Personal info

  • Name: Thain Wendell MacDOWELL
  • D.O.B: 16th September, 1890
  • D.O.A: 13th April, 1917
  • D.O.D: 29th March, 1960
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, 38th Ottawa Battalion Eastern Ontario Regiment, 4th Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
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Vimy Ridge, France 9-13 April 1917

9-13 April 1917

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The First World War 1917 

In the Battle of Arras, which began on 9 April 1917, troops of the Canadian Expeditionary Force were at the north of the line, where it ran along the foot of Vimy Ridge. The Ridge lay astride the road north from Arras towards Lens. The 4th Canadian Division advanced against the northern end of the Ridge, faced with capturing its highest ground, Hill 145 (site of the present Canadian Memorial) and The Pimple, a hill which formed the furthest extension north of the Ridge. The Pimple did not fall until the 12th (see Corporal J Cunningham VC below). In the course of the fighting at Hill 145 on the 9th, Captain T W MacDowell, 38th Battalion, assisted by two runners, Privates Hay and Kebus, captured a German underground emplacement, seventy-seven enemy soldiers and two machine-guns. He then held out for five days until relieved. In the line immediately to the south, east of the village of Neuville-St-Vaast, were the 3rd and 2nd Canadians. Lance Sergeant E W Sifton, Western Ontario Regiment, 2nd Canadian Division, captured an enemy gun in the attack here. At the southern end of the Ridge were the 1st Canadians. Thélus soon fell to them and they pressed on towards Farbus. It was at Thélus that Private W J Milne, 16th Battalion Manitoba Regiment, distinguished himself. On 10 April 1917, the Canadians sought to clear those parts of the Ridge east of Hill 145, where the Germans were mounting a tenacious resistance. It was during this action that Private J G Pattison, 50th Battalion Alberta Regiment, disabled an enemy machine-gun.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and indomitable resolution in face of heavy machine gun and shell fire. By his initiative and courage this officer, with the assistance of two runners, was enabled, in face of great difficulties, to capture two machine guns, besides two officers and seventy-five men. Although wounded in the hand, he continued for five days to hold the position gained, in spite of heavy shell fire, until eventually relieved by his battalion. By his bravery and prompt action he undoubtedly succeeded in rounding up a very strong enemy machine post. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 8 June 1917. 8 June 1917, Numb. 30122, p. 5702

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