One of Greater Victoria’s fallen war heroes was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General Tuesday.
John Nuttall accepted one of 44 medals from Gov. Gen David Johnston, commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, on behalf of his older brother Lt. Andrew Nuttall, who was killed by a bomb while out on a foot patrol in a Taliban-controlled section of Afghanistan in 2009.
John, who is now living in London, Ont., was joined at Rideau Hall in Ottawa by his parents, Richard and Jane, of Saanich.
“I thought that was the right thing to do,” Richard said of wanting his youngest son to accept the medal on Andrew’s behalf. “(John) has been profoundly affected by this and I thought, rather than me or Jane, it was best for John to go.”
The medal, which recognizes individuals for their outstanding professionalism and bringing honour to Canada and its military, means a lot to the Nuttall family, Richard said.
When the decoration is brought home to Saanich, it will be placed in a window box that already holds Andrew’s South-West Asia Service Medal, which recognizes those who serve in Afghanistan more than 30 days, and the Sacrifice Medal.
“It recognizes how capable he was, and what a good job he was doing,” Richard said of the Meritorious Service Medal. “We know that but this is sort of official recognition of that.”
Andrew was a platoon commander working on the front lines of the Afghanistan conflict before his death on Dec. 23, 2009.
The 30-year-old “molded his soldiers into a cohesive team that excelled in Afghanistan’s demanding environment,” according to a news release issued by the Governor General’s office. “While the loss of Lt. Nuttall was devastating, the culture and esprit de corps forged under his leadership were instrumental in enabling his soldiers to successfully continue their mission.”
“You could tell where they were placed on the battlefield that they were considered to be very effective,” said Richard. “Unfortunately, they got a number of casualties.”