Personal info

  • Name: Robert SHANKLAND
  • D.O.B: 10th October, 1887
  • D.O.A: 26th October, 1917
  • D.O.D: 20th January, 1968
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, 43rd Battalion The Manitoba Regiment, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
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West of Passchendaele, Belgium 26 October 1917

26 October 1917

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The First World War 1917 

After the failed advance on 12 October 1917, Sir Douglas Haig brought in Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie and the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On 26 October he launched the Second Battle of Passchendaele. The Canadian 4th Division advanced south of the Ravebeek, which the rains had turned into a quagmire. At the same time two brigades of 3rd Division attacked the Bellevue and Wallemollen spurs to the north of the stream. Bellevue was crossed by the road from Ypres through Meetcheele to Oostnieuwkerke. North of the road, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles found their path blocked by a pillbox north of Wolf Copse. This was captured by Private T W Holmes. Elsewhere the advance encountered heavy resistance but Lieutenant R Shankland, 43rd Battalion Manitoba Regiment, succeeded in establishing a position on the crest of Bellevue Ridge, though for a time he was out of contact with headquarters. After the initial attack appeared to have stalled, reserves including 52nd Battalion The Manitoba Regiment, were brought forward and managed to clear German pillboxes and repel counter-attacks. Acting Captain C P J O’Kelly distinguished himself in this work. The Canadians thus laid the groundwork for the second phase of the Battle on 30 October.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and resource in action under critical and adverse conditions. Having gained a position he rallied the remnant of his own platoon and men of other companies, disposed them to command the ground in front, and inflicted heavy casualties upon the retreating enemy. Later, he dispersed a counter-attack, thus enabling supporting troops to come up unmolested. He then personally communicated to Battalion Headquarters an accurate and valuable report as to the position on the Brigade frontage, and after doing so rejoined his command and carried on until relieved. His courage and splendid example inspired all ranks and coupled with his great gallantry and skill undoubtedly saved a very critical situation. 

Fifth Supplement to The London Gazette of 14 December 1917. 18 December 1917, Numb. 30433, p. 13222

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