Leo Major

01.23.1921 - 10.12.2008

Canadian Army Service

Army Sergeant of WWII and The Korean War


Leo Major, decorated Canadian hero of WWII and the Korean War, was known for being the only Canadian to win the Distinguished Conduct Medal in two wars.

Major enlisted in the Canadian Army when he was 19 and was sent overseas in 1941. He was amongst the Canadian forces that landed on Normandy and was injured by a phosphorus grenade while fighting a group of German SS soldiers, and he lost partial vision in his left eye. He refused to be evacuated as he only needed his right eye to sight his rifle.

Major was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal after he single-handedly liberated the Dutch Town of Zwolle by tricking the local German Garrison into believing that there was a much larger Canadian force attacking the town and lit the SS headquarters on fire.

In 1950, he volunteered for service in the Korean War. He was tasked to recapture Hill 355, which had been taken from American troops by the Chinese army. Taking 20 snipers and scouts, they infiltrated the Chinese Camps. For three days they held the hill against counterattacks, Major was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions. 

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