James Lennox Dawson

James Lennox Dawson

James Lennox Dawson VC (25 December 1891- 15 February 1967) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Dawson enlisted into the 5th Cameronians in November 1914, but transferred to the Royal Engineers in March 1915.

VC action

He was 23 years old, and a corporal in the 187th Company, Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 13 October 1915 at Hohenzollern Redoubt, France, during a gas attack, when the trenches were full of men, Corporal Dawson exposed himself fearlessly to the enemy's fire in order to give directions to his sappers and to clear the infantry out of sections of the trench which were full of gas. Finding three leaking cylinders, he rolled them well away from the trench, again under heavy fire, and then fired rifle bullets into them to let the gas escape. His gallantry undoubtedly saved many men from being gassed.

Later career

He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in December 1916 and demobilised as a Major in 1919. After graduating from Glasgow University he was commissioned in the Army Education Corps in 1920, but transferred to the Indian Army Ordnance Corps in 1931.

He later achieved the rank of colonel. By co-incidence his second cousin (their fathers were first cousins) James Dalgleish Pollock was also awarded the Victoria Cross in the same battle at the Hohenzolleren Redoubt. He too saved his colleagues from certain death by climbing out of the trench and bombing German infiltrators out of the British lines. Both boys were born in the small Scottish town of Tillicoultry, though James Dawson's family moved to the county town of Alloa when he was eight. Both were considered local heroes in 1915 and were feted in Alloa and Tillicoultry in separate civic receptions, allied to recruitment drives.


*Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
*The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
*The Sapper VCs (Gerald Napier, 1998)
*Scotland's Forgotten Valour (Graham Ross, 1995)
*VCs of the First World War - The Western Front 1915 (Peter F. Batchelor & Christopher Matson, 1999)

External links

* [http://www.remuseum.org.uk/rem_his_vc.htm#1d Royal Engineers Museum] Sappers VCs
* [http://www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/stewart/sussex.htm Location of grave and VC medal] "(East Sussex)"

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