Designated in 2015 as an Exceptional Person From the Past.

Nominator: Clem Drake, Kiwanis Club of Kelligrews

Thomas Ricketts was a teenage inshore fisherman from Middle Arm, White Bay, who joined the Newfoundland Regiment at age 15. His actions during an Allied Forces offensive in Belgium in October 1918 led to his receipt of the Victoria Cross. This was the highest award for valour in the face of the enemy the British Empire could bestow upon a soldier. Ricketts was the youngest soldier serving with the British Army during The Great War to receive this distinguished award.

He rose from an illiterate fisherman to the province’s greatest war hero. Upon his return to the province he took the opportunity to gain an education, becoming a respected pharmacist in St. John’s. His legacy lies not just in the battlefield, but in his determination to change his life through initiative and hard work.

LEARN MORE > Commemorations Research Paper – Newfoundland’s Reluctant War Hero: Thomas Ricketts V.C., by Frank Gogos


Sgt. Thomas Ricketts Memorial Park

Military Service Files

Countdown to July 1st – Forgotten Hero – The Tommy Ricketts Story (Video)

Stories from Beaumont-Hamel: Private Thomas Ricketts, V.C. (Video)

Answering the Call: 100 Years Later (Video)


Thomas Ricketts, aged 17. From Royal Newfoundland Regiment Website.

Poem sold at John Burke’s, 62 Prescott Street, St. John’s. From The Rooms Archives.

1919 photo by Holloway Studios, St. John’s. The Rooms Archives.

1919 photo by Holloway Studios, St. John’s. The Rooms Archives.

From trip to London in 1929 to attend a reunion of VC recipients. From Toronto Star Archives.

Advertisement in Public Bureau Xmas Number 1936. From Memorial University Digital Archives.

Newspaper clipping from Royal Newfoundland Regiment Scrapbook #2. From Memorial University Digital Archives.
Thomas Ricketts in 1957. From The Canadian Encyclopedia.

1967 State Funeral for Thomas Ricketts. From Kiwanis Club of Kelligrews Website.