Memorable Manitobans: Harcus “Henry” Strachan (1887-1982)
Born at Borrowstounness, Scotland on 7 November 1887, son of William Strachan and Isabella Veitch, he immigrated to Canada in 1908 and become a rancher. In 1915 he enlisted in Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Horse and won a Victoria Cross on 20 November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai for leading his cavalry squadron into enemy lines, killing seven Germans with his sword, capturing their machine guns and taking many prisoners. He moved to Edmonton, Alberta after the war and went into farming and banking. He commanded the Edmonton Fusiliers during the Second World War and retired to Vancouver, British Columbia. He died on 1 May 1982 and was the longest-lived recipient of the Victoria Cross. His ashes were scattered in Vancouver. In September 2013, a Manitoba lake was named “Harcus Strachan Lake” to commemorate him. The McGregor Armoury was likewise renamed in his memory, in November 2018.
“Cambrai and the Great Retreat,” Legion Magazine.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“In war no room for sentiment,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 November 1972, page 8.
“Lakes named in honour of Manitoba veterans,” CTV News Winnipeg.
Major Harcus Strachan, The Canadian Great War Project.
Harcus Strachan, Victoria Cross-First World War, 1914-1918, National Defense and the Canadian Forces.
We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Ian Stewart.
Page revised: 15 August 2020