James Alexander McLean Roy, MC and Bar (1893-1971)
by Adam Moriarty, Assistant Curator Heraldry
The Western Front was the site of New Zealand’s most costly military effort in terms of lives lost. 103,000 Kiwi men fought face to face and in such awful conditions that there was, sadly, a great deal of occasion for self sacrifice and supreme heroism. James Roy’s story is just one of many – his citations show the remarkable acts of bravery he showed in the face of the enemy;
9 Nov 1918 –
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Accompanied by one man, he raided the enemy’s trenches, and under cover of trench-mortar bombardment proceeded down an old sap towards a machine gun post. As soon as the bombardment lifted he rushed in and captured two of the enemy and brought them back to his lines. He twice went back, and captured two more prisoners and a machine gun. He showed splendid enterprise and daring.
16 Sep 1918 –
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the enemy attacked in force, the section occupied by this officer’s platoon found a salient of advanced posts on which the brunt of the attack fell. He went from post to post, cheering and steadying the garrisons, and setting such a fine example that the enemy were completely held by his platoon. When the enemy tried to push up to the posts through an old communictaion trench, he met with bombers, and swept the open ground with Lewis gun, inflicting a great number of casualties.
James Roy’s medal group together with a Lange pistole 08 captured by Roy currently form part of a special display in the museum’s new Medal Repository.