Tuesday 7 June 2011

Private Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney, VC, DCM, MM

Born on 24 December 1892 in Dublin, Ireland - next of kin listed as Mrs. D.J. McDonald, North Lancaster, Ontario, and Gordon Calder, Green Valley, Ontario - at the time of his enlistment in 1915: trade as painter; single; no current or previous military service; Roman Catholic; height of 5 feet 5 inches; chest of 38.5 inches fully expanded; fair complexion; blue eyes; red hair.

Joined the 38th Battalion, CEF, in Alexandria, Ontario, on 8 March 1915 (number 410935) - served with the 38th Battalion during its period of garrison duty in Bermuda - landed in France with the 38th Battalion on 13 August 1916 - wounded on 12 April 1917 - rejoined the 38th Battalion on 14 April 1917 - wounded on 29 July 1917 - rejoined the 38th Battalion on 5 October 1917 - wounded on 3 May 1918 - rejoined the 38th Battalion on 18 August 1918 - wounded on 2 September 1918 - died of those wounds on 18 September 1918 - buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension (grave IV.B.39), France.

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal - official citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although wounded in two places, and his section wiped out, he continued to advance, carrying his gun and ammunition, and alone stopping an attack by over 200 enemy. He continued on duty for three days, showing exceptional fearlessness, and doing magnificent work." - unit recommendation dated 17 April 1917: "For gallant conduct while in charge of a machine gun Section during operations of Apr. 9/17."

Awarded the Military Medal - no official citation - unit recommendation dated 3 July 1917: "This N.C.O. took charge of his Platoon in an advanced position in Avion, after his Platoon Officer had been wounded. He displayed the greatest energy, strength and courage, remaining continuously on duty from June 28th to June 30th/17. He also proceeded to the assistance of a wounded man when no S.B. was available."

Recommended for a "Croix de Guerre with Star" on 13 February 1918 - no unit recommendation text - no award made.

Awarded the Victoria Cross - official citation: "For most conspicuous bravery during the operations against Drocourt-Quéant line on the 1st and 2nd September, 1918. On 1st September, when his battalion was in the vicinity of Vis-en-Artois, preparatory to the advance, the enemy laid down a heavy barrage and counter-attacked. Pte. Nunney, who was at this time at company headquarters, immediately on his own initiative proceeded through the barrage to the company outpost lines, going from post to post and encouraging the men by his own fearless example. The enemy were repulsed and a critical situation was saved. During the attack on 2nd September his dash continually placed him in advance of his companions, and his fearless example undoubtedly helped greatly to carry the company forward to its objectives. He displayed throughout the highest degree of valour until severely wounded." - unit recommendation dated 7 September 1918: "For conspicuous gallantry during Scarpe Operations on Sept. 1st and 2nd. Recommended for Victoria Cross."

(sources: Library and Archives Canada (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca), online attestation papers; Canadian War Museum, 19740281-001, Manu 58F 2 3, 207th Canadian Infantry Battalion and 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Nominal Roll; The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum, A400-0007, Master Personnel List for the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force; Commonwealth War Graves Commission, "Debt of Honour" register, www.cwgc.org; Canadian War Museum, 19680229-001, Manu 58C 1 2.18, Honours and Awards, 38th Battalion (Records of recommendations for honours and awards and mentioned in dispatches 19161121 19190117))

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