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Robert Edward Cruickshank

Robert Cruickshank was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on June 17, 1888. His family moved to England when Cruishank was very young. After leaving school, he worked as a salesman and joined the Territorial Army in 1908.

When the First World War broke out, Cruickshank volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps but transferred to the London Scottish Regiment. He was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in France before being sent to serve in the Middle East.

On May 1, 1918, Private Cruickshank’s platoon came under heavy fire east of the Jordan River in Palestine and sought cover in a ‘wadi’ (valley or dry river). With the men desperately needing assistance, he volunteered to deliver a message to company headquarters.

"The platoon to which Private Cruickshank belonged came under very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire at short range and was led down a steep bank into a wadi, most of the men being hit before they reached the bottom. Immediately after reaching the bottom of the wadi the officer in command was shot dead, and the sergeant who then took over command sent a runner back to Company Headquarters asking for support, but was mortally wounded almost immediately after; the corporal having in the meantime been killed, the only remaining N.C.O. (a lance-corporal), believing the first messenger to have been killed, called for a volunteer to take a second message back.

Private Cruickshank immediately responded and rushed up the slope, but was hit and rolled back into the wadi bottom. He again rose and rushed up the slope, but, being again wounded, rolled back into the wadi. After his wounds had been dressed he rushed a third time up the slope and again fell badly wounded. Being now unable to stand he rolled himself back amid a hail of bullets. His wounds were now of such a nature as to preclude him making any further attempt and he lay all day in a dangerous position, being sniped at and again wounded where he lay. He displayed the utmost valour and endurance, and was cheerful and uncomplaining throughout.”

- Victoria Cross citation, The London Gazette, June 21, 1916

Robert Edward Cruickshank

Robert Edward Cruickshank

Cruickshank survived and returned to England where he was hailed as a hero, receiving his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace on October 24, 1918. After the war, he returned to his career in sales and became very active in the British Legion. When the Second World War erupted, Cruickshank volunteered to serve in the Home Guard and reached the rank of Major.

Cruickshank died on August, 30 1961 and his ashes were interred at Glen Parva Parish Church, England.

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