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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Paving Stones Unveiled to Commemorate WW1 Victoria Cross Holders

Published on:


September 2015

Two commemorative paving stones were unveiled on Sunday (27 September) in a ceremony to honour two men from Tillicoultry who were awarded the Victoria Cross in 1915.

The special event honoured James Pollock VC and James Dawson VC who were both born in Tillicoultry. They were awarded the VC in 1915, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, for their actions during the Artois-Loos Offensive.

James Pollock VC was 25 years old and a corporal in the 5th Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, when he was awarded the VC for his outstanding bravery on 27th September, when he threw hand grenades into a British trench which had been infiltrated by German soldiers, while subjected to heavy machine-gun fire. He held up the German advance until he was wounded.

Two weeks later his second cousin, 23 year old James Dawson VC, who was serving in 187th Company Royal Engineers (Special Brigade), also won the VC during the same battle, near the Hohenzollern Redoubt when he saved many men, by patrolling back and forth above the trenches, directing his sappers and clearing infantry from the trenches which were full of gas, all the while under very heavy fire. He then ensured that three leaking gas canisters did not get near the trenches.

Provost Tina Murphy, the Council's Veterans Champion commented: "It is a matter of great pride to be involved in this event which honours two local men who came from Clackmannanshire and showed incredible bravery in such a frightening war so far from home. As we mark 100 years since these men were awarded the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, we remember and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in WW1 and subsequent conflicts."

Veteran's Secretary Keith Brown said: "It is a real honour to be involved in this Victoria Cross commemorative ceremony today. As we continue to remember and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the centenary of the Battle of Loos, and WW1 more widely, the stories behind these two local men, James Pollock VC and James Dawson VC, are truly inspiring. To have two VCs awarded to one family is remarkable and Scotland is rightly proud of them as we are of all recipients of the highest award for valour."

A new exhibition commemorating the Great War and its impact in Clackmannanshire is currently taking place at the Speirs Centre in Alloa. The exhibition looks at the events leading up to the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914 and the first seventeen months of the war. It also focuses on James Pollock VC and James Dawson VC.