Canada Post to honor war hero Tommy Prince on Oct. 28 stamp
By Jay Bigalke
Canada Post will honor Tommy Prince, a decorated Indigenous war veteran, on a stamp to be issued Oct. 28.
“For his service during the Second World War and Korean War, Prince was awarded 11 medals, including the Military Medal and the Silver Star (U.S.). After the Second World War, he served as vice-president of the Manitoba Indian Association, advocating for the abolition of the Indian Act and for the government to respect existing treaties,” Canada Post said.
Canada Post will issue the nondenominated permanent-rate (currently 92¢) Tommy Prince stamp in a booklet of 10.
Prince was born in 1915 into the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation on the St. Peter’s Reserve in Manitoba.
He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Engineers in 1940. In 1942, he joined the 1st Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-United States reconnaissance and raiding unit that became known as the Devil’s Brigade.
Prince established himself as a top soldier known for his marksmanship, stealth and scouting skills — not to mention sheer nerve, according to Canada Post.
“He was fiercely proud of his people,” said Bill Shead, a Cree member of the Peguis First Nation and a retired lieutenant-commander in the Royal Canadian Navy. “He was fiercely proud of his service to his people and to the country as a soldier. Here was a man who was virtually a combatant all his military career, through two wars.”
Prince served in the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry during the Korean War. He died in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1977 at age 62.
The stamp shows a photo of Prince in his Korean War uniform in the foreground. The Northern lights in the background “represent the sky above the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, where he was raised,” according to Canada Post.
Inscriptions on the stamp include Prince’s name, followed by “MM” (Military Medal), the years of his birth and death, and “Recipient of the Silver Star.”
A special unveiling of the Tommy Prince stamp took place Oct. 17 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.
Quests at the event included Prince’s son, Tommy Prince Jr.; Canada Post general manager of communications strategy and external engagement Jon Hamilton; Dan Vandal, member of Parliament for Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, Manitoba; Chief Gordon Bluesky of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation; Elder Wanbdi Wakita, the University of Manitoba; and the musicians Thunderbird Drum Group, William Prince, Pvt. Alexina Nault, and the Warriors Drum group of the Winnipeg Rifles.
Blair Thomson, creative director and founder of Believe in Studio, designed the stamp using a photograph from the Library and Archives Canada for the foreground. The northern lights image in the background is by Andy Beaver.
The stamp was printed by Lowe-Martin using four color offset lithography. In addition to the stamp, Canada Post is offering an official first-day cover canceled in St. Peter’s Reserve, Manitoba.
Canada Post has not yet announced the printing totals or the product numbers for the stamp and FDC.
The booklet and FDC will be available on Oct. 28 from Canada Post at www.canadapost.ca/shop, and by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.
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