Major George de Cardonnel Elmsall Findlay VC

World War One Hero. Royal Engineer awarded both Military & Victoria Cross for gallantry.

George de Cardonnel Elmsall Findlay VC MC & Bar was born on the 20th August 1889 at Boturich, Balloch.

Findlay was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in January 1910. He was awarded a Military Cross for gallantry at the Battle of Passchendale after which he took command of 409 (Lowland) Field Company, a territorial company in June 1917.

Findlay won the Victoria Cross on the Sambre-Oise canal, near Catillon on 4 November 1918. (First World War 1914-18, which was part of the final offensive of the war. The attack was opened on a front of 30 miles from Valenciennes to the Sambre, north of Oisy. At this point the 60-70 feet wide Sambre-Oise canal runs approximately north-south, about 5 miles east of Le Cateau. The canal was first barrier to be encounted by troops in the northern attack. The British XIII and IX Corps reached the canal first. German guns quickly ranged the attackers, and bodies piled up before the temporary bridges were properly emplaced under heavy fire.

The citation read: For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the forcing of the Sambre-Oise canal at the Lock, two miles from Catillon, on 4 November 1918, when in charge of the bridging operations at this crossing. Major Findlay was with the leading bridging and assaulting parties which came under heavy fire while trying to cross the dyke between the forming-up line and the Lock. The casualties were severe and the advance was stopped. Nevertheless, under heavy and incessant fire he collected what men he could and repaired the bridges, in spite of heavy casualties in officers and other ranks. Although wounded, Major Findlay continued his task and after two unsuccessful efforts, owing to his men being swept down, he eventually placed the bridge in position across the Lock, and was the first man across, subsequently remaining at this post of danger till further work was completed. His cool and gallant behaviour inspired volunteers from different units at a critical time when men became casualties almost as soon as they joined him in the fire-swept zone, and it was due to Major Findlay's gallantry and devotion to duty that this most important crossing was affected.

He became Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Dumbarton in 1957.

Findlay died in Helensburgh on 26th June 1967 and is his grave/memorial can be found at Kilmaranock Churchyard, near Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham, England.