Major John Patrick Lawton McCall was 50 years old, a family man, married to Grace Eleanor Scott, and with two children. He was from Marrickville NSW and had taken over the duties as O.C (Officer Commanding) the 1st FCE.
In 1914 Major McCall had been specially requested by the defence authorities to take command of the 1st FCE. He had served in the Boer War and had received the Queens Medal + 5 clasps. and the Cape of Good Hope Medal. His experience and age were clearly an important factor in his placement and would prove to be invaluable to the development of the company. Despite Major McCall being more suited to his specialty as a signals officer, his commission and rank as commander of the newly formed Engineers, was very well judged.
Major McCall had been a military man all his life and now his own son John James McCall was completing his military training at Duntroon Royal Military Academy and also preparing to embark for war. Thoughts of his own son’s circumstances would have fostered that fatherly instinct in preserving the lives of the young men who had been placed under his own command. His personal circumstances made for a compassionate leader who valued his men and the hard work they would put in while preparing for Gallipoli.
As time was drawing closer to the landing day at Gallipoli, the father figure was always the first to support the company, and as the reality of war struck down upon his men he was the first to show his deepest concerns for the families and proved to be a genuinely sympathetic man.
In 1914 Major John Patrick McCall fudged his age when re- commissioned, he was actually 55 years old, perhaps he feared he would miss out on the opportunity to do what he knew best. John Patrick Lawton McCall would have an outstanding military career throughout his life, from the Boer War years to the end of the Great War.
In 1920 now Lieut. Colonel John McCall was honoured with the medal of the “Order of the Nile” from His Highness the Sultan of Egypt, an honour generally reserved for Kings, Queens and Heads of State……………………Read More
Copyright © Vance Kelly 2015
Footnote : It is so important to get a good photo of John Patrick Lawton McCall – he should never be forgotten.