#1620 Lt-Col. R.R. Labatt, DSO, ED, CD

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Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Labatt attended RMC from 1921 to 1923. On leaving the College he was commissioned as a militia officer with The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. The Regiment was mobilized on Active Service, 1 September 1939, with Labatt as the Regimental 2 i/c. He became the CO on 2 April 1940 and commanded the Regiment until he was taken prisoner at Dieppe. He was held at Oflag 7B, in Eichstatt, Bavaria, until liberated in 1945. Subsequently he went on to become the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry from 1957 to 1962 and Honorary Colonel from 1962 to 1972.

Citation- Distinguished Service Order

Lt.-Col. Labatt, by his personal leadership, courage and initiative, contributed in full measure to the action in which his unit participated at Dieppe 19 August 42, and from which he did not return. After the landing he quickly established his H.Q. on the beach and in person directed the attack of the battalion. For several hours he was in constant first hand touch with the situation and his direction of the companies was responsible for considerable success in forwarding the advance and in the destruction of enemy positions. In addition to these duties he was entrusted with control of the Brigade in a wireless message received from the commander who had become a casualty. Col. Labatt stayed in the thick of things, under heavy fire, all through the engagement. He was in the rearguard of the withdrawal, and was last seen standing over his adjutant, evidently badly wounded, prepared to defend him. Col. Labatt was apparently unwounded, but was not among those who reached the evacuation craft. All ranks of the unit have paid tribute to the worth of his leadership and the inspiration of his example.

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