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John Peter Robertson ["Tales of the V.C."]
27th Canadian (Manitoba) Regiment
Article with annotations.
Private John Robertson, Canadian Infantry, was awarded the V.C. for bravery near Passchendaele on 6th November 1917. He was killed during this action. Private Robinson was a soldier serving in the 27th Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment) during the infamous Battle of Passchendaele. During an advance towards the German positions his platoon was held up by uncut wire and a machine gun causing many casualties. Robertson moved quickly to an opening on the flank, rushed the machine gun and, after a desperate struggle with the crew, killed four and then turned the gun on the remainder, who, overcome by the fierceness of his attack retreated by running towards their own lines. This brave action enabled the platoon to advance. He inflicted many more casualties among the enemy and then, carrying the captured machine gun, he led his platoon to the final objective where he selected an excellent position and got the gun again into action targeting the retreating enemy who by this time were quite demoralised by the fire brought to bear on them. During the consolidation of the new position Pte. Robertson continued to use the machine gun to bring down fire on enemy snipers; it is considered that this example of courage and coolness seemingly encouraged his comrades and inspired them to even greater efforts. Later, when two Canadian snipers were badly wounded in front of the trench he went out and carried one of them in under very heavy fire. Robertson was killed just as he returned with the second man. This account of his actions was written by James Price Lloyd of the Welsh Regiment, who served with Military Intelligence. After the war, the government to destroyed all the archives relating to this propaganda (section MI 7b (1)). They were regarded as being too sensitive to risk being made public. Remarkably these documents have survived in the personal records of Captain Lloyd. Many of these papers are officially stamped, and one can trace the development of many individual articles from the notes based on an idea, to the pencil draft which is then followed by the hand-written submission and the typescript. The archive "Tales of the VC" comprises 94 individual accounts of the heroism that earned the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross. These are recounted deferentially and economically, yet they still manage to move the reader.