In February 2007 this medal went up for sale on E-Bay, creating something of an uproar. I found at least 4 online reports (my apologies if these URL's expire)
CBC report, price hits about $1,800
CBC report, final sale report
Orders, Decorations and Medals of Canada (do a edit find search for 'Fenton' to locate the data fast)
Fenton Victory Medal to stay in Canada, the way I found this one was to simply scan down the page, date wise it is about February 21, 2007, the search function did not bring up the article when using only 'Fenton' as the search term.
After the sale I even find a report on the CTV.ca from which I have copied some of the text:
"The Victory Medals were given to every Allied soldier who served in the war. Canadians received 350,000 of the nearly six million that were handed out.
Fenton's Nova Scotia-based battalion did logging, forestry and general construction work overseas. While all of 600-plus regular soldiers were black, all but one of its commanding officers were white.
Fenton's enlistment papers indicate that he was 17 years old when he enlisted in the battalion in 1916.
After serving as a sapper, a type of military engineer, Fenton returned home after the war and was discharged. He later died after falling ill.
Fenton's relatives have objected to the sale, saying the medal belongs in a museum."
Percy's medal ended up in the collection of the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. The centre informs me that the medal is currently part of the main floor display.
Above: This photo of Percy Fenton is owned by Lawrence Patrick Fenton, grandnephew of Percy, and is used with his permission. For years it was in a frame behind another photo. The frame and photo came into Lawrence's possession in 2004.
I have been told that there is more information about Percy, including a photo of him as a young man, in the work, "Africa's Children, A History of Blacks in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia" by Sharon-Robart Johnson. The book can be ordered from Global Genealogy. Another book on the subject is "The Black Battalion 1916 - 1920 Canada's Best kept Military Secret" by Calvin W. Ruck. I found this book listed on Amazon.com. I have not seen either book.
Percy's death certificate which can be viewed at Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics reveals that his death was from pulmonary tuberculosis. His parents were William Franklin Fenton and Ida Jarvis Fenton.
Reconnected Roots. Percy was not an American, as in United States Citizen, however, I think the Carnival will allow my pushing the geographic limits to include this Canadian who honorably served.
*Contact information for Lawrence Patrick Fenton can be obtained from this blogger. All permissions to use his photo of Percy Fenton must be obtained from Lawrence, please respect his ownership of this wonderful artifact. Note: I have edited/cropped the original photo for the purposes of this blog.
Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence