The Great War D.S.O. attributed to Lieutenant J. P. G. Macleod, 46th (Saskatchewan) Battalion, Canadian Infantry, for conspicuous gallantry at Valenciennes on 1 November 1918, on which occasion his platoon Sergeant, Hugh Cairns, D.C.M., was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., complete with top suspension brooch in its Garrard & Co. Ltd case of issue, some repair to enamel in obverse centre, otherwise extremely fine
Together with original Warrant for D.S.O., dated 2 April 1919, and original M.I.D. Certificate, dated 16 March 1919, ‘Lt. J. P. G. Macleod, D.S.O., 46th Bn., Saskatchewan R.’
D.S.O. London Gazette 2 April 1919; citation London Gazette 12 October 1919:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion in the attack before Valenciennes on the 1st November, 1918. He lead his platoon forward in face of heavy opposition, and, reaching his objective, he established an advanced post of eight men, taking four more forward. He encountered a large enemy party and, attacking at once, forced them to surrender. But before they could be disarmed, the Bosche officer, realising the weakness of his opponents, shot the N.C.O. and opened fire. With utter disregard of danger, and in the face of enormous odds, Lieut. Macleod and one man gallantly stood their ground, covering the withdrawal. Later in the face of direct machine-gun fire, he made his way out, and succeeded in carrying the wounded N.C.O. to safety.’
Sergeant Hugh Cairns, D.C.M., won the last V.C. awarded to a Canadian in the Great War. His extraordinary actions on 1 November 1918 included the single-handed capture of three machine guns, the killing of numerous Germans, and the capture or surrender of many others. He had been wounded in the shoulder by the time he accompanied Lieutenant J. P. G. Macleod with a small patrol to exploit Marly, a suburb east of Valneciennes. Cairns noticed a considerable number of the enemy in a courtyard surrounded with buildings, and with Lieutenant Macleod, pushed forward to the gate, where they came face to face with about 60 Bosche. The Germans, seeing the Canadian officer and the sergeant with his Lewis gun, threw up their hands when ordered but before they could be disarmed one of them gave the signal that the two men were alone and, as he approached Sergeant Cairns as if to surrender, a German officer drew his pistol and shot Cairns through the stomach. Sergeant Cairns immediately dropped to his knees and fired upon the German officer, killing him instantly. The other Bosche then took cover behind boxes and piles of debris and began firing on the two Canadians. In spite of the fact that he had received a fatal wound, Cairns got his gun into action. Again he was wounded in the hand and arm, but bleeding and in great pain he continued to operate his gun. Then another shot blew away the trigger and mangled his hand. Twenty Bosche ran forward to overpower him. Seizing his broken gun, he hurled it into the face of the nearest Hun, then staggering to the gate, collapsed unconscious. In a moment the remainder of the patrol came running to the courtyard and a skirmish took place, during which Lieutenant Macleod dragged away the insensible form of the hero, placing him on a door to use as a stretcher. During this evacuation enemy fire was taken from the flank killing one of the stretcher bearers and wounding Sergeant Cairns again. They carried him back to the Canadian line and then to the field hospital where he died the next day.
Sold with full record of service and other research.