Stanley Robert MCDOUGALL VC, MM

MCDOUGALL, Stanley Robert

Service Number: 4061
Enlisted: 30 August 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Recerche, Tasmania, 23 July 1889
Home Town: Scottsdale, Dorset, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Blacksmith
Died: Natural causes, Scottsdale, Tasmania, 7 July 1968, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Norwood Park Crematorium, Mitchell, A.C.T.
Memorials: Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Tasmanian Amateur Athletics Association, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

30 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4061, Claremont, Tasmania
24 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4061, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4061, 15th Infantry Battalion, RMS Orontes, Melbourne
3 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 47th Infantry Battalion, Drafted into 47th Battalion at Tel el Kebir, Egypt
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4061, 47th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
8 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4061, 47th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm
5 May 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 47th Infantry Battalion
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, SN 4061, 47th Infantry Battalion, Messines
4 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 4061, 47th Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge
28 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 4061, 47th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre
5 May 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Sergeant, 48th Infantry Battalion
15 Dec 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 4061, 48th Infantry Battalion

Hero of Dernancourt - Victoria Cross and Military Medal

'For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when the enemy attacked our line, and his first wave succeeded in gaining an entrance. Sergeant McDougall, who was at a post in a flank company, realized the situation, and at once charged the enemy's second wave single handed with rifle and bayonet killing seven and capturing a machine gun which they had. This he turned on to them, firing from the hip, causing many casualties and routing the wave. He then turned his attention to those who had entered, until his ammunition ran out, all the time firing at close quarters, when he seized a bayonet and charged again, killing three men and one enemy officer, who was just about to kill one of our officers. He used a Lewis gun on the enemy, killing many, and enabling us to capture 33 prisoners. The prompt action of this non-commissioned officer saved the line and enabled the enemy's advance to be stopped.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 150
Date: 24 September 1918
Military Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at DERNANCOURT South West of ALBERT on 5th April 1918 during heavy enemy attack, he took a Lewis Gun to a very exposed position where he could enfilade enemy at close quarters up to 30 yards. he maintained his gun until ti was pierced by a bullet, then crawled 300 yards, got another gun and returned to his post in "No Man's Land" where he was responsible for many dead. Later during our counter-attack he organised a platoon after the officer was killed and led them in the attack. He is absolutely fearless and his contempt of danger is amazing as right throughout his conduct has been of a similar high standard.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 185
Date: 27 November 1918
Victoria Cross

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

From the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

Stanley Robert McDougall (1889-1968), soldier and forester, was born on 23 July 1889 at Recherche, Tasmania, son of John Henry McDougall, sawmiller, and his wife Susannah, née Cate. Educated locally, he took up blacksmithing and served his time at this trade. He was an excellent horseman, an expert marksman, a competent bushman and an amateur boxer.

Illness prevented him from enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force until 31 August 1915 when he was posted to the 12th Reinforcements to the 15th Battalion. In Egypt, on 3 March 1916, he was drafted into the 47th Battalion and embarked for France in June. The battalion fought at Pozières Heights in August and in the battles of Messines and Broodseinde in 1917. Appointed lance corporal on 5 May 1917, McDougall was promoted corporal in September; he became temporary sergeant in November and was confirmed in that rank next January.

McDougall was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Dernancourt on 28 March 1918. He was on watch at a post on the 47th's right flank when he heard Germans approaching. When a Lewis-gun team was knocked out by an enemy bomb McDougall snatched up the gun, attacked two machine-gun teams and killed their crews. He turned one of the captured machine-guns on the enemy, killing several and routing one wave of their attack. Meanwhile about fifty Germans had crossed a section of railway which the Australians had held. McDougall turned his gun on them and when his ammunition was spent he seized a bayonet and charged, killing four men. He then used a Lewis-gun, killing many Germans and forcing the surrender of the remaining thirty-three.

Eight days later, in the same location, McDougall won the Military Medal. During a heavy enemy attack he got a gun into position and enfiladed the Germans at close quarters. When the gun was hit he crawled some 300 yards (275 m) under fire to get a replacement; he then took command of the leaderless platoon for the rest of the action. He was posted to the 48th Battalion on 28 May. At Windsor Castle on 19 August he was invested with the Victoria Cross by King George V and shortly afterwards returned to Australia where he was discharged from the A.I.F. on 15 December 1918.

McDougall entered the Tasmanian Forestry Department and in the early 1930s became an inspector in charge of forests in the north-western part of the State. He several times performed outstanding organizational and rescue work during bushfires. He was living at Scottsdale before visiting London for the V.C. centenary in 1956. McDougall died on 7 July 1968 at Scottsdale, survived by his wife Martha, née Anderson-Harrison, whom he had married in 1926; they had no children.

 

J. G. Williams, 'McDougall, Stanley Robert (1889–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mcdougall-stanley-robert-7347/text12759, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 25 June 2016.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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