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John Keefer Mahony
Born 30 June 1911
Died 15 December 1990 (aged 79)
Place of birth New Westminster, British Columbia
Place of death London, Ontario
Allegiance Canadian Red Ensign (1921–1957) Canada
Service/branch Flag of the Canadian Army.svg Canadian Army
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit The Westminster Regiment
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Victoria Cross

John Keefer Mahony VC (30 June 1911 – 15 December 1990) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Mahony was born in New Westminster, British Columbia[1] and was 32 years old, and a Major in The Westminster Regiment, Canadian Army, (Canadian Infantry Corps) during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 24 May 1944 at the River Melfa, Italy, Major Mahony and his company were ordered to establish the initial bridgehead over the river. This was accomplished in conjunction with the tanks of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and for five hours the company maintained its position in the face of enemy fire and attack until the remaining companies and supporting weapons were able to reinforce them. Early in the action Major Mahony was wounded in the head and twice in the leg, but he refused medical aid and continued to direct the defence of the bridgehead. The enemy saw that this officer was the soul of the defence and consequently made him their particular target.[2]

Mahony was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and retired from the Army in 1962.

The Westminster Regiment continues to serve in Canada's Army Reserves, and were honoured with the title "Royal" in 1969.

Mahony died on 15 December 1990 in London, Ontario


  1. "DHH - Victoria Cross Bios - John Keefer Mahony". Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  2. Oldfield, Major J.E.: The Westminster's War Diary, pages 74-107. Mitchel Press, 1964.

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