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№ 394


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

Seven: Captain R. J. McKinnell, 10th (Scottish) Liverpool Regiment, later Intelligence Corps, who during the Second World War was the first British soldier to land in Norway

British War and Victory Medals (Lieut.); Territorial Force War Medal 1914-19 (Lieut., L’pool. R.); 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals, the Great War Medals possibly later issues, good very fine or better and the T.F.W.M. very scarce to the Liverpool Scottish (7) £300-400

Captain Ronald Johnston McKinnell was born in March 1894 and educated at Dumfries Academy and Sedbergh. After leaving school he became an articled clerk with a firm of chartered accountants in Liverpool. When the war came, he enlisted as a trooper in King Edward’s Horse, transferring to the Liverpool Scottish in April 1915. His brother, Captain Bryden McKinnell was already serving with this battalion, and had gained the 10th’s first M.C. of the war, before being killed in action at Hooge on 16 June 1915.

Just four days after his brothers death, Ronald McKinnell received his commission in the 2/10th battalion, whom he accompanied to France in February 1917. After being accidentally wounded on 25 May 1917, whilst laying barbed wire in No Man’s Land near Armentieres, he was returned to the U.K. and attached to the 3/10th Battalion at Oswestry. McKinnell was attached to the R.A.F. in September 1918 before final demobilisation in 1919.

During the Second War he was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps, and appointed to the staff of ‘Avonmouth Force’, later redesignated as ‘Rupertforce’, a combined Naval/Military force intended to eject the Germans from Narvik, Norway.

The following is extracted from a report made by Major-General A. A. B. Dowler in regard to McKinnell’s service in Norway: ‘Captain R. J. McKinnell, Inteligence Corps, embarked with H.Q. of ‘Avonforce’ in H.M.S.
Southhampton. It was known that the Germans had occupied Narvik, but that was all and the Force Commander required further information in order to decide where the force should land.

On arriving off Harstad on 14 April 1940, Lieutenant (now Captain) R. J. McKinnell was therefore sent ashore to obtain information. It was not even known whether the Germans were at Harstad itself. Lieutenant McKinnell was therefore the first British soldier to land in Norway.

He soon returned to H.M.S.
Southampton with the British Vice Consul and certain local authorities and was instrumental in obtaining a great deal of information on which further plans could be based. As G.S.O.1. of Avonforce, Lieutenant Mckinnell worked under me. Throughout his knowledge of Norway and the Norwegians were of the greatest service. He discharged his duties as an Intelligence Officer under difficult circumstances in a most praiseworthy manner.’