James BRUCE MC, DCM

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BRUCE, James

Service Number: 21
Enlisted: 3 January 1916, West Maitland, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 34th Infantry Battalion
Born: Oxton, Scotland, December 1877
Home Town: Pelaw Main, Cessnock, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Died: Killed in Action, France, 17 July 1918
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery
Plot VIII, Row C, Grave No. 8
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

3 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 21, West Maitland, New South Wales
2 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 21, 34th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 21, 34th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Sydney
30 Sep 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 34th Infantry Battalion
16 Jul 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, SN 21, 34th Infantry Battalion, GSW right cheek
7 Oct 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 34th Infantry Battalion
7 Nov 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 34th Infantry Battalion
9 Nov 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 34th Infantry Battalion
11 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN 21, 34th Infantry Battalion, GSW Shoulder
14 May 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 34th Infantry Battalion
17 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 34th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"
25 Jul 1918: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, 2nd Passchendaele , He was Captain Clarence Jeffries' Company Sergeant Major during the second battle at Passchendaele. When Jeffries was killed by machine gun fire, and after all remaining officers were killed, Bruce organised the remaining members of the battalion and ordered them to dig a new defence line which was held till the order to withdraw was given.
27 Nov 1918: Honoured Military Cross, Villers-Bretonneux, For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack of the enemy. He led his platoon with great dash, rushing an advanced enemy machine gun position and killing the crew, and capturing the gun. Later, he rushed a trench, taking ten prisoners, killing the remainder and capturing two more machine guns. And again, later, seeing a party of the enemy moving round his flank, he organized and led a party and wiped them out. He set a magnificent example of courage and coolness, and his services were eminently valuable

Lieutenant James Bruce MC DCM.

From Sandgate Cemetery Newcastle Site

James Bruce came to Australia from Scotland when still a child. He eventually married and settled at Pelaw Main, where he worked in the coal mines. He enlisted in The Wallabies recruiting march at Kurri Kurri on January 3rd, 1916 and was drafted into the 34th Infantry Battalion. He left Australia for the battlefields with the rank of Corporal in May, 1916 He was Captain Clarence Jeffries' Company Sergeant Major during the second battle at Passchendaele. When Jeffries was killed by machine gun fire, and after all remaining officers were killed, Bruce organised the remaining members of the battalion and ordered them to dig a new defence line which was held till the order to withdraw was given. For his gallantry he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. For further gallantry at Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant but during a battle at Sailly-le-Sec on July 17th, 1918, he was killed when a German artillery shell exploded.

Officially Lieutenant James Bruce, MC DCM, he was known by the enemy as "The Ginger Haired Devil". He was 39 at the time of his death and was survived by his wife, Louisa, and their children.

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Biography

"LIEUT. BRUCE KILLED

Mrs. James Bruce, of Pelaw Main, has been advised that her husband, First Lieutenant Bruce, D.C.M., M.C., was killed in action in France on July 17. He went away with the 34th Battalion, was awarded the Military Cross, and promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, for gallantry on the field at Villers-Bretonneux. Lieut Bruce was awarded, when a sergeant the D.C.M., at Passchendaele, on October 12, 1917, for conspicuous gallantly and devotion to duty. The news of the bestowal ot the Military Cross was received by Mrs. Bruce only last week." - from the Newcastle Sun 31 Jul 1918 (nla.gov.au)

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