Captain James Dalgleish Pollock VC (3 June 1890 – 10 May 1958) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Pollock was 25 years old, and a corporal in the 5th Battalion, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place at the Battle of Loos, for which he was awarded the VC.:
On 27 September 1915 near the Hohenzollern Redoubt, France, at about noon the enemy’s bombers in superior numbers were successfully working up “Little Willie” Trench towards the Redoubt. Corporal Pollock, after obtaining permission, got out of the trench alone and walked along the top edge with complete disregard for danger, and compelled the enemy bombers to retire by bombing them from above. He was under heavy machine-gun fire the whole time, but contrived to hold up the progress of the Germans for an hour before he was at length wounded.
He was commissioned into the Cameron Highlanders in 1916 and left the Army in 1919 with the rank of Captain.
James Pollock gained the VC for his outstanding bravery in saving his comrades in the Big Willie trench when it was infiltrated by German bombers. Just over two weeks later his second cousin, James Lennox Dawson also won the VC in the same trenches at the same battle. His actions were remarkably similar. Dawson saved his colleagues in the trench by going over the top, under machine-gun fire, to roll away gas canisters that had been blown open by German shells. Both men were 25 years of age and born within six months of each other in the small Scottish town of Tillicoultry. Both were feted back in Scotland and given the equivalent of a civic reception, James Pollock in Tillicoultry and James Dawson in Alloa, barely a week apart in December 1915.
Royal Observer Corps
Pollock volunteered for service the Royal Observer Corps during World War II. He is recorded as being an Observer Officer and full-time Duty Controller in No 33 Aberdeen (Ayr) Group. As far as is known, he was the only ROC Officer in history of the Corps to hold the Victoria Cross. Along with other members of No 33 Group James Pollock stood down on or before 12 May 1945.