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Captain Robert Keith Makant MC*

Robert Keith Makant was born on 28th June 1895  and was the third son of Mr John William Makant JP of Gilnow Lodge, Bolton. He was the brother of Captain Angus Virtue Makant also of the 1/5th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment who was killed at Armentieres, France in March 1915.

Educated at Harrow where he excelled at cricket and appeared for the Harrow XI in 1913 and 1914. Robert was previously a cadet in the Harrow school OTC and subsequently gazetted Second Lieutenant into the 5th Battalion, L.N.L. on 5th October 1914. He began active service in France in February 1915 and was promoted to Captain from 1st June 1916.

Robert was awarded the Military Cross in the London Gazette of 1st January 1917 for his gallantry at the action of Guillemont 9th August 1916.

Military Cross

For conspicuous gallantry in bombing attacks, when others had been killed he took charge of two companies which did splendid work.

He was awarded a bar to the MC which appeared in the London gazette of 3rd March 1917 for his gallantry in the trench raid at Wieltje on 10th January 1917.

Bar to Military Cross

For conspicuous gallantry in action he led a successful raid against the enemy with great courage and skill, inflicting many casualties and driving the enemy from his trench. Later, he went out under fire to search for wounded.

The regiment had moved from Reques to dugouts on the Canal Bank at Ypres on 14th September 1917, and in the War Diary for 16th September Capt R K Makant is shown as wounded that day. He was shot by a sniper and had gunshot wounds to the right buttock and right wrist and hand. This caused 4 months of hospitalisation for recovery from these wounds, during which time he traveled back to England for care.

Captain Makant received his Military Cross and bar from King George V at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 9th January 1918. It was reported on in the Bolton Evening News on 11th January 1918, in the following terms;BEN 11.1.1918.

On 15th January 1918 he was appointed to the staff as Aide De Camp to General Cobbe V.C. and was posted to Baghdad. After the armistice he was appointed in command of Levies and was stationed in the hills of Mesopotamia 250 miles north east of Baghdad.

It was from here in 23rd June 1922 his father received news of his death from the High Commissioner in Iraq directed by the Secretary of War Churchill.

Chief of the Kamawand tribe of Kurds, Karim Fateh Beg who had a hostile attitude to the authorities communicated his desire to come to terms with the Political Officer Captain Bond who arranged a meeting.  Capt Bond together with Capt Makant  rode out to the Bazian Pass on 18th June  with two orderlies where they were met cordially by the chief and lured into an ambush. They rode with him towards the village, but during this journey both officers and orderlies were treacherously shot without warning and killed. The news was received by the Commandant at the nearest levy post at 1.00pm on the 18th June and the bodies were recovered.

Garry Farmer
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