Charles S. Rutherford, VC MC MM: Colborne's Canadian War Hero
Charles S. Rutherford
Charles Rutherford, VC, MC, MM
Charles Rutherford, VC, MC, MM Details
“For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty. When in command of an assaulting party Lt. Rutherford found himself a considerable distance ahead of his men, and at the same moment observed a fully armed strong enemy party outside a ‘Pill Box’ ahead of him. He beckoned to them with his revolver to come to him, in return they waved to him to come to them. This he boldly did, and informed them that they were prisoners. This fact an enemy officer disputed and invited Lt. Rutherford to enter the ‘Pill Box,’ an invitation he discreetly declined. By masterly bluff, however, he persuaded the enemy that they were surrounded, and the whole party of 45, including two officers and three machine guns, surrendered to him. Subsequently he induced the enemy officer to stop the fire of an enemy machine-gun close by, and Lt. Rutherford took advantage of the opportunity to hasten the advance of his men to his support. Lt. Rutherford then observed that the right assaulting party was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from another ‘Pill Box.’ Indicating an objective to the remainder of his party he attacked the ‘Pill Box’ with a Lewis gun section and captured a further 35 prisoners with machine guns, thus enabling the party to continue their advance. The bold and gallant action of this officer contributed very materially to the capture of the main objective and was a wonderful inspiration to all ranks in pressing home the attack on a very strong position.” (London Gazette, no.31012, 15 November 1918)
Charles Rutherford’s service to Canada during World War I earned him the distinction of medal holder of the Victoria Cross. He joined the army in 1916 and became a private in the Queen’s Own Rifles. Rutherford participated in a number of major battles, including Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele. Rutherford received the Military Medal for his service at Passchendaele. He was wounded several times and returned to battle after brief periods of recovery. Rutherford received the Victoria Cross for his capture approximately 80 Germans in the villages of Arvillers and Monchy-le-Preux in August 1918. An almost singular feat unfolded without firing a gun. Rutherford also served during World War II.
An official portrait of Rutherford during his World War I days hangs in the Colborne Legion branch which is named after this war hero. Rutherford received full military honours when he was laid to rest on 11 June 1989 having reached the age of 97.
Please follow the links to read more fully about the brave actions of Charles Rutherford, V.C., M.C., M.M during World War I.
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