3 June 1917
Death of John George Pattison, VC.

A Centennial Action

On 3 June 1917, Victoria Cross recipient John George Pattison of the 50th (Calgary) Battalion, was killed in action during 10th Brigade’s large raid on the night of 2-3 June 1917.

For its part, Pattison’s 50th (Calgary) Battalion was charged with attacking the electric generating station just south of the Souchez River. On the heels of a gas bombardment from over 600 projectors, the 50th fought through to the power station and held on throughout the following day under accurate enemy shelling that was assisted by aerial observers. The 50th withdrew by nightfall on 3 June. At some point during the bite-and-hold operation, Pattison was reported missing and later confirmed killed in action. The husband and father of four was 41 years old.

Pattison had received the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. On 10 April 1917, he had single-handedly bombed and charged a machine gun emplacement, wiping out the crew with fixed bayonet and saving his platoon from destruction.

Private John George Pattison, VC, is buried in La Chaudière Military Cemetery, Vimy, France.

A newspaper clipping lists John George Pattison, VC as initially missing.
Credit: The Calgary Herald, 1917.
The electric generating station along the Souchez River that Pattison’s 50th (Calgary) Battalion attacked on 3 June 1917.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001728.
All that remained of the electric generating station in August 1917. Note the man standing just before the wreckage.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001730.
A later newspaper clipping confirms the death of John George Pattison, VC.
Credit: The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 1917.