On the 14th April 2018, almost 100 years on from The Great War soldiers from 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, Standards from the Royal Artillery Association, The Lord Lieutenant of Kent -The Viscount De L’Isle, MBE and The Worshipful Mayor – Cllr Julie Soyke paid Tribute to Major Eric Dougall VC MC and his incredible bravery. The citation reads:
‘For most conspicuous bravery and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery. Capt. Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell. Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns. Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles. With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid rate of fire. Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody. He inspired the infantry with his assurance that "So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here". This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy's advance for over twelve hours. In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw. This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine gun fire. Owing to Captain Dougall's personality and skilful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted. This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery.’
— The London Gazette, 31 May 1918
The Unveiling of the commemorative stone was performed by the Lord Lieutenant followed poignantly but the salute from the Serving Regiment and the dipping of the Standards. It was real honour for the Association to mark this occasion and be part of the unveiling ceremony.
Major David Joyce RA, 16 Regt Royal Artillery laying a Wreath at the paving stone
16 Regiemtn Royal Artillery, Kent Army Cadet Force, Tonbridge School CCF and 129 Squadron ATC on parade
The Royal Artillery Association Standard Bearers
We Will Remember them