Allan Ebenezer Ker VC
Name: Allan Ebenezer Ker
Conflict: First World War
Gazetted: September 4, 1919
Allan Ebenezer Ker VC
Place/date of birth: Edinburgh, Scotland/March 5, 1883
Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Lieutenant (later Major)
Date of bravery: March 21, 1918
London Gazette citation:
Lieutenant Allan Ebenezer Ker, 3rd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, attached 61st Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.
On the 21st March, 1918, near St. Quentin, after a very heavy bombardment, the enemy penetrated our line, and the flank of the 61st Division became exposed. Lieutenant Ker with one Vickers gun succeeded in engaging the enemy’s infantry, approaching under cover of dead ground, and held up the attack, inflicting many casualties. He then sent back word to his Battalion Headquarters that he had determined to stop with his Sergeant and several men who had been badly wounded and fight until a counter-attack could be launched to relieve him. Just as ammunition failed his party were attacked from behind by the enemy with bombs, machine guns, and with the bayonet. Several bayonet attacks were delivered, but each time they were repulsed by Lieutenant Ker and his companions with their revolvers, the Vickers’ gun having by this time been destroyed. The wounded were collected into a small shelter, and it was decided to defend them to the last and to hold up the enemy as long as possible. In one of the many hand-to-hand encounters a German rifle and bayonet and a small supply of ammunition was secured, and subsequently used with good effect against the enemy. Although Lieutenant Ker was very exhausted from want of food and gas poisoning and from the supreme exertions he had made during ten hours of the most severe bombardment, fighting, and attending to the wounded, he refused to surrender until all his ammunition was exhausted and his position was rushed by large numbers of the enemy. His behaviour throughout the day was absolutely cool and fearless, and by his determination he was materially instrumental in engaging and holding up for three hours more than 500 of the enemy.
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Other decorations: N/A
Place/date of death: Hampstead, London/September 12, 1958
Grave/memorials: West Hampstead Cemetery, London
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Buckland, Dix & Wood, London, 1991
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum