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Feature Exhibits

The feature exhibit offers visitors an annually changing theme. Previous exhibits have highlighted past Lieutenant Governors, royal visits and even certain time periods of Government House. You can also find travelling exhibits featured here.  I

Feature exhibits are located right across from the F.W. Johnson Entrance.

There will be a new exhibit coming in 2024 so check back to see when this exhibit debuts or follow us on Facebook for all the exciting going-ons at Government House.

Past Exhibits!

Victoria Cross

October 26 - November 12, 2023

Thanks to the partnership of The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, Government House was honoured to host the Lieutenant Robert Combe Victoria Cross Medal.

The public had a rare opportunity to view this precious artifact on Thursday, October 26, 2023 from 10:00 am to noon.

For the remainder of Remembrance, a replica medal was on display at Government House. The medal was part of a Remembrance exhibit that includes informational banners about each of the Combe and 7 other Victoria Cross recipients who have lived in Saskatchewan. These banners were created by the Royal United Services Institute of Regina and are part of their mission to honour the Canadian Armed Forces and its members past and present.

Lt. Robert Combe was born in Scotland in 1880 and emigrated to Canada around 1906, initially settling in Moosomin and later coming to Mellville to open and run a drug store. In 1915 he volunteered for service in the First World War and was assigned to the 53rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

When the battalion arrived in England it was broken up to provide replacements for the battalions fighting in France and Belgium. At that time, then Major Combe, was tasked to train troops preparing to deploy to the fighting battalions on the continent. Combe wanted to join the fighting force rather than remain safely in England training the troops to face the horror of the European battlefields without him. In the fighting force it was the junior officer that were in the front taking casualties and if Maj. Combe wanted to go to the front, he would have to relinquish his rank and serve as a lieutenant leading a platoon into battle and that is just what he did.

Initially he was assigned to the 28th Battalion but fell ill and when well enough to go back to the front he was assigned to the 27th Battalion where he served with distinction until his final battle on 3 May 1917 in the area of Vimy Ridge, France. For his action on that day, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross is the Commonwealth’s highest honour for valour and Lt. Combe was certainly worthy of the medal.

His citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery and example. He steadied his Company under intense fire, and led them through the enemy barrage, reaching the objective with only five men. With great coolness and courage Lt. Combe proceeded to bomb the enemy, and inflicted heavy casualties. He collected small groups of men and succeeded in capturing the Company objective, together with eighty prisoners. He repeatedly charged the enemy, driving them before him, and, whilst personally leading his bombers, was killed by an enemy sniper. His conduct inspired all ranks, and it was entirely due to his magnificent courage that the position was carried, secured and held.” London Gazette, no.30154, 27 June 1917

Bombers were the soldiers that carried and threw the mills bombs which today we would call hand grenades.

After the fight Lt. Combe’s body was placed with other soldiers in a temporary grave sight which was later obliterated by fighting, presumably by an artillery barrage. As with all Canadian military personnel lost in France with no known grave his name is engraved on the Canadian National War Memorial atop Vimy Ridge. It is engraved simply as R.G Combe VC.

Lt. Robert Grierson Combe V C displayLt. Robert Grierson Combe VC display  Replicas of the Victoria Cross, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal

 

Rehab - Rest - Recreation
Government House Convalescent Period 1945-1957

This exhibit explores a less talked about period of Government House. The building, grounds and residents of this time were all very different from the previous 54 years.

Panel of the Convalescent Period of Government House SK showcasing the ballroom as a hospital ward.

Government House opened as a convalescent home on August 12, 1946. Healing, therapy, and sports were the three pillars of rehabilitation. The facility was available to veterans with pensions or who had seen wartime service, and who did not need active medical treatment.

This was a time of great change for Government House. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) established rehabilitation centres across the country. By June 1957, sixty-five veterans between the ages of 50 and 90 were living at Government House.