b. 07/03/1892 Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland. d. 02/02/1968 Moffat, Dumfries, Scotland.
Samuel Thomas Dickson Wallace (1892-1968) was born on the 7th March 1892, in Holmhill, Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. J. W. Wallace. He was educated at Dumfries Academy between 1903 and 1910, before going onto the East of Scotland Agricultural College and later Edinburgh University, where he had been a member of the University OTC. He enjoyed a successful academic career at university winning medals and first class certificates in the subjects of structural and field geology, veterinary science, forestry and agricultural chemistry and he graduated with a BSc in Agriculture in March 1914. Upon the outbreak of war he volunteered and joined the army in October 1914, aged 22 years old as a Temporary Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery and was posted to ‘C’ Battery 63rd Brigade RFA, 12th Division.
Wallace went with the battery to France in March 1915, and served in every engagement that the 63rd Brigade was involved in until the end of the war but it was for his actions on the 30th November 1917, that Wallace was to earn the VC.
On 30 November 1917 at Gonnelieu, France, when the personnel of Wallace’s battery were reduced to five, having lost their commander and five sergeants, and were surrounded by enemy infantry, he took command of the situation by swinging the gun trails close together with the men running and loading each gun to in turn to maintain a steady rate of fire. The battery was in action for eight hours firing the whole time and inflicting severe casualties on the enemy. Finally, owing to the exhausted state of his men, he withdrew when support arrived, taking with him all essential gun parts and all wounded.
The citation, which was published in the London Gazette of the 13th February 1918, reads:
“T./Lt. Samuel Thomas Dickson Wallace, R.F.A.
For most conspicuous bravery and devoted services in action in command of a section. When the personnel of the battery was reduced to five by the fire of the artillery, machine guns, infantry, and aeroplanes; had lost its commander and five of the serjeants, and was surrounded by enemy infantry on the front right flank, and finally in rear, he maintained the fire of the guns by swinging the trails round close together, the men’ running and loading from gun to gun. He thereby not only covered other battery positions but also materially assisted some small infantry detachments to maintain a position against great odds. He was in action for eight hours, firing the whole time, and inflicting serious casualties on the enemy. Then, owing to the exhausted state of his personnel, he withdrew when infantry support arrived, taking with him the essential gun parts and all wounded men. His guns were eventually recovered.” The guns were left in No-Man’s-Land and were recovered a week later by the infantry of the 9th Division.
When news of the VC was announced in the London Gazette, Wallace’s former school gave the pupils the day off and a month later when he was home on leave he visited the school with his parents. He was given a Guard of Honour made up of members of the Academy’s Cadet Corps and a troop of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. After inspecting the Guard, Wallace was presented with a fitted suitcase by one of the Girl Guides as a token of their admiration of his actions. Four months later, on the 17th July 1918, Wallace was presented with his VC by the King in the quadrangle at Buckingham Palace.
Wallace survived the war and in February 1919, he was appointed Deputy Director of Agriculture in the Central Province of India. He had been promoted to Captain during the war and he retained this rank in India, and supervised the training of the Nagpur Volunteer Rifles, and with them he took an active part in supressing local civil disturbances. In 1925, Wallace married Margaret Noel Edenborough, a native of Woking, Surrey, and seven years later the couple moved back to the UK and settled in Moffat, Dumfries.
During World War Two, Wallace served as a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was posted to Langham Camp, Norfolk, where he was a small arms expert. He remained in Norfolk with the RAF Regiment until he was invalided out of the service on the 19th December 1943, and took up a position with the Ministry of Agriculture in Lincolnshire, until 1946, after which he returned home to Moffat. He retired in his mid-fifties and passed the time by following his passions for shooting and other country pursuits, and in June 1956, he attended the VC Centenary celebrations in London.
Wallace died at home following a short illness on the 2nd February 1968, and was survived by his wife and daughter. He was buried in Moffat Cemetery, Dumfries, on right side of main gate. He is also commemorated on the Royal Artillery Chapel in Woolwich, along with Sgt. Cyril Gourley VC, and both VCs are held in the regimental collection.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ARTILLERY MUSEUM, WOOLWICH. (NOT ON DISPLAY)
BURIAL PLACE: MOFFAT CEMETERY, MOFFAT, DUMFRIES, SCOTLAND.
Brian Drummond – Image of the VC Stone in Dumfries, Scotland.