Toronto Mike

Thain Wendell MacDowell: Awesome Canadian of the Day


Thain Wendell MacDowell was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross for his efforts in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Thain Wendell MacDowell was only 26 years old and a captain in the 38th (Ottawa) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Here's what he did:

On 9 April 1917 at Vimy Ridge, France, Captain MacDowell, with the assistance of two runners (company orderlies, Pvts. James T. Kobus and Arthur James Hay, both of whom were awarded the DCM for their part) reached the German position ahead of his company. After destroying one machine-gun nest he chased the crew from another. MacDowell then spotted one German going into a tunnel. At the base of the tunnel, MacDowell was able to bluff the Germans to think he was part of a much larger force, resulting in the surrendering of two German officers and 75 German soldiers. He sent the prisoners up out the tunnel in groups of 12 so that Kebus and Hay could take them back to the Canadian line. Seeing that he had been fooled, a German prisoner grabbed a rifle and tried to shoot one of the runners. The German was then shot and killed.
Although wounded in the hand, MacDowell continued for five days to hold the position gained, in spite of heavy shellfire, until eventually relieved by his battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Major following his actions at Vimy Ridge. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Frontenac Regiment from Napanee, Ontario.

That makes Thain Wendell MacDowell our Awesome Canadian of the Day.

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