#OTD Robert Spall, of the PPCLI, performed actions which would see him awarded the Victoria Cross.
Robert Spall joined the Canadian military in Aug 1915, initially signing up with the 90th Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles) CEF, and later being posted to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry where he eventually attained the rank of sergeant.
Spall earned the Victoria Cross in over the course of 12-13 Aug 1918 during an enemy counter-attack against the PPCLI’s position, where his platoon became isolated during the heavy fighting. Taking a Lewis gun, he inflicted numerous casualties, then descended into the trench and directed his men into a sap seventy-five metres from the enemy. He again mounted the parapet of the trench and resumed his fire in order to further hold up the enemy. It was at this point that he was killed; Spall sacrificed his life in order to extricate his platoon from a difficult situation, and his bravery allowed his men to be saved.
Victoria Cross citation:
"For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice when, during an enemy counter-attack, his platoon was isolated. Thereupon Sjt. Spall took a Lewis gun and, standing on the parapet, fired upon the advancing enemy, inflicting very severe casualties. He then came down the trench directing the men into a sap seventy-five yards from the enemy. Picking up another Lewis gun, this gallant N.C.O. again climbed the parapet, and by his fire held up the enemy. It was while holding up the enemy at this point that he was killed.
Sjt. Spall deliberately gave his life in order to extricate his platoon from a most difficult situation, and it was owing to his bravery that the platoon was saved." (London Gazette, no.30975, 26 Oct 1918) "First in the Field"
#Canada #Army #Infantry #WW1 #WorldWar1 #GreatWar #CEF #PPCLI #Last100days #VC #VictoriaCross #Valour