Robert Shankland, V.C. - Correspondence
We had had the following letter, before the article even appeared here, from Leigh Shankland, in Canada:
You mentioned Robert Shankland, V.C. (and D.C.M). I had the good fortune to meet Lt-Col Shankland in Vancouver B.C. in December 1961. We had a great chat and it turned out he was well acquainted with my grand-father [Norman Horatio (Arthur) Shankland] who also lived in Manitoba ... Robert Shankland V.C was commissioned from the ranks where he had won the DCM as a Sgt. He was a Lt in the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada - a Winnipeg regiment, when he won the V.C. ... He was a very successful stockbroker in his latter years and died in Vancouver in 1968. I might add that his son (David - now deceased) and grandson (Mark Shankland) both worked/work for Air Canada in Vancouver. I have spoken to Mark several times during my travels in my previous reincarnation, prior to retirement, as a Diplomatic Courier / Queens Messenger.
Leigh was also kind enough to send us a photograph of the plaque erected on Pine Street, Winnipeg, when it was renamed Valour Road in commemoration of the fact that three V.C. winners, including Robert Shankland, lived there.
Joan Wright, of South Africa, writes:
I enjoyed reading of my brave relation Robert. Wondered if you couldn't follow up sometime with more facts, i.e. that he was presented with the Freedom of the Burgh of Ayr in 1918, and was not only V.C., but also D.C.M. (No. 420933 Company Sergeant Major), was wounded 26Oct1917 and 11Nov1917. Also that he was appointed to the rank of Lieut.Col. on 2 Sep 1939 in the 2nd WW, serving in Canada and United Kingdom until 10 Jan 1946 when he returned to reserve status. I have this information from the Canadian War Archives.
And a couple of weeks later, she adds:
Last week I received a copy of the military records from the National Archives of Canada for my relative, Robert Shankland, VC, and have established that in December 1914 his next-of-kin (father) William Shankland lived at 68 Church Street, Ayr. Robert Shankland's wife was Anne Stobo Haining which you had confirmed on the sheets you sent me.
When Robert joined up in 1940 in the Second World War he had two sons William and David. Unfortunately their birth dates and his postal address have been blacked out on the document. Robert Shankland was 5 ft 4½ inches tall; of sallow complexion; grey eyes and dark brown hair, and was Presbyterian. Which just goes to prove that you don't have to be a big man to be a brave one.
And Ralph McLean wrote from Canada to tell us about his pet, named after Robert Shankland: Shankland the Dog!