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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure Membership in the Order of the British Empire is one of Britain's highest honours, allowing the inductee to add MBE after his name; though this may cause envy among friends and colleagues, it may not change his status in the household, or impress the wife all that much...

The honouree gets a certificate left, announcing his membership, as well as a badge below.

This MBE document is very rare in that it was personally signed by two sovereigns, which happened only for recipients honoured from 1936-1953.

Membership Certificate, Order of the British Empire, Capt. Walter Hughes, MBE
Orig. document - Image Size - 31 x 38 cm
Found - Stratford, ON
Autographed by King George VI and Queen Mary

A widely held misconception among the general public - and many experts - is that high ranking official documents, awarded for supposed rare acts of service, are actually signed by the royal whose signature appears. In fact it is almost always a fake, deliberately camouflaged to make it look real, which it rarely is. Walter is not the only one who was deceived...

Walter Hughes - 1890-1975

"When you have been saved, regenerated, born again, then join a church-alive church. Join where the preacher loves the Word of God and the souls of men. Keep out of these ecclesiastical deep freezers. A deep freeze is all right for a dead chicken or a chunk of cheese or a leg of lamb, but it is no place for a live baby. A baby must be fed and nourished and given a chance to exercise, vocalize and grow. It couldn't do that in a refrigerator."

Dr. Walter Hughes MBE, was a Bible teacher from Ilderton, Ontario, Canada. He was an evangelist, in an era when that was an elite badge for men of conviction and principle, before charlatans on television debased the coinage.

Walter Hughes was a graduate of Woodstock Baptist College and McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario. He was pastor of the Forward Baptist Church in Toronto for 13 years. He was also a gold and silver medalist in public speaking, and wrote two religious books.

He served in World Wars I and II, and while Captain Chaplain with the Canadian forces, was wounded twice.

He was made a member of "The Order of the British Empire," and was decorated "for gallant and outstanding service in Northwest Europe ."

For God and the Empire: Unlike the rubber stamped notices that next-of-kin got, announcing regrets for the loss of a loved one, on the battlefields of Europe, the MBE document was personally signed, for Walter Hughes, by the hands of two sovereigns, the reigning George VI (reigned 1936-1952) as well as the Grand Master of the Order, his mother, Queen Mary (reigned 1911-1935).

The Sovereign of the Order is the Reigning Monarch. The next highest dignitary is the Grand Master of whom there have been only three: Edward, Prince of Wales, (1917-1936), his mother Queen Mary following his abdication (1936-1953), and since her death, the Duke of Edinburgh.

There are five classifications of the Order of the British Empire: Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight or Dame Commander (KBE or DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), or Member (MBE). Walter Hughes was inducted as a Member of the Military Division, denoted by the central pearl grey stripe in the middle of the ribbon above.

Supposedly the Government of the day - read a succession of minor clerks somewhere - prepares lists of worthy recipients, and recommends them to the Reigning Sovereign who - in this case George VI - makes the appointment. (Truth be told, it's the butler's assistant who does the work.)

Actually it's all done pro forma - just going through the motions, because the royals are just too busy... The whole award business is an assembly line of rubber stamping by part time clerks...

Captain Walter Hughes, MBE, Chaplain - 1890-1975

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The whole idea of Royals stamping their autographs, to the great applause of the unwashed masses, probably got started by Queen Victoria who had a semi-literate "I wish you a happy New year" (sic) stamped on to tin chocolate boxes for all her troops in the Boer War.

No one would dare tell the Queen, "C'mon Queenie, put caps on Happy New Year. Everybody knows that. Everyone is gonna see this. 'Y wouldna want the world to think the Royals didn't go very far in school? Wudja now dearie?"

The positive response from the grateful recipients was such that court strategists decided they were on to something...

Her grandson George then made phony stamped signatures of the Royals a regular fact of life at the Georgian court in World War I, to go along with everything else that was already phony there.

This took a considerable load off the Royals who now found they could take in many more balls, since life was so gloomy, what with all the men fighting overseas, an all...

Prince Charles is the first royal to go to university and his marks had to be artificially boosted to get him to meet the entrance requirements.

We can recall this incident while teaching Upper School at a British Residential School in East Africa in the 1960s, when his mark boosting in England made the news and protests were heard, especially from the egalitarian-minded Canadians and Americans, who believed you should get ahead on merit alone.

This outraged the Brits on staff. We especially recall the sputtering anger of our British Vice-Principal who barked, that mark boosting was all entirely proper for young Charles.

"What do you mean who is he anyway? HE'S THE PRINCE OF WALES THAT'S WHO."

Ah, British royalists...

No wonder they lost the Empire; people in the Colonies just wouldn't put up with such meritless tomfoolery any more...

And don't tell us we weren't right about Charles...

Chocolate Box "from Queen Victoria" for the troops in South Africa

Original tin framed - Size - 13.5" x 17"
Found - Jordan, ON
Original framed & glass, all in mint condition with chocolate still inside

Go to Fake Queen's Chocolate Tin



Go to the Queen's Chocolate Box




Go to George V's Loving Cup


Viscount Byng of Vimy

Right is a blow up of Byng's original signature from his portrait.

Also shown are two other original signatures, one from a Byng letter, another from a Byng Christmas card.

The variations one should expect in a genuine original signature - you, know, like your own - becomes clear. Compare the "B."

Clearly Byng personally signed documents that he valued. He wouldn't dream of "rubber stamping" signatures on important papers.

To check the authenticity of any signatures, check the internet. Many autograph dealers and museums publish letters with signatures against which you can check yours.



The Byng autographs underline the callous shallowness and value of a "Royal Gesture."

What would you rather have - "a letter from the King" or the signed portrait of Viscount Byng of Vimy?

Precisely, and that is why all these "letters from the King" are completely worthless, both from a personal and an antique point of view, and Byng's portrait is valuable.

He cared enough to sign that very document with his own hand... And the Royal didn't...

And Byng's Christmas wishes for his correspondent were genuine, not facetious, like George's supposed greeting for Driver Dale...

It is why people prize real signatures:

Go to Real Historical Autographs
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous autographed photogelatine engraving of "Good Old Bungo."

It is of course Field Marshall Viscount Byng of Vimy who has signed this large portrait in his own hand.

He was commanding the Canadians when they won their storied victory in 1917 at Vimy Ridge during World War I.

He directed the Battle of Cambrai which was a turning point in the war when tanks were used for the first time. At the end of the war he was commanding the largest army on the Western Front.

He was a wildly popular choice among Canadian veterans when he was made Governor-General of Canada in 1921-26.

Like other esteemed generals before him, he became Commissioner of the London Police Force - regarded as the leading Police Officer of the United Kingdom.

No "Blackberry General" he; Lord Byng's medals are all, soaked in blood - his own and the enemies of his Queen.

They are a testament to how many times he fought in the front rank - when brother officers were killed - in the Sudan and South Africa.

Like other Victorian generals he is lucky to have survived at all...

With the likes of Lord Byng, the great Victorian and Edwardian British general officer class passed from the scene and out of history.

Ah... they were a different breed of men. And worthy heroes for Victorian boys and girls.

There is no comparison with Canada's modern Blackberry generals whose medals are all, only service badges for putting in time in the civil service till they retire to become war lobbyists...

Daily they die of administritis - shuffling papers and moving board magnets and toy soldiers, wishing they could have been real generals like Napoleon, Roberts, Byng, Gordon, Wauchope, Penn Symons, Woodgate...

... and die a glorious death, instead of just rotting away, and ending their days in thrall, as servile paid-off hacks, for some cackling foreign war lobby bagman... like Karlheinz Schreiber...

It is not what Bungo, Bobs, or Mac, would ever have done... They thought generals should stand up for principle... not principal...

Signed Photogelatine Engraving - Field Marshall, Viscount Byng of Vimy, 1862-1935
Orig. engraving - Image Size - 41 x 51 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Go to Great Victorian\Edwardian Generals

A Letter from the King...

We show here a typical web page honouring the military service of a cherished family member.

UK Driver Leslie Dale's most prized possession seems to have been his British Empire Medal (Military Division).

Given pride of place on the family's web page is the note from King George VI, sending his regrets that he wouldn't be able to present the medal himself.

But what a guy Georgie was! Amid all the gazillion affairs of state - you know, Princess Di and the bodyguard, and the chauffeur, and the butler, and the doctor, and the... - the King took time to send a personal note saying that he wouldn't be able to make it, this once...

How many generations of family and friends were shown the letter from the King. "Ah," you could hear the old timers say, "We sure miss his kind today. Always thinking about the common people, ee did, sur 'nuff."

In big black letters the web page proudly states:

"Letter from King George VI."

The family publishes the letter and below it offers a:

"Transcript of the letter from Buckingham Palace signed by King George VI."

Leslie was no doubt a brave soldier and laid his life on the line, probably more than once. Very much like his Canadian cousin Walter Hughes.

He surely deserves a commendation of the highest order for being prepared to give it all up for the common good.

And a simple letter , signed by the hand of the King, would go some way towards that... One grand gesture for another...

We have a family member who paid the supreme sacrifice.

He too deserved the highest honour possible for what he did. He was killed...

A personal letter, signed by the King, would be a nice touch...

We don't have one, so feel the Dales are very fortunate to have received one from the King just for being a participant in the War.

Go to Lest We Forget

But wait a minute... something about that royal signature looks familiar...

Sorry... It's just our suspicious nature. Think nothing of it...


The Home Guard Commendation

Why there's one of the hundreds of thousands of Home Guard commendations that King George awarded to men and women around Britain for guarding the Home Front while the men were overseas fighting, and he and the Royal Family were off to the hounds...

It recognized that the person might very well lose his life in the effort.

Thousands did, while trying to extract men, women, and children who were trapped by the bombing and might have burned to death, had it not been for the brave civilian volunteers who rushed in regardless of personal danger.

Somewhere along the line, someone probably suggested to George that these brave Britons should get a certificate signed by His Majesty, thanking them.

But wait a minute... That signature looks virtually the same as... What! You don't mean! They would use a rubber stamp on these?

Well, not Walter's MBE stamp, this time, for the Home Guard job, but clearly the signature right is a perfect match for the signature on the Driver Dale letter above.

Now it can be told! Driver Dale's letter was not signed by the king at all but stamped by a lowly clerk in a sweatshop somewhere. So there were at least two rubber stamps for George's signatures.

So clearly Georgie never signed his own name on any paper for a deceased veteran, let alone a living one, or his family...

That was a really good idea King George V originally had. Or anyway, one of his clerks. It was during his time that the whole rubber stamp thing started, to make it easy to sign all the commissions for military officers during World War I.

General Haig was killing them off so fast on the Western Front, the King was complaining he was getting hand cramps trying to keep up with signing all the commissions needed for the replacements.

"Better get a rubber stamp," barked Haig, "cause I'm gonna be busy."

And so the rubber stamp signature was born. And most people have been fooled ever since, with literally millions believing they have "an original note from the King. God Bless Him."

Postscript - Once having finished reading this page, what should the Dales do with their fake "letter signed by the King?"

There's no harm in keeping it as a family legend...

Just don't try to sell it as a rare item during hard times.

There are millions of these rubber stamped little notes out there, printed out by the lower orders in the basement at Buckingham Palace, while the Royals themselves were, as usual, busy "off to the hounds," you know, the "unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable."

Sadly, in spite of all the family hooplah, this note is not even worth the paper it's printed on. And has no King's signature of any kind.

No royal hand touched this; no royal eyes saw this; no royal even knew anything about this note; and certainly no royal had even a passing concern, about Driver Dale's "future happiness."

It's all part of the political apparatus used in "Democracies" to make the common people feel they really mean something, while the rich and powerful do exactly what they please with the organs of state and all the tax money...

Deceiving the Dales

The levels of deception in the Dale letter are multiple. "I greatly regret" is a blatant lie, as is "I now send it to you" along with "my congratulations" and "my best wishes." The personal stuff is total fake.

They could have done the honest thing, and said "the King won't be able to" and "the Government offers its congratulations" etc. But that wouldn't impress. And then people might not want to lay down their lives for such tepid thanks. So, enter levels of deception to con the hoi polloi.

This was a Buckingham Palace conveyor belt operation, all fake and deliberately done to deceive.

The Dales would be most unhappy to learn that their letter may very likely never even have come from Buckingham Palace at all but from a printing plant somewhere in another part of London. So the Buckingham Palace stamp as the place of origin is very likely a fake too.

The letter came, at best, from the mail room in the basement of Buckingham Palace, and certainly not the King's ante room.

And the signature?

Stamped by the laundry staff in between shifting loads of the Royals' undies between washer and drier...

But you protest, "It's the thought that counts." No it's not; the Dales, and thousands like them thought it was the "personal care of the King" that counted, not a third party thought by some minor government functionary. And that is why it graces the very top of a lengthy web page detailing Driver Dale's accomplishments.

And besides, there was no "thought" about Driver Dale at all, just a never ending printing press, grinding out propaganda, and wasting trees, for no good purpose. No honest purpose, anyway...

Another insight into the British "Nobility," the usefulness of the Royal Family, and how the common people, who sacrifice their lives for the good of the nation, are hoodwinked into believing they matter in the scheme of things...

Those Faking Royals

Now that you've read all that, and learned how rare an honour an MBE is, we're going to have to disappoint you.

Walter's royal signatures, though they look real and are ink, on his ultra rare Honour, are fakes.

His MBE certificate was run off with all the ceremony and care of a xerox machine.

And Mary and George...? Hell, they never heard of Walter, or his good deeds, whatever they were.

Sorry, they were too busy watching after their dysfunctional family to notice Walter, or any of the other MBE's, who get mass produced medals and xerox forms of commendation.

So nothing really changed for Walter, since he was in public school and got a xeroxed report card.

But there at least it was filled out by a real person and signed by the author.

After that it was all downhill.

When Walter got to the top of the heap - hell he had put his life on the line - he got a xerox sheet with a stamped signature done by the royal's maid, in between ironing sheets and shining shoes for His Majesty.

Below Walter's black bordered "autographs" right we post, for comparison, another set of supposed "original" signatures from another "rare" MBE form, this one from the UK above. They prove to be mirror images of ours, not original signatures. Slightly offset but clearly from a stamp... by a minor official.


Mary, How Could You? - Frankly we wouldn't have believed this gaucherie was possible, from a royal, at that elevated level of significant award.

But we were floored when a viewer sent us a copy of their MBE certificate, asking if it was valuable.

We took one look, and blanched... You compare the original "signatures" of the royals. They are real ink on the paper and could fool you. But it's ink from a pad, not a pen...

Good thing that Walter is dead. He would have been shocked that the real ink on his certificate actually also came from a stamp wielded by a groom or butler, not by His or Her Majesty.

They don't even have several stamps of signatures to add a bit of variety.

It makes a person wonder, just what are they paying the Royals for, out of the public purse, if the Finest Generation - including those who died for their country - only get xerox thanks and dupe art, for their service from them.


By George! - The stamping certainly came in handy for George who was hardly the brightest light in the Kingdom.

He could hardly remember a sentence; found it almost impossible to read - as any recordings of his speeches make painfully clear - and must have found writing anything legible a great difficulty. Which is why his signature is such an awkward grade schoolish mix of writing and print. Certainly a suggested creation from a private secretary.

"Now don't fret Georgie. You'll only have to do this once. Then we'll make a rubber stamp..."

But it all sort of makes a guy want to think twice before deciding to offer up his life for his noble King and Queen...

... or curtsy for that matter...

No wonder, in God Save the Queen, the second verse ends with:

"On Thee our hopes we fix; God Save Us All."

Ok, so Walter didn't really have to die for his country. So what's the beef? He got his medal, didn't he?

Actually the families of the men who did die for their country during World War I, got a letter of condolence for their loss, that was also signed with the personal signature of none other than King George V.

Well OK, that signature also looks real, and many that turn up at auctions along with medals of deceased veterans, are indeed passed off by auctioneers as "signed by the King." They're fake too. Stamped by some POW in an underground dungeon...

Believe me, you get nothing worth anything, for dying for your country...

As US General Patton once said, "The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his."

Now you know why...

Xerox paper, rubber stamps, fake signatures, and mass produced medals, are all you end up with otherwise...

Right is the official letter that accompanied all the dupe art, playing up the importance, by asking you to acknowledge receiving the xeroxed signatures...

Even "earnestly..." They knew that fakery was afoot and didn't want it to leak out...

Those Faking Royals

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The Three Spires of Coventry, E. Boye Uden, Nov. 1940
Orig. watercolour - Size - 36 x 55 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

A fabulous watercolour showing the three spires of Coventry engulfed in flames after a German bombing in World War II. In among the collapsing buildings volunteers are scrambling with bleeding fingers trying to rescue men, women, and children trapped by the debris. Many will die in the heroic rescues, probably over 1,000 in all.

Rescuers will get a Home Guard certificate, rubber stamped by King George's clerk...

Ernst Boye Uden - 1911-1986

E Boye Uden became a successful commercial artist and illustrator. He was a Member of the Royal Institute.

During World War II he was a war artist.

Below the view from which he painted. This whole historic area was completely burned out.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous souvenir of a terrible time. Enshrined forever in these crevices are the shrieking wails of sirens, the cries of crushed and burning victims, the crashing of timbers, the roar of flames, and over it all the drone of bombers as their ruthless pilots drop their deadly cargo into a sea of helpless humanity below...

It's unforgivable, really...

Rock Debris, British House of Commons, World War II
Orig. stone debris - Size - 9 x 10 x 3 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

It's unbelievable but true, that the descendants of these very victims are doing exactly the same thing, right now,
to innocent civilian Muslim children, women, and men in Afghanistan... and have been for years...
Killing thousands, and bombing, burning, shelling, shooting, eviscerating, wounding hundreds, week after week...

"One person's collateral damage, is another's fiancée." Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star

But then, they're not white or Judeo-Christian, so I suppose it's forgivable...