The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Lieutenant-Colonel W R A Dawson
Units / Commanding Officers
Lieutenant Colonel William Robert Aufrere DAWSON, 6th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, died of wounds, (received in action at St Amande on 22nd October 1918), at No.20. General Hospital, Le Camiers, France, 3rd December 1918, age 27.
Born 23rd June 1891, Bickley, Kent
Eldest Son of William and Ethel Laura Dawson, (daughter of the late Henry Hill Dawson), of Cold Ash, Newbury, Berkshire, formerly of Manor House, Hayes, Middlesex and of Lincolns Inn, London, WC.
Educated at Hildersham House, St Peters, Thanet, 1899-1905; Bradfield College, Berkshire, 1905-1910; Oriel College, Oxford, 1910-1911.
1912, obtained a Commission in the Royal Artillery, Special Reserve; June 1914, Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant Royal West Kent Regiment; September 1914, Gazetted Lieutenant; 26th April 1915, promoted Captain; 16th October 1916, appointed Acting Major; 1st December 1916, appointed Temporary Lieutenant Colonel; 3rd June 1918, appointed Brevet Major.
Served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 1st June 1915; wounded nine times.
The General Commanding the 12th Division wrote: "He was one of the most gallant officers I have ever known, and was a universal favourite with all ranks in the Division. I had a letter from him shortly after he had been hit, saying his wounds were not serious, and that he hoped to get back to his Battalion before very long. He always made light of his injuries. I was so pleased he was granted a third bar to his DSO. It is almost a unique honour. I only know of two others in the Army and you will be extremely proud of it. We all mourn the loss of a gallant comrade, who has died a soldiers death for King and Country." and his Brigadier: "We all feel the loss of your son most keenly; and besides losing a friend for whom I had the greatest regard, the Service has lost one of the finest officers it has been my fortune to serve with . We hold a memorial service tomorrow as an expression of the intense regard felt by all ranks."
Commemorated at Etaples Military Cemetery, XLV. A. 10., Pas de Calais, France.
AWARDS: DSO and 3 Bars
External link to St Margarets at Cliff War Memorial
London Gazette 19th October 1914.
The promotion to the rank of Lieutenant of the under mentioned Second Lieutenants is antedated as follows.
Second Lieutenant William R. A. Dawson, to be Lieutenant. Dated 19th September, 1914.
London Gazette 26th April 1915.
The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). 6th Battalion.
Lieutenant William R. A. Dawson to be temporary Captain. Dated 31st March, 1915.
London Gazette 15th April 1916.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the appointment of the under mentioned Officers to be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the field:
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) William Robert Aufrere Dawson, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), attached 6th Battalion.
For conspicuous gallantry. Though severely wounded, Captain Dawson rejoined his company as soon as his wounds had been dressed, remained at his post till an attack had been repulsed and was again wounded later. His example of courage, endurance, and devotion to duty was one of a very high order.
London Gazette 15th June 1916.
The following despatch has been received by the Secretary of State for War from General Sir Douglas Haig, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in France: I
General Headquarters, 30th April, 1916.
Sir, - I have the honour to forward herewith the names of those under my command whom I wish to bring to notice for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,. D. HAIG, General, Commander-in-Chief, The British Forces in France.
Dawson, Lt. (temporary Captain) W. R. A., D.S.O., Royal West Kent Regiment
London Gazette 16th October 1916.
Royal West Kent Regiment - Temporary Captain W. R. A. Dawson, D.S.O., (Lieutenant, Royal West Kent Regiment.), to be temporary Major whilst 2nd in command of a Battalion. - 12 August 1916.
London Gazette 9th December 1916
Royal West Kent Regiment - Lieutenant W. R. A. Dawson, D.S.O., to be Captain 10th December 1916.
London Gazette 23rd February 1917.
Royal West Kent Regiment - Captain W. R. A. Dawson, D.S.O., from acting Lieutenant Colonel whilst commanding a Battalion, to command a Battalion and to be temporary Lieutenant Colonel, 5 January 1917, with seniority from 5 December 1916.
London Gazette 18th July 1917.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order to:
Captain (temporary Lieutenant Colonel) William Robert Aufrere Dawson, D.S.O., Royal West Kent Regiment
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the situation was somewhat critical he displayed conspicuous bravery in organising the defence. Although his troops were exhausted from prolonged exposure, he completely reorganised the line under heavy shell fire. His total disregard for personal danger was most marked.
(D.S.O. gazetted 15th April, 1916.)
London Gazette 21st December 1917.
The following is a Continuation of Sir Douglas Haig's Despatch of the 7th November, submitting names deserving special mention, published in a Supplement to the London Gazette of Tuesday, 18th, December, 1917 :
Royal West Kent Regiment. - Dawson, Captain (temporary Lieutenant -Colonel) W. R. A., D.S.O.
London Gazette 24th May 1918.
The following is a continuation of Sir D Haig's Despatch of the 7th of April, submitting names deserving of special mention:
Royal West Kent Regiment - Dawson, Captain (Temporary Lieutenant - Colonel), W R A., DSO.
London Gazette 3rd June 1918.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday, to approve of the under mentioned rewards for distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders. Dated 3rd June 1918.
TO BE BREVET MAJOR
(On retired List, Reserve of Officers, Special Reserve, New Army or Territorial Force, in the case of Officers belonging to these categories, as applicable.)
Captain, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel W R A Dawson, DSO, Royal West Kent Regiment.
London Gazette 22nd June 1918.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following Awards to the under mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers, in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field:
AWARDED A SECOND BAR TO THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Captain, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel William Robert Aufrere Dawson, DSO, Royal West Kent Regiment.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When a party of the enemy had broken through the brigade front, he led the personnel of his headquarters as a fighting formation, and co-operating with the counter attacking battalion, inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and captured two machine guns and some prisoners. On the following day, when the enemy attacked in force, he organised and led a counter attack with two companies. He repulsed the enemy and re-established and advanced the line. later, when the enemy attacked some advanced posts, he counter attacked and drove the enemy off with loss. By his capable leadership, promptness of action and courageous example, he was largely responsible for the position held by his battalion being maintained intact.
(DSO Gazetted 15th April 1916.) (Bar Gazetted 18th July 1917.)
London Gazette 28th December 1918.
War Office, 28th December 1918. - The following is a continuation of Sir D Haig's Despatch of the 8th November, submitting names deserving of special mention:
Royal West Kent Regiment - Dawson Captain and Brevet Major (Temporary Lieutenant Colonel) W R A., DSO., 6th Battalion.
London Gazette 8th March 1919.
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the following awards to the under mentioned Officers and Warrant Officers in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field.
The acts of gallantry for which the decorations have been awarded will be announced in the London Gazette as early as practicable.
AWARDED A THIRD BAR TO THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Captain and Brevet Major (Temporary Lieutenant - Colonel) William Robert Aufrere Dawson, DSO, Commanding 6th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment.
(DSO Gazetted 15th April 1916.) (1st Bar Gazetted 18th July 1917.) (2nd bar gazetted 22nd June 1918.)
London Gazette 9th July 1919.
The following is a continuation of Sir D Haig's despatch of 16th March 1919, submitting names deserving of special mention:
Royal West Kent Regiment - Dawson Captain & Brevet Major (Temporary Lieutenant Colonel) W R A., DSO., Commanding 6th Battalion.
London Gazette 4th October 1919.
With reference to the Awards conferred as announced in the London Gazette, dated 8th March 1919, the following are the statements of services for which the decorations were conferred:
AWARDED A THIRD BAR TO THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Captain & Brevet Major (Temporary Lieutenant - Colonel) William Robert Aufrere Dawson, DSO, Royal West Kent Regiment.
For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership of his battalion from 18th to 29th September 1918, near Epehy and Vendhuille. During the period they took part in three assaults successfully. On the 21st / 22nd and 28th / 29th he was continually in the front line, superintending operations and encouraging his men. The success of his battalion on these occasions was largely due to his fine leadership and personal example.
DSO gazetted 15th April 1916. 1st Bar gazetted 18th July 1917. 2nd bar gazetted 22nd June 1918.
This page was last updated on 06-Sep-2015.
Copyright © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason