Eric Stuart Dougall VC, MC

Eric Stuart Dougall (13/04/1886 – 14/04/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 10 April 1918 at Messines, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30726, Page: 6571 reads:

“Lt (A /Capt) Eric Stuart Dougall, M C , late EFA (S R ).

For most conspicuous bravely 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 late 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 his 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 skillful 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.”

He is buried in Westoutre British Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.