Case study

WW1 Australian VC recipient Stanley Robert McDougall

The story of Australian First World War recipient Stanley Robert McDougall.

Stanley Robert McDougall
Credit: Australian War Memorial A05155

66 men from Australia received the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, during the First World War. As part of the Centenary Commemorations the people of the United Kingdom marked their gratitude to those courageous men by presenting a bronze memorial plaque to their home country engraved with their names. The plaque is now displayed at the Australian War Memorial. This archive tells their stories.

Name: Stanley Robert McDougall

DOB: 23 July 1889

Place of Birth: Recherche, Tasmania, Australia

Date of Action: 28 March 1918

Place of Action: Dernancourt, France

Rank: Sergeant

Regiment: 47th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

Stanley Robert McDougall was born on 23 July 1889 in Tasmania, Australia. He worked as a blacksmith before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1915. He saw action at Pozières, Messines and Broodseinde.

McDougall was a sergeant with the 47th Battalion when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 28 March 1918 at Dernancourt in France. An enemy attack was succeeding when he charged the second wave of attackers killing seven, capturing a machine gun and causing many casualties. His citation explains further:

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when the enemy attacked our line and his first wave succeeded in gaining an entry. 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 an 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 thirty-three prisoners.The prompt action of this non-commissioned officer saved the line and enabled the enemy’s advance to be stopped.

Only eight days later, in the same location, Sergeant McDougall received the Military Medal for his actions during an enemy attack. After the war, McDougall worked with the Tasmanian Forestry Department. He died in 1968, and his VC is held at the Australian War Memorial.

Published 20 June 2016