LANARKSHIRE VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS WAR MEMORIAL
World War 1 & 2 & other conflicts - Detailed information
Compiled and copyright © Baird Ferguson 2006
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. It takes
the from of a Granite archway with a VC recipient's name and place/date
of award on each of the 14 separate stones which comprise the arch;
an inscription with the outline of a Victoria Cross above is on the
keystone at the top of the arch The memorial was unveiled 19 April 2002.
A 15th name, Hugh McIver, is to be added as of June 2018.
Copyright © Baird Ferguson 2006
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
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.
Our Lady's High School
here taken from the book "SYMBOL OF COURAGE - The Men Behind
the Medal" by Max Arthur
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.
Frederick Robertson Lieutenant, 4th Bengal Native Infantry
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.
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
William Lance Corporal, 8th (T) Bn. Highland Light
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
John Sergeant, 9th (S) Bn. (Pioneers), North Staffordshire
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
William Colour Sergeant 42nd Regiment
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.
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.
John Brown A/Lance Corporal, 1/9th Bn, Highland Light
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.
of the 1/4th. Royal Scots Fusiliers. 1915, Gallipoli. Born 21 January
1894, East Glentire, Airdrie, Scotland. Died 4 June 1972, Cranhill,
Glasgow. Cremated Daldowie Crematorium.
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.
102nd (North British Columbians) Canadian Infantry Battalion,
Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.). Born 8 March 1892. He returned
to the UK in 1919 and joined the British Army. He achieved the
rank of Colonel during World War II. Colonel 48647, Royal Army
Ordnance Corps. Died of a heart attack at Mersa Matruh, Egypt,
on 28 November 1941. Aged 49. English-Canadian soldier. Son of
the Revd. Robert Henry Lyall and Agnes Lisette Lyall; husband
of Elizabeth Lyall (nee Frew), of Airdrie, Lanarkshire. Buried
in HALFAYA SOLLUM WAR CEMETERY, Egypt . Plot 19. Row B. Grave
Graham Thomosn Lieutenant, 102nd (North British Columbians)
Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.).
September 1918 - On September 27th, 1918, when the leading
company was halted near Boulon Wood by an enemy strong point Lt.
G. T. Lyall executed a flank movement with his platoon and captured
it together with prisoners and its guns. Later that day his much
weakened platoon was held up by machine guns at the southern end
of the wood. Lt. Lyall led forward his few remaining men, then
rushed the position single-handed, killing the officer in charge,
and took it with its machine guns, capturing numerous prisoners.
Advancing, he secured his final objective and still more prisoners.
On October 1st, near Blecourt, by skilful disposition of the weak
company he then commanded, he overcame another strongly held position,
seizing numerous guns and many prisoners. In these two days Lt.
Lyall captured 3 officers, 182 other ranks, 26 machine guns and
1 field gun, and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. He showed
throughout most conspicuous bravery, high powers of command, and
skilful leadership. [London Gazette - 13 December 1918]
12311, "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian
Regiment). Killed during an attack on a machine gun post at Courcelles,
France, 2 September 1918. Aged 28. Born 21 June 1890 in Kilbarchan,
Renfrewshire, resident Paisley, enlisted Glencorse, Midlothian
18 August 1914, aged 24. Son of Hugh and Mary McIver, of 34, Dunlop
St., Newton Hallside, Glasgow. Native of Linwood, Paisley. Awarded
the Victoria Cross (V.C.), Military Medal (M.M.) and Bar. Height
5 feet 4½ inches, weight 135 lbs, chest 36 inches, fresh
complexion, blue eyes, fair hair, religious denomination Roman
Catholic. Had suffered shot wound to right thigh and shrapnel
wound right buttock in November 1917 from which he recovered.
Buried in Vraucourt Copse Cemetery, Vaulx-Vracourt, Pas de Calais,
France. Plot I. Row A. Grave 19.
Hugh Private, Royal Scots
August 1918 - For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to
duty when employed as a company runner. In spite of heavy artillery
and machine-gun fire he carried messages regardless of his own
safety. Single-handed he pursued an enemy scout into a machine
gun post and having killed six of the garrison captured twenty
prisoners with two machine guns. This gallant action enabled the
company to advance unchecked. Later he succeeded at great personal
risk in stopping the fire of a British Tank which was directed
in error against our own troops at close range. By this very gallant
action Pte. McIver undoubtedly saved many lives.
of the 93rd. Highlanders. Lucknow 1857. Born 23 November 1831,
Howe, Caithness, Scotland. Died 18 November 1880, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire.
Buried in Lesmahagow Cemetery.
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
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
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.
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."
(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.
John Lieutenant, 2nd Bn, Prince of Wales’ Leinster
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.
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.
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
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.
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’.
(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.
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’.
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
6 June, 2018