Victoria Cross - First World War, 1914-1918
Robert Shankland was born in Ayr, Scotland, on 10 October 1887. He immigrated to Canada in 1911 and settled in Winnipeg, where he lived on Pine Street (later renamed Valour Road in honour of himself and two other Victoria Cross winners). He enlisted as a private, rose to regimental sergeant-major and earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal at Sanctuary Wood in June 1916. He was commissioned in the fall, on the Somme. Shankland earned the Victoria Cross in Passchendaele, Belgium, 26 October 1917 with the 43rd Infantry Battalion, fighting for the Bellevue Spur, one of the main lines of defence before Passchendaele. Having gained a position, he rallied the remnants of his own platoon and men from other companies, disposed them to command the ground in front, and proceeded to inflict heavy casualties upon the retreating enemy. Later, he dispersed a counter-attack, which enabled supporting troops to come up unmolested.
Shankland died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on 20 January 1968.
“For most conspicuous bravery and resource in action under critical and adverse conditions.
Having gained a position he rallied the remnant of his own platoon and men of other companies, disposed them to command the ground in front, and inflicted heavy casualties upon the retreating enemy. Later, he dispersed a counter-attack, thus enabling supporting troops to come up unmolested.
He then personally communicated to Battalion Headquarters an accurate and valuable report as to the position on the Brigade frontage, and after doing so rejoined his command and carried on until relieved.
His courage and splendid example inspired all ranks and coupled with his great gallantry and skill undoubtedly saved a very critical situation.”
(London Gazette, no.30433, 18 December 1917)