Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 18/06/1896 Karachi, Pakistan. d. 10/04/1971 Edinburgh, Scotland.

 

Arthur Edward Cumming (1896-1971) was born on the 18th June 1896 in Karachi, then British India (now Pakistan). On the outbreak of World War I, Arthur joined the 58th Vaughan’s Rifles, Indian Army attached to the 53rd Sikh Regiment, and was heavily involved in fighting in the Middle East/Mesopotamia. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant and on 7th November 1918 was awarded the Military Cross. He was also Mentioned in Despatches.

 

He remained in the Indian Army in the inter-war years, and by the time of the outbreak of World War II, was now a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 12th Frontier Force, and was posted to Malaya. On the 3rd January 1942, in Malaya, a strong force of the enemy penetrated the position while Brigade Headquarters and a Battalion were being withdrawn. Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming with a small party of men immediately counter-attacked the enemy and prevented any further penetration of the position until his whole party had become casualties, and he himself had received two bayonet wounds in the stomach. By this brave counter-attack Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming enabled the major portion of our men and vehicles to be withdrawn. Later, in spite of pain and weakness from his wounds, this officer drove in a carrier for more than an hour under very heavy fire collecting isolated detachments of our men. He then received two further wounds, after which and while attempting to collect a further isolated detachment, he lost consciousness and the driver of the carrier attempted to evacuate him. Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming, however, recovered consciousness and insisted on remaining where he was until he discovered that he and his driver were the sole survivors in the locality. He then decided to retire.

 

Cumming’s actions led to the safe withdrawal of the Brigade, and he was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on the 20th February 1942. He was then posted to the rank of Temporary Brigadier, and was then involved in the desperate defence of Singapore against the Japanese, which ultimately led to surrender and evacuation of the colony. Cumming was one of a small number of officers and men who were ordered to be evacuated from Singapore before the island was surrendered on 15th February 1942. Cumming commanded a battalion of the 9th Jat Regiment before his promotion to Brigadier and command of the 63rd Indian Brigade during the Burma Campaign. During the evacuation, Cumming’s actions, led on 1st June 1943, to him being awarded an OBE and being Mentioned in Despatches. From 1944-1947, he was given the command of the Dehra Dun District in India.

 

Cumming was later promoted fully to Brigadier, and following his retirement from the Army in 1947, was presented with his VC with his wife, at Buckingham Palace on 29th July 1947. He retired to Scotland, where he lived out the rest of his life. He died in Edinburgh on 10th April 1971, aged 74, and was cremated at Warriston Crematorium, and his ashes were scattered. His medal was donated to the National Army Museum, Chelsea, where sadly its not currently on display.

 

LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, CHELSEA.

BURIAL PLACE: WARRISTON  CREMATORIUM, EDINBURGH. GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE

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Arthur Edward

Cumming VC, OBE, MC

vc at national army museum constitution hill memorial

Constitution Hill, London

His VC at the National Army Museum

(Thomas Stewart)

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Cumming's WWI Medal Card