Launching his latest book, “A Canadian Hero”, prof. Lubomyr Luciuk (photo above) presented the remarkable story of Ukrainian-born First World War hero Corporal Filip Konowal last Wednesday at AUGB’s Central Office.

Serving initially in Ottawa’s 77th Canadian Infantry Battalion before being reassigned to the 47th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Konowal fought at the Battle of the Somme, Vimy Ridge and then in August 1917, at the Battle of Hill 70 near Lens in France.

His exceptional valour in that last battle earned him the British Empire’s highest military distinction, the Victoria Cross, awarded to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 15 October 1917 (photo left) - the only Ukrainian Canadian ever to have been so distinguished. 

On returning to Canada after the war he lived a troubled life before ultimately being employed by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King as a special custodian of Room 16 on Parliament Hill, where he served until two months before his death in 1959. 

Interestingly, Konowal’s Victoria Cross was stolen but then recovered in 2004 thanks to the intervention of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Professor Luciuk himself. It is now on permanent display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Later this year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Hill 70, a ‘Konowal Walk’ will be unveiled close to the spot where Konowal fought.

The project for the walk received backing from a number of organisations and individual donors in Canada and was also supported by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.


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