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HAMILTON, LANARKSHIRE VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 & 2 & other conflicts - Detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Baird Ferguson 2006

The memorial is a tribute to the fourteen men from the County of Lanarkshire who have been awarded the Victoria Cross. Can any other County claim more? It stands in the town centre of Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Each man has his own marble block which gives his name and Battalion.

Photograph Copyright © Baird Ferguson 2006

THIS MONUMENT TO LANARKSHIRE'S UNSUNG
VICTORIA CROSS HEROES WAS ERECTED AS A
RESULT OF A PUBLIC APPEAL LAUNCHED BY
THE HAMILTON ADVERTISER NEWSPAPER,
SOUTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL WERE PROUD
TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT
THE MEMORIAL'S GRANITE WAS PROVIDED AND
CRAFTED THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF
CO-OPERATIVE FUNERAL AND MONUMENTAL SERVICES

YOU ARE HEROES IN OUR HEARTS, AND THAT YOU'LL ALWAYS STAY
COURAGEOUS AND HEROIC IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY.
YOU SACRIFICED SO MUCH FOR US - A DEBT WE CAN'T REPAY.
YOU FOUGHT FOR US AND BLED FOR US AND WE THANK YOU ON THIS DAY.

Anna Smith (12)
Our Lady's High School

Quotations here taken from the book "SYMBOL OF COURAGE - The Men Behind the Medal" by Max Arthur

AIKMAN

Frederick Robertson

Lieutenant of the 4th. Bengal Native Infantry. Amethi, India, 1858. Born 6 February 1828, Ross, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 5 October 1888. He dropped dead whilst attending a ball, Hamilton, Lanarkshire. Buried Kensal Green Cemetery, London. Final rank Colonel.

AIKMAN, Frederick Robertson Lieutenant, 4th Bengal Native Infantry

    1 March 1858 — He led a hundred men against a large body of rebels (five hundred infantry, two hundred horse and two guns). His force killed a hundred of them, captured the guns and drove the survivors into and over the Goomtee River. During the mêlée, he was slashed across the face by a sabre. This wound ultimately compelled him to retire on half-pay.

ANGUS

William

Lance Corporal of the 8th Battalion the Highland Light Infantry. 1915, Givenchy, France. Born 28 February 1888, Arndale. West Lothian, Scotland. Died 14 June 1959, Carluke, Lanarkshire. Buired Wilton Cemetery, Carluke.

ANGUS, William Lance Corporal, 8th (T) Bn. Highland Light Infantry

    12 June 1915 — At Givenchy he volunteered to bring in Lieutenant Martin, who lay wounded a few yards from the German lines. When warned that he was going to certain death, he replied, ‘It does not matter much, sir whether sooner or later.’ He crawled to the lieutenant, gave him brandy and brought him back under bomb and rifle fire. During the action, he received forty separate wounds.

CALDWELL

Thomas

Sergeant of the 12th Battalion the Royal Scots Fusiliers. 1918, Audenarde, Belgium. Born 10 February 1894, Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 6 June 1969, Adelaide, South Australia. Cremated Centennial Park Crematorium, Adelaide. Final rank Company Sergeant Major.

CALDWELL, Thomas Sergeant 12th (T) , Royal Scots Fusiliers

    31 October 1918 — Whilst in command of a Lewis gun section engaged in clearing a farnthouse near Audenarde, Belgium, his men came under intense fire from another farm. He rushed the enemy position, which he captured single-handedly together with eighteen prisoners. Having eliminated this obstacle, his section was able to capture eight machine-guns, one trench mortar and 70 more prisoners.

CAMERON

Donald

Lieutenant of the Royal Naval reserve. 1943, Kaafjiord, Norway. Born 18 March 1916, Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 10 April 1961, Haslar, Hampshire. Cremated Portchester Crematorium, Hampshire. Final rank Commander.

CAMERON, Donald Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve

    22 September 1943 - Lieutenants Place and Cameron were the commanding officers of two of HM Midget Submarines, X.6 and X.7, which carried out a most daring and successful attack on the German battleship Tir pitz, moored in the protected anchorage of Kaafiord, north Norway. To reach the anchorage necessitated the penetration of an enemy minefield and a passage of 50 miles up the fjord, known to be vigilantly patrolled by the enemy and to be guarded by nets, gun defences and listening posts; this after a passage of at least 1,000 miles from base. Having successfully eluded all these hazards and entered the fleet anchorage, Lieutenants Place and Cameron, with a complete disregard for danger, worked their small craft past the close anti-submarine and torpedo nets surrounding the Tirpitz and from a position inside these nets carried out a cool and determined attack. Whilst they were still inside the nets a fierce enemy counter-attack by guns and depth charges developed which made their withdrawal impossible. Lieutenants Place and Cameron therefore scuttled their craft to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. Before doing so they took every measure to ensure the safety of their crews, the majority of whom, together with themselves, were subsequently taken prisoner.

CARMICHAEL

John

Sergeant of the 9th. Battalion the North Staffordshire Regiment. 1917, Zwarteleen, Belgium. Born 1 April 1893, Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 20 December 1977, Hurstmain, Glenmavis. Buried in Landward Cemetery, Airdrie. Other awards MM.

CARMICHAEL, John Sergeant, 9th (S) Bn. (Pioneers), North Staffordshire Regiment

    8 September 1917 — Whilst he was excavating a trench at Hill 60, Zwarteleen, Belgium, he spotted an unearthed grenade which had started to burn. He realized that were he to throw it out of the trench it might kill men working on top, so he shouted to his men to get clear, placed his steel helmet over the grenade and stood on the helmet The grenade exploded and blew him out of the trench, seriously injuring him.

CLAMP

William

Corporal 42537 of the 5th. Battalion (memorial states 5th he was actually 6th), Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment. 1917 Poelcapelle, Belgium. Born 28 October 1891, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 9 October 1917. Enlisted Motherwell, resident Flemington. Son of Charles and Christina Dundas Clamp, of 13C, Reid Terrace, Flemington, Motherwell. He was killed by a sniper very shortly after his VC action, Bourlon Wood, France. Formerly 1889, Scottish Rifles. No known grave. Commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 52 to 54 and 162A.

CLAMP, William Corporal, 6th (S) Bn., Yorkshire Regiment

    9 October 1917 — When an advance was checked at Poelcapelle, Belgium, by machine-gun fire from concrete blockhouses, he dashed forward with two men and tried to rush the largest blockhouse. The two men were knocked out but he made another attempt with two others. He threw his bombs in, entered the blockhouse and brought out a gun and 20 prisoners. He then rushed several snipers’ posts. He was killed by a sniper whilst encouraging and cheering the men.

An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30433, dated 18th Dec., 1917, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery when an advance was being checked by intense machine-gun fire from concrete blockhouses and by snipers in ruined buildings. Corporal Clamp dashed forward with two men and attempted to rush the largest blockhouse. His first attempt failed owing to the two men with him being knocked out, but he at once collected some bombs, and calling upon two men to follow him, again dashed forward. He was first to reach the blockhouse and hurled in bombs, killing many of the occupants. He then entered and brought out a machine-gun and about twenty prisoners, whom he brought back under heavy fire from neighbouring snipers. This non-commissioned officer then again went forward encouraging and cheering the men, and succeeded in rushing several snipers' posts. He continued to display the greatest heroism until he was killed by a sniper. His magnificent courage and self-sacrifice was of the greatest value and relieved what was undoubtedly a very critical situation.

GARDNER

William

Colour Sergeant of the 42nd (The Royal Highland) Regiment. Bareilly, India, 1858. Born 3 March 1821, Nemphlar, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 24 October 1897, Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Buried in Bothwell Park Cemetery. Final rank attained Sergeant. Other awards MSM.

GARDNER, William Colour Sergeant 42nd Regiment

    5 May 1858 - At Bareilly, he went to the assitance of the commanding officer, who had been knocked off his horse and set upon by three Ghazis. He bayoneted two of the Ghazis and was in the midst of attacking a third when his opponent was shot down by another soldier.

HAMILTON

John Brown

Acting Lance Corporal of the 1st/9th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry. 1917, Ypres, Belgium. Born 26 August 1896, Dumbarton, Scotland. Died 18 July 1973, East Kilbride. Scotland. Cremated Daidowie Crematorium, Glasgow. Final rank Sergeant.

HAMILTON, John Brown A/Lance Corporal, 1/9th Bn, Highland Light Infantry

    25-26 September 1917 - During an enemy attack north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium, difficulty was encountered in keeping the front and support lines supplied with small-arms ammunition. Several times he carried bandoliers of ammunition in full view of enemy snipers and machinegunners. He inspired all who saw him.

LAUDER

David Ross

Private of the 1/4th. Royal Scots Fusiliers. 1915, Gallipoli. Born 21 January 1894, East Glentire, Airdrie, Scotland. Died 4 June 1972, Cranhill, Glasgow. Creamted Daldowie Crematorium.

LAUDER, David Ross Private, 1/4th (T) Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers

    13 August 1915 - At Cape Helles, Gallipoli, he threw a bomb which failed to clear the parapet and landed back amongst his own comrades. Realizing there was no time to smother the bomb, he put his foot on top of it to limit the explosion. His foot was blown off but the rest of his party escaped unhurt.

McKAY

David

Private of the 93rd. Highlanders.  Lucknow 1857. Born 23 vNovember 1831, Howe, Caithness, Scotland. Died 18 November 1880, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. Buried in Lesmahagow Cemetery.

MACKAY, David Private, 93rd Regiment

    16 November 1857 - At the attack on the Secundra Bagh, he captured one of the standards of the enemy despite their resistance. He was severely wounded afterwards during the attack on the Shah Nujeff mosque.

He was elected for the award under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant

MILNE

William Johnstone

Private 427586 of the 16th. Battalion, The Canadian Scottish, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment). Thelus, France 1917. Born 21 December 1891, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 9 April 1917, from wounds received during VC action, near Vimy, France. Aged 24. Son of David Milne, 10 Anderson Street, Vambusnethan, Scotland. Farmer by trade. Unmarried. Enlisted and passed fit 11th September 1915 at Moose Jaw, Saskatewan, Canada, aged 23 years 10 months, he9ght 5 feet 5½ inches, girth 38 inches, complexion fair, eyes blue, hair dark brown; relgion Presbyterian. No known grave. Commemorated on VIMY MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. National Archives of Canda Accession Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 6229 - 30

MILNE, William Johnstone Private, 15th Bn. (The Canadian Scottish), Canadian Expeditionary Force

    9 April 1917 - Near Thelus, France, he observed an enemy machine-gun firing on his comrades so he crawled to it, killed the crew with bombs and captured the gun. He then located a second machine-gun, made his way to it, put the crew out of action and captured that gun as well. He was killed shortly afterwards.

An extract from the Second Supplement to The London Gazette, dated 8th June, 1917, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack. On approaching the first objective, Pte. Milne observed an enemy machine gun firing on our advancing troops. Crawling on hands and knees, he succeeded in reaching the gun, killing the crew with bombs, and capturing the gun. On the line re-forming, he again located a machine gun in the support line, and stalking this second gun as he had done the first, he succeeded in putting the crew out of action and capturing the gun. His wonderful bravery and resource on these two occasions undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades. Pte. Milne was killed shortly after capturing the second gun."

O'NEILL

John

Sergeant (according to memorial) of the 2nd. Battalion the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment. 1918, Moorseele, Belgium. Born 27 January 1897, Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Died 16 October 1942, Hoylake, Cheshire. Buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Hoylake, Cheshire. Final rank Lieutenant. Other awards MM.

O'NEILL, John Lieutenant, 2nd Bn, Prince of Wales’ Leinster Regiment

    14 October and 20 October 1918 — On 14 October, when the advance of his company was checked by two machine-guns and an enemy field battery firing over open sights near Moorseele, Belgium, he charged the battety at the head of a party of eleven men, capturing four field guns, two machineguns and sixteen prisoners. On 20 October, with one man, he rushed an enemy machine-gun position, routing about a hundred Germans and causing many casualties.

REID

William

Flight Lieutenant, 61 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 1943 over Dusseldorf. Born 21 December 1921, Baillieston, Glasgow, Scotland. Died 28 November 2001, Crieff, Tayside, Scotland. Buried in St Andrew and St Michael's Churchyard, Crieff.

REID, William A/Flight Lieutenant, 61 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Although Bill Reid joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1940, he didn’t fly his first operational flight until August 1943 as, after initial training in America, his skills were put to use as an instructor. Flying with 61 Squadron, Reid flew nine sorties before the mission which earned him his VC.

On 3 November, as Reid’s Lancaster crossed the Dutch coast heading for Düsseldorf, an Me110 attacked from dead astern, shattering the windscreen and cockpit and damaging both gun turrets. Reid was hit in the head and shoulder and his face was cut by shards-of Perspex but he managed to right the aircraft and flew on.

In a second attack, a Focke-WuIf 190 raked the length of the plane, killing the navigator and mortally wounding the wireless operator — and Reid too was again wounded. ‘We were really hit this time and we started to spin down. Everything went dead in my ears; there was no intercom — nothing My hands were a bit bloody - skinned, really, when the windscreen had shattered.’

Aided by the flight engineer, Norris, Reid brought the plane back under control — but with the oxygen system ruptured and the hydraulics damaged any normal pilot would have turned for home. Reid decided, however, to press on to the target, but without a navigator he had to rely on his memory of the route to reach the target He made the target, dropped the bombs and headed for home, navigating by the stars.

Back at the Dutch coast, they again came under heavy anti-aircraft fire and suddenly all four engines cut out The Lancaster went into a spin. By now, Reid was lapsing into unconsciousness due to loss of blood and lack of oxygen. Only his pilot's instinct reminded him to change over petrol cocks to full engine. The engines surged back to life and they headed back to England. Over the USAAF airbase at Shipham in Norfolk, Reid had to wind down the landing gear by hand - and it collapsed on contact with the ground causing the Lancaster to slither on its belly 60 feet along the runway before coming to a halt.

In hospital he was visited by Air Vice Marshal Cochrane, who asked him why he didn’t turn back. Reid said that he thought it safer to go on rather than turning back among all the other planes all flying in the same direction. Cochrane told Reid that the early returns from operations had since his raid been practically nil. He then added: 'It's as if they all said, “That bugger, Jock, he went on even though he was badly wounded, so we can’t turn back just because of a faulty altimeter, or something like that.”’

After recovering from his wounds, Reid joined 617 Squadron with Leonard Cheshire - and on his first flight he fouled up his landing knocking the tail off the plane. Despite Cheshire’s sympathetic attitude, he had no choice but to put an endorsement in Reid’s logbook Reid recalled later being surely ‘the only pilot to get a Victoria Cross on one trip and a red endorsement on the next.’

Asked how he came to terms with the stress of the endless bombing missions, he explained, ‘Before a raid, I made a point of never writing letters, because you would naturally find yourself thinking “Will this be my last ever letter?” When you lost people who were your closest friends, the danger certainly came home to you. If you’d thought it would happen to you, too, you’d simply never have been able to fly again.’

In July 1944, on a raid on a weapons store near Rheims, Reid’s aircraft was hit by a bomb failing from a Lancaster 6,000 feet above him. This severed all control cables and Reid had no choice but to bale out. He landed safely, but saw out the rest of the war as a prisoner of war—at first in Stalag Luft Ill and then, as the Allies advanced, in a camp nearer to Berlin.

After the war Reid left the RAF to go to Glasgow University, then the West of Scotland Agricultural College, following which he worked for twenty years as national cattle and sheep adviser for Spillers Farm Feeds. A founder member of the Air Crew Association, this modest and courageous man stayed in touch throughout his life with the veterans who shared his sense of comradeship from his days in the RAF. It is a mark of Reid’s modesty, too, that when he married in 1952, he never mentioned his Victoria Cross to his wife. When she found out she owned to being ‘a wee bit impressed’.

RICHARDSON

James Cleland

Private (Piper) 28930 of the 16th. Battalion The Canadian Scottish, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment). Somme 1916. Born 25 November 1895, Bellshill, Lanarkshire. Died 9 October 1916, aged 20. Having carried a wounded for 200 yards, he remembered he had left his pipes behind. Returning to fetch them, he was killed, Morval, Somme. Son of David and Mary Prosser Richardson, of Princess Avenue, Chilliwack, British Columbia. Native of Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Buried in ADANAC MILITARY CEMETERY, MIRAUMONT, Somme, France. Plot III. Row F. Grave 36.

RICHARDSON, James Cleland Piper, 16th Bn. (The Canadian Scottish), Canadian Expeditionary Force

    8-9 October 1916 - He piped his company over the top near Morval, Somme, but as the company approached its objective, it was held up by barbed wire and intense fire. He strode up and down in front of the wire, coolly playing his pipes. Inspired by his music and bravery, the company rushed the wire with such ferocity that the position was captured. His favourite tune was ‘Standard on the Braes o’Mar’.

An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30967, dated 18th Oct., 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, prior to attack, he obtained permission from his Commanding Officer to play his company "over the top". As the Company approached the objective, it was held up by very strong wire and came under intense fire, which caused heavy casualties and demoralised the formation for the moment. Realising the situation, Piper Richardson strode up and down outside the wire, playing his pipes with the greatest coolness. The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example, the company rushed the wire with such fury and determination that the obstacle was overcome and the position captured. Later,after participating in bombing operations, he was detailed to take back a wounded comrade and prisoners. After proceeding about 200 yards Piper Richardson remembered that he had left his pipes behind. Although strongly urged not to do so, he insisted on returning to recover his pipes. He has never been seen since, and death has been presumed accordingly owing to lapse of time."

Last updated 23 September, 2006

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