Unit: 2/14th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish)
Location of VC action: Jordan River, Palestine
Date of VC action: 01/05/1918
Citation: The platoon to which Private Cruickshank belonged came under very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire at short range and was led down a steep bank into a wadi, most of the men being hit before they reached the bottom. Immediately after reaching the bottom of the wadi the officer in command was shot dead, and the sergeant who then took over command sent a runner back to Company Headquarters asking for support, but was mortally wounded almost immediately after; the corporal having in the meantime been killed, the only remaining N.C.O. (a lance-corporal), believing the first messenger to have been killed, called for a volunteer to take a second message back. Private Cruickshank immediately responded and rushed up the slope but was hit and rolled back into the wadi bottom. He again rose and rushed up the slope, but, being again wounded, rolled back into the wadi. After his wounds had been dressed, he rushed a third time up the slope and again fell badly wounded. Being now unable to stand he rolled himself back amid a hail of bullets. His wounds were now of such a nature as to preclude him making any further attempt and he lay all day in a dangerous position, being sniped at and again wounded here he lay. He displayed the utmost valour and endurance and was cheerful and uncomplaining throughout.
After this action, Private Cruickshank was evacuated back to England to recover from his wounds. Born in Canada to Scottish parents, he moved back to London at the age of three and grew up there. After the war, he got married and moved to Southend. He re-joined the company he had worked for before the war and during his time in Essex got very involved with the Royal British Legion. In the mid 1930s, he and his wife moved to Leicester. During the Second World War, he was very active in the Home Guard and was promoted to the rank of Major. After his death in 1961, Robert’s widow presented his Victoria Cross to the Regimental Museum of the London Scottish, the unit that Robert had served in during the First World War.