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In the middle of Euston station is a memorial to a brave man who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in WW1.
John Alexander (Jock) Christie was a parcels clerk employed by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) at Euston Station, and like a lot of young men, in September 1914, he enlisted to fight in World War One.
In August 1915 he landed with the Battalion at Suvla Bay during the Gallipoli campaign, and was wounded in the head by shrapnel at Chocolate Hill. He was evacuated to Egypt and then England, rejoining the Battalion in November 1915, just prior to the withdrawal of the Allies from the Dardanelles.
The 1st Finsbury Rifles then became a part of General Murray’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force advancing up the Mediterranean coastline towards Gaza, during which Christie suffered severe sunstroke during a 100-mile march across the Sinai desert before taking part in the unsuccessful battles at Gaza in March/April 1917.
On 21st-22nd December 1917, at Fejja, Palestine, after a position had been captured by the Allied forces, the enemy immediately made counter-attacks up the communication trenches.
Lance-Corporal Christie, seeing what was happening, took a supply of bombs and went alone about 50 yards in the open along the communication trench and bombed the enemy. He continued to do this in spite of heavy opposition until a block had been established. On his way back he bombed more of the enemy who were moving up the trench.
In February 1918, he was mentioned in the London Gazette as receiving the Victoria Cross for his efforts.
In the report, it said that “By his prompt and effective action he undoubtedly cleared a difficult position at a most critical time and saved many lives. Throughout he was subjected to heavy machine-gun fire and shell fire. He showed the greatest coolness and a total disregard for his own safety.”
He was injured in more fighting in March 1918, and HRH The Duke of Connaught visited him in hospital near Jaffa and presented him with his VC medal ribbon.
He later received the medal from the King at Buckingham Palace in November.
In January 1919 Christie was presented with a mahogany bureau and cheque by the L&NWR station staff at Euston and had a locomotive named after him. He also received a silver salver from the citizens of Islington, where he had moved before the War.
During the Second World War was a driver in the Auxiliary Fire Service and a Sergeant in the Special Constabulary.
He died in 1967.
His son unveiled the plaque in Euston Station in March 2014.
This article first appeared on www.ianvisits.co.uk
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