Collection of 4 medals awarded to L. Col Robert Shankland - V.C and DCM

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Lot 27
Collection of 4 medals awarded to L. Col Robert Shankland - V.C and DCM

Sold for CA$ 288,000 (US$ 225,867) inc. premium
Collection of 4 medals awarded to L. Col Robert Shankland - V.C and DCM
The Great War Victoria Cross and Distinguished Conduct Medal group of nine to Lieutenant Colonel R.Shankland, Canadian Army,

The Medals comprise:

Victoria Cross, engraved on reverse (Lt. R.Shankland. 43rd.. Bn.Can.Infy 26. Oct. 1917.); Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (420933 C.S.Mjr: R.Shankland. 43/Can: Inf: Bn:); British War and Victory Medal (Capt. R.Shankland.); Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with overseas bar; War Medal; Coronation Medal 1937; Coronation Medal 1953. With rhodium plating to the silver medals, otherwise very fine.


  • V.C. London Gazette 18.12.1917.

    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.

    D.C.M. London Gazette 19.8.1916.

    For conspicuous gallantry in volunteering to lead a party of stretcher-bearers, under very heavy shell fire, and bringing in some wounded and partially buried men. His courage and devotion were most marked.

    Lieutenant Colonel Robert Shankland was born at St.Quivox, near Ayr in Scotland, on 10th October 1887. He was the son of a railroad guard, and on completing his education he began work as a clerk in the stationmaster’s office.

    He emigrated to Canada in 1910 and worked as an assistant cashier for the Crescent Creamery Company in Winnipeg. He enlisted on the 18th December 1914 into the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada), at Winnipeg. After his training he was posted to the U.K. leaving Canada on the 1st June 1915 on S.S. Grampian and landing on 10th June 1915. He was promoted to Company Sergeant Major at Shorncliffe in October 1915, and embarked for France on the 20th February 1916. Shankland had only served a few months before he was awarded his Distinguished Conduct Medal for leading stretcher-bearers in horrendous conditions.

    He was commissioned on 27th December 1916 and as a newly appointed Lieutenant still with the 43rd Battalion won his Victoria Cross at the end of 1917, having led attacks and suppressed a counter-attack. He had also suffered a number of wounds including Gun Shot Wounds to the back and head, but suffered no disability as a result of these. He returned to England in February 1919 and sailed for Canada on R.M.S. Baltic on 12th March 1919, arriving in Ottawa on the 25th March. He was demobilised on the 11th April 1919.

    After WW1 he remained in the Militia with the Cameron Highlanders. He then moved to Victoria and subsequently joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment. He moved to Vancouver in 1937, but has recalled to his old regiment in Winnipeg when WW2 broke out. At this stage he had been promoted to Major, but despite being too old for combat duty at the age of 53 he went overseas with the battalion as Officer Commanding Headquarters Company. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was appointed camp commandant of the Canadian Army Headquarters in England in December 1940, serving in Aldershot and later Peper Harow house near Godalming, which was the Canadian Army Headquarters from 1942 onwards.

    He took his discharge in 1946 and rejoined Hall Securities in Vancouver the company he had worked for prior to WW2.

    His private live was certainly an active one and involved many positions of responsibility, time, and organisational capability. In Winnipeg he was secretary-treasurer of the Junior Board of Trade, and at one time manager of the Carleton Club. He was a life member of the National Building Owners and Managers Association and the Royal Canadian Legion. He also belonged to the Fourandex, which was a war veterans’ association in Vancouver.

    His wife died in 1952 and towards the end of his life he lived at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. He died at Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver on the 20th January 1968 aged 80, having only been ill for a short period of time, up until that point he had remained active in business and life in general. He is commemorated at the Garden of Remembrance, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. There is a commemorative plaque on a lamp-post in Valour Road (formerly known as Pine Street) Winnipeg, interestingly this includes his name with those of Lance Sergeant L.Clarke V.C., and Company Sergeant Major F.W.Hall V.C. (all three were living in the same block in this road when they enlisted in the C.E.F.).

    The lot comes with copies of the VC and DCM citations from the London Gazette, copies for entitlement for the Coronation 1937 Medal and Coronation 1953 Medal, a set of copied service papers for his WW1 service.

    A total of 70 Victoria Crosses were awarded to Canadian Forces during WW1 (British Gallantry Awards, by Abbot and Tamplin p.295), and a total of 1946 DCMs, with 36 first bar and 1 second bar, were awarded to Canadian Forces in WW1 (Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal 1914-1920 by R.W.Walker). The combination of VC and DCM is very scarce and numbers a handful.

    There is a portrait of Shankland by A.Y.Jackson, in the collection of the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa. This portrait was exhibited in the Canadian War Memorials Show that was held January 1919 so it would have been painted circa 1918.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the description should read "collection of nine medals awarded to Lt. Col. Robert Shankland - VC and DCM"
Collection of 4 medals awarded to L. Col Robert Shankland - V.C and DCM
Collection of 4 medals awarded to L. Col Robert Shankland - V.C and DCM
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