiration to his regiment and to the Canadian army.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that the house and the country will join very heartily in sincere congratulations to Major Mahony and to his family and to his regiment upon this worthy recognition of his superb soldierliness.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   AWAKD OF VICTORIA CROSS TO MAJOR JOHN KEEFER MAHONY OF THE WESTMINSTER REGIMENT (MOTOR)
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, on an occasion such as this a word of comment might properly be added to the congratulations which have been so eloquently paid to Major Mahony of the Westminster regiment. I am sure it is a matter of satisfaction and gratification to the province of British Columbia that two out of three of the Victoria Crosses which have been awarded to Canadians in this war have been awarded to men from the great coastal province. I would like to add the congratulations of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition to those which have been extended by the minister to Major Mahony and to his family and regiment.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   AWAKD OF VICTORIA CROSS TO MAJOR JOHN KEEFER MAHONY OF THE WESTMINSTER REGIMENT (MOTOR)
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, with the permission of the house may I rise on this occasion to pay homage to one of Canada's great fighting men, Major John Keefer Mahony? The story of his gallent service has just been made public. Major Mahony has brought honour not only to New Westminster and British Columbia, but to all of Canada as well.

Since war started three gallant Canadian soldiers have been awarded the Victoria Cross: Lieutenant Colonel Merritt, of Vancouver; Major Paul Triquet, of Quebec, and now Major Mahony of New Westminster. It is not mere chance, Mr. Speaker, that two of Canada's Victoria Crosses have been won by men from British Columbia, and to us in New Westminster Major Mahony's achievement comes as a proud inspiration.

May I remind the house that it was a New Westminster company which was led by Major Mahony in the attack and victory obtained at the bridgehead; and so New Westminster shares a deep satisfaction in the deeds of Major Mahony and his valiant men. To gain a vital objective is a great thing; to hold on to that objective is still greater.

The achievement of Major Mahony and the men of the Westminster regiment should make those of us who remain in Canad&^more determined than ever to back up and support to the utmost of our strength and ability those who are fighting our battles overseas.

Briefly, I should like also to join with the people of New Westminster in congratulating

Questions

Major Mahony's family, and likewise the families of the men who fought with him and made his achievement possible. In acclaiming and recording the heroic deeds of the Westminster regiment we should not forget to sympathize with the relatives of those who fell in the battle, and likewise to wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

Topic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Subtopic:   AWAKD OF VICTORIA CROSS TO MAJOR JOHN KEEFER MAHONY OF THE WESTMINSTER REGIMENT (MOTOR)
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QUESTIONS


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


FLAX PROCESSING

PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

On what date was the W. R. Carpenter (Canada) Limited flax processing plant at Vancouver, B.C., completed?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX PROCESSING
Sub-subtopic:   W. R. CARPENTER (CANADA) LIMITED
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LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

The final payment was

made to the contractor February 8, 1943. The work was completed a few weeks prior to that date.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX PROCESSING
Sub-subtopic:   W. R. CARPENTER (CANADA) LIMITED
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WAR SUPPLIES AND SERVICES-PROFITS ON CONTRACTS


Mr. DIEFENBAKER What have been the maximum and minimum percentages or rates of profit fixed by the Minister of Munitions and Supply in each of the years 1940 to 1944 inclusive, in contracts for, (a) the production of munitions or other war supplies; (b) the supply of services, wherein provision is made granting the minister the discretion of fixing same?


LIB

Joseph Enoil Michaud (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

A categorical answer to

this question would involve examination of several hundred thousand contracts and expenditure of time and staff which is not considered to be warranted at this time.

In the case of cost-plus contracts, which are those in which the minister fixes the percentages or rates of profit, the great proportion are at 5 per cent, with rates running as low as one-half of one per cent and as high, occasionally, as ten per cent, depending on a wide variety of differing circumstances. In general, this policy has remained unchanged since the inception of the department.

Services are bought almost invariably at a price fixed by competitive tender or negotiation.^^

Sefe also statements of Mr. Chevrier, M.P., Hansard for June 15, 1943, pages 3644, 3645, and 3646; and for March 23, 1944, pages 1757, 1758, 1759 and 1760.

IMr. Graydon.1

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES AND SERVICES-PROFITS ON CONTRACTS
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FLAX-PRICES AND BONUSES

PC

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Progressive Conservative

1. How many bushels of flax have been sold to the United States by the Canadian wheat board during the months of January to June, 1944, inclusive?

2. What was the average price per bushel in each month?

3. During said period have any bonuses on flax been paid to the processors of flax? If so, how much per bushel?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX-PRICES AND BONUSES
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LIB

Mr. CRERAR: (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

1. January, 250,000 bushels; February, nil; March, nil; April, 2,998,000 bushels; May 88,168-44 bushels; June, nil.

2. January, $3 per bushel; April, $3.30 per bushel; May, $3.30 per bushel. All basis No. 1 C.W. in store Fort William/Port Arthur, Canadian funds.

3. By order in council P.C. 7325 of September 27, 1943, the Canadian wheat board is required to buy flaxseed at $2.50 per bushel for No. 1 C.W., basis in store Fort William/Port Arthur and to sell for domestic processing (to domestic crushers, feed, breakfast or cereal-food manufacturers and manufacturers of pharmaceutical products) on the basis of $1.64 per bushel for No. 1 C.W., in store Fort William/ Port Arthur. The board- is further required to fill domestic demands before selling for export.

CUSTODIAN OF ENEMY PROPERTY- MCPHEj: INVESTIGATION

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX-PRICES AND BONUSES
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PC

Mr. BENCE:

Progressive Conservative

1. On what date was the advisory committee, headed by Judge G. W. MeP-hee, appointed to recommend the mode and manner of the release, by tbe official custodian, of the properties taken over by the official custodian?

2. Who were the members of such committee?

3. When did they commence their work?

4. On what date were their recommendations placed before the official custodian?

5. What was the total cost incurred, as a result of the setting up of the said committee?

6. How much was paid, by way of salary and expenses, to each of the members thereof?

7. What has been done to implement the recommendations of the committee?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX-PRICES AND BONUSES
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LIB

Mr. McLARTY: (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

1. October 20, 1943.

2. His Honour Judge McPhee, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, chairman; George A. Campbell, Esq., Edmonton; W. Gordon Thomson, Esq., Windsor.

3. October 25, 1943.

4. The committee made interim reports and recommendations from time to time and submitted a more comprehensive report on February 16, 1944. Supplementary reports were submitted by the chairman on specific matters at later dates.

Questions as Orders jor Returns

5. $15,435.24.

6. Judge McPhee, travelling and living expenses, $3,913.35; George A. Campbell, Esq., fee $2,200; expenses $1,403.86; W. Gordon Thomson, Esq., fee $1,260; expenses $842.80.

7. (a) As reports were received properties which had been under the control of the custodian were released in accordance with the recommendations of the committee. This included 143 parcels of real estate.

(b) Claims for alleged damages to property were investigated and, in accordance with the recommendation of the committee, were allowed in an amount of $10,828.70, which amount has been paid.

(c) Payments were made to municipalities for taxes in cases where the revenues had not been sufficient to cover taxes for the period the properties were under control. These payments, amounting to $16,834.40, have been made.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   FLAX-PRICES AND BONUSES
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KINGSTON, ONT., COLD STORAGE

NAT

Mr. AYLESWORTH:

National Government

1. Has the dominion government paid any subsidies, loans or grants, for cold storage purposes in the city of Kingston, Ontario, since August 4, 1943?

2. If so, to whom were they paid, and on what dates?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   KINGSTON, ONT., COLD STORAGE
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July 13, 1944