Personal info

  • Name: Eric Stuart DOUGALL
  • D.O.B: 13th April, 1886
  • D.O.A: 10th April, 1918
  • D.O.D: 14th April, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Acting Major, A Battery, 88th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 19th Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Messines, Belgium 10 April 1918

10 April 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

After establishing a salient on the Laventie sector of the front on 9 April 1918, the Germans pushed forward to the north on the 10th, capturing Armentières and advancing south of Ypres. 19th Division was forced back to a line running east of Wytschaete and just west of Messines. Acting Captain E S Dougall distinguished himself by his gallantry in the Battle of Messines, finally withdrawing his guns to behind Wytschaete and then north-west to Vierstraat.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery Captain Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid rate of fire Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire, this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody He inspired the infantry with the assurance that “So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here” This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy’s advance for over twelve hours In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine-gun fire Owing to Captain Dougall’s personality and skilful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery 

Twelfth Supplement to The London Gazette of 31 May 1918. 4 June 1918, Numb. 30726, p. 6571

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