Brigadier David McQueen CBE DSO

David McQueen was awarded the DSO for his part in the breaking of the Siegfried Line and the crossing of the Rhine in early 1945. On Feb 18, commanding A Company of 8th Battalion Royal Scots, he was ordered to carry out a reconnaisance in force against German positions outside the town of Goch. In the face of heavy fire, McQueen's company established a position astride a strongly defended anti-tank ditch and obtained vital information which assisted in the capture of the town.

On the night of March 23-24th, the battalion took part in the Rhine crossing. At dawn the Germans counter-attacked in strength threatening A Company's position from the flank. McQueen quickly appraised the situation and encouraged his men to hold their ground.

Two nights later he led his company in an attack to protect a crossing over the Issel. Again the Germans counter-attacked and in the confused close-quarter fighting that followed, all the company's officers were wounded. McQueen himself was hit but he refused to be evacuated until another officer could be found to relieve him. The company held its ground and the attack was repulsed.

In the CO's recommendation for an MC it stated that McQueen had set an example of leadership, of selfless devotion to duty and of great gallantry in action which has been an inspiration to all ranks with whom he has come into contact. The recommendation was upgraded to a DSO.

David McQueen was born in Edinburgh on 18th Dec 1913. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion Royal Scots in 1936. He joined them in Palestine where the battalion were suppressing an Arab insurrection. At the outbreak of war extra battalions were required and McQueen was appointed adjutant of the 8th Battalion. His duty was to help recruit volunteers in Lothian.

After the war he attended Staff college and was posted to Rangoon as DAAG HQ South East Asia. Later he returned to the 1st Battalion as company commander in Korea and in 1957 was appointed CO of the Battalion in Elgin and Berlin. After this command he received the OBE.

He became Brigade Colonel of the Lowland Brigade, then Commander of Edinburgh District. His final appointment was Commander Lowland Area in 1967 after which he was given the CBE. He settled at Gullane with his wfe Elizabeth who he married in 1940. They had 2 daughters and a son who also reached high rank in the army. David McQueen died in December 2000 aged 86.

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by Stephen Luscombe