George Burdon McKean

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George Burdon McKean
Born 4 July 1888
Willington, County Durham
Died 28 November 1926
Potter's Bar, Hertfordshire, England
Buried at Brighton Extra-Mural Cemetery, East Sussex
Allegiance Canadian Red Ensign 1868-1921.svg Canada
Service/branch Canadian Expeditionary Force
Years of service 1915 - 1919
Rank Captain
Unit 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), CEF
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Military Cross
Military Medal

George Burdon McKean VC MC MM (4 July 1888 – 28 November 1926) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

George Burdon McKean was born in Willington, County Durham, England on 4 July 1888. He came to Canada in 1902 and settled in Edmonton. He was a student at the University of Alberta when World War I broke out, and enlisted as a private soldier in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

World War I[edit]

He was 29 years old, and a lieutenant in the 14th (The Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 27/28 April 1918 at the Gavrelle Sector, France, when Lieutenant McKean's party was held up at a block in the communication trench by intense fire, he ran into the open, leaping over the block head first on top of one of the enemy. Whilst lying there, he was attacked by another with a fixed bayonet. He shot both of these men, captured the position, then sent back for more bombs, and until they arrived he engaged the enemy single-handed. He then rushed a second block, killing two of the enemy, capturing four others, and driving the remainder into a dug-out, which he then destroyed.[1]

He later achieved the rank of captain. In the course of his military service, he received the Military Medal and, after he was commissioned as an officer, the Military Cross.

Later life[edit]

After World War I he settled again in England and died in an industrial accident. He is buried at Brighton Extra-Mural Cemetery, Sussex, England.


His Victoria Cross is stored at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada. On 6 September 2003, the Church Square of Cagnicourt, France, was renamed 'La Place George Burdon McKean' in his honour.


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30770. p. 7618. 25 June 1918. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

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