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Lieutenant Ernest Vose, DCM

 
The attestation papers of Ernest Vose (available online at the Library and Archives Canada website) show that this officer was born in Bolton, Lancashire, to Mrs. Mary Vose on 20 September 1892 and emigrated to Swan River, Manitoba in 1910.  His attestation paper lists three three years of service with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in the United Kingdom.  He served for five months with the 100th Regiment (Canadian Militia) and in civilian life was a painter.  He was single at the time of his attestation into the Canadian Expeditionary Force three days after his 22nd birthday; 23 September 1914.   He was sworn into the 11th Battalion at Valcartier, Quebec.  His height was listed as 5'6", and he gave his complexion as "Fair", eyes "blue" and hair "brown."
 
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When the 6th Battalion was converted to cavalry in early 1915 in the UK, the 11th Battalion (made up of men from Saskatchewan and Manitoba) was nearly selected over the Tenth Battalion for assignment to the Fourth Brigade.  The Tenth Battalion won out, however, and the 11th was never employed in combat duties.  Lieutenant Vose (who listed his next of kin as being in Winnipeg) was likely reassigned to the Tenth since it was a unit that drew men from both Winnipeg and Calgary.

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Ernest Vose is shown at left with two unidentified comrades on the way to England in 1914.
Note the canvas shoes, permitted for wear when on ship or in camp.
Photo courtesy Dave Vose

Lieutenant Vose earned the DCM at Vimy Ridge; his son Dave Vose very kindly forwarded a copy of the letter, reproduced below, which describes some of the bravery exhibited by this NCO and later junior officer.


Photos on this page also donated by Dave Vose; above, Lieutenant Vose as a soldier of the Tenth Battalion in World War One with Dorothy Ferns. 

At right, Major Vose of the British Army in the Second World War.  In 1919 he had emigrated to California and married Dorothy Ferns with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and gained success in the painting and decorating business in Beverly Hills.  Loss of his fortune in the Great Depression prompted a move to England to start a new business.

He enlisted in the British Army in 1939, and by the autumn of 1940 was responsible for the defence of "about 20 miles" of the southeast coast of England (an area the Calgary Highlanders would later become very familiar with in 1941).   With little ammunition and few weapons, Lieutenant Vose had remarked after the war "If the Germans had invaded, my men after running out of ammunition would have gone down to the beach and thrown rocks at them."  

Later in war, he commanded P.O.W. camps in various locations.   In 1947 the family emigrated once more, to Vancouver, B.C.   He attended a reunion of the Tenth Battalion in Calgary sometime in the mid 1950s, with General Dan Ormond as the host.

Major Ernest Vose, DCM,  passed away in 1969.

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Headquarters, Canadian Troops,

Ripon. Yorks. August 28, 1919

To;- Brig-General D.M. Ormond, C.M.G., D.S.O.,

Commanding Canadian Troops,

South Camp, Ripon. Yorks.

Sir;

I have the honor to submit herewith my knowledge of the good work,courage, and devotion to duty of Lieutenant Ernest VOSE of the 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion, in the operations at VIMY RIDGE on the 9th of April 1917, during his tenure of the post of Battalion Signal Sergeant in that Unit.

At the time of the VIMY RIDGE operation, I was serving as a Platoon Sergeant in "B" (or D) Company of the 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion, which Company was holding the Front line on the day previous to the attack. On "y/z night" of the operation whilst doing my tour of Trench duty, I saw Sargeant VOSE and a party of Signallers laying lines of communication into "No-Man’s Land", well forward towards the Enemy Lines, and considerably in advance of the "assembly position" which the Battalion had to take up before "zero hour". Throughout the time this work was being carried out, the Enemy machine-gun and rifle-grenade activity was very marked, rendering the task an extremely hazardous one. The example of fearlessness which Sargeant VOSE set to the men under his charge during the progress was, in my opinion, of extreme value and the chief reason in the successful and speedy

My part in the operation necessitating my going forward with my Platoon in the "first wave" of the attack, prevented my witnessing any of the work of Sergeant VOSE after the commencement of the Offensive, but, from hearsay evidence, and particulars gathered after the operation from the signallers who accompanied him forward, and N.C.O.s and men in the latter"waves" of the attack, I can furnish the following information which I consider to be thoroughly authentic:-

Previos to "zero hour", Sergeant VOSE had taken up his position in the Front Line entrance of the 500 CRATER TUNNEL, with his party of signallers and linemen, reels of wire and instruments, in readiness to "jump-off" immediately the attack was launched. He started off at "zero hour" with the latter "waves" of the Battalion, heading by a direct route across the top of the 500 CRATER, which was then being heavily"raked" by Enemy machine-gun fire, for the previously-agreed-upon new Battalion Headquarters in the about-to-be-captured Enemy Lines.

At this juncture the operator of the Power-Buzzer became a casualty and Sergeant VOSE took charge of this instrument himself, carrying it to the first objective where he operated it personally sending back by it's means reports on the progress of the attack to the Battalion Headquarters in the rear. The Enemy barrage in the early stages of the attack was very heavy and destructive and wrought havoc with signal lines, rendering the task of repairing the breaks an extremely hard and, as the repairing was done in the thick of the barrage, dangerous one, but, by his personal  supervision,working to his utmost and the fine example of courage he set to his linesmen, Sergeant VOSE managed to maintain an almost uninterrupted and unbroken communication with the Rear.

A noteworthy incident at this jucture was his finding that the linemen of the Artillery F.O.O. had become casualties, and that their lines had been severed in many places by the Enemy shell-fire.

Having insufficient personnel at his disposal to maintain those lines in addition to his own, his quick thought in immediately connecting the nearest-to-rear break in the Artillery lines to his own wires, was undoubtedly the means of preventing a long delay in communication with the Artillery. His courage and devotion to his work throughout this part of the operation was exceptionally marked and very much commented upon by those who had an opportunity to observe it.

In the ZWOLFER GRAABEN, the objective of my Company, I saw Sergeant VOSE directing the establishing of communication with "B" and "C" Companies who were then pushing forward to the Battalion’s final objective. His coolness and clear headedness in the direction of this work was undoubtedly the means of establishing communication with the forward Companies with the minimum of delay.

In addition to the above, I think the courage and invaluable work of Sergeant VOSE after he became a Commissioned Officer and served both as Battalion Signal Officer and as a Company Officer in the 10th Canadian Infantry Battallion, worthy of mention and herewith submit my knowledge of ot for your information.

His services as Battalion Signalling Officer are better known to you than myself, so I will only submit my knowledge of his work as a Company Officer, which he volunteered for in order to obtain more experience of actual fighting after your leaving the 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

In the "L.C." operations at AMIENS on the 8th of August, 1918, whilst in command of a Platoon, he showed great courage and determination in pushing forward with his Platoon in the face of heavy Enemy machine-gun fire.The Enemy fire from the hill in front, and to the left, of CAIX, was very heavy and punishing, causing a slight wavering and hesitation on the part of the men who came under it. At this juncture he immediately went to the front of his Platoon and fearlessly led them forward, his initiative in carrying out this act being of extreme value to the success of the attack and was the cause of quickly silencing the Enemy fire. It’s efffect upon the morale of the men was a very important factor in making his Company’s task in the operation a speedy success. Unfortunately he was wounded and incapacitated from any further active part in the offensive, whilst performing this courageous act, but by that time the situation was well in hand, and his

This is the extent of my knowledge of the work of Lieutenant Ernest VOSE whilst with the 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion and hope you may find it of value and worthy of putting forward in order to obtain the recognition which is so well deserved

I have the honor to be,

Sir,
Your obedient servant,

(unintelligible signature, appears to be "Gempleman")
Lieut.
late 10th Canadian Infantry Battalion


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