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Robert Metcalfe – Ten Dollar Bill Veteran

If you look at the back right-hand side of a Canadian $10 bill, you will see an old veteran standing at attention near the Ottawa war  memorial. His name is Robert Metcalfe and he died in September, 2007, at the age of 90. That he managed to live to that age is rather remarkable, given what happened in the Second World War. Born in England, he was  one of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent to the mainland where they found themselves facing the new German warfare technique – the Blitzkrieg.

Robert Metcalfe Canadian Soldier on Ten Dollar Bill

Robert Metcalfe

He was treating a wounded comrade when he was hit in the legs by shrapnel.

En route to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German tank, which then miraculously ceased fire. Later, while being evacuated from Dunkirk on HMS Grenade, two of the sister ships with them were sunk.

Following his recovery, he was sent to allied campaigns in North Africa and  Italy. En route his ship was chased by the German battleship Bismarck.  In North Africa he served under General Montgomery against the Desert Fox, Rommel. Later, sent into the Italian campaign (which made him a D-Day Dodger), he met his future wife, a lieutenant and physiotherapist in a Canadian hospital. They were married in the morning by the mayor of the Italian town, and again in the afternoon by a British padre.  After the war they settled in Chatham where he went into politics and became the warden (chairman) of the county and on his retirement he and his wife moved to Ottawa. At the age of 80 he wrote a book about his experiences.

One day out of the blue he received a call from a government official asking him to go downtown to the Ottawa War Memorial for a photo op. He wasn’t told what the photo was for or why they chose him. “He had no idea he would be on the bill,” his daughter said.

Veteran on the back of Canadian Ten Dollar Bill

Robert Metcalfe is the Soldier on the back of the 10 Dollar Bill

And now you know the story of the old veteran on the $10 bill.

Robert Metcalfe - Ten Dollar Bill Veteran
Article Name
Robert Metcalfe - Ten Dollar Bill Veteran
If you look at the back right-hand side of a Canadian $10 bill, you will see a veteran (Robert Metcalfe) standing at attention at Ottawa war memorial.
Publisher Name
Mysteries of Canada

Written by

Author of Mysteries of Canada

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2 Responses to “Robert Metcalfe – Ten Dollar Bill Veteran”

By Lisa P - 3 November 2018 Reply


No Time for Dreams: A Soldier’s Six Year Journey Through World War II

By Colin McDouall - 2 November 2018 Reply

What is the title of the book Robert Metcalfe wrote about his war service ?