Buckhaven plans to commemorate one of its heroes

Lindsay Roy MP with Bert Hannah, right, from Friends of Methil Heritage Centre.
Lindsay Roy MP with Bert Hannah, right, from Friends of Methil Heritage Centre.

Following commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, plans are already under way locally to mark another centenary associated with the conflict.

A memorial stone honouring a Buckhaven soldier who won the Victoria Cross in 1915 is to be erected in his home town.

Robert Dunsire was one of five Fife recipients of Britaian’s highest military award for bravery during the conflict.

The stone is due to be unveiled in Toll Park, opposite Station Road where he was born, at a commemoration ceremony on September 26 next year – 100 years to the day since the 23-year-old performed his heroic deed.

The plan is to mount it on a plinth made of stone from Buckhaven beach.

Funded by the UK Government, stones honouring all British-born VC recipients during 1914-18 are being sent to local councils to be erected in the town of their birth.

Born in November 1891, Robert Dunsire was a miner at the outbreak of war in 1914 and, along with many of his fellow miners, enlisted in January 1915, joining the 13th battalion Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment.)

He won the VC during the battle of Loos for twice rescuing wounded comrades and was feted by the local community when he was given two weeks’ special leave.

Robert was presented with his medal by King George V at Buckingham Palace but, sadly, he didn’t live long to wear his decoration.

Newly promoted to Lance Corporal, he was fatally wounded by a trench mortar on January 30, 1916 and is buried at the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery in Pas de Calais, France.

Bert Hannah, from the Friends of Methil Heritage Centre has been leading the project, following talks with local politicians.

He said: ‘’When I started to investigate the life and times of Robert Dunsire for an exhibition the Centre is staging next August, I was inspired by the story of the local miner who travelled to the coalfields of Northern France as a volunteer soldier.

“Robert was firstly a son, brother and husband. He was a talented musician who played football for a local team and was already a great reflection of the mining community.

‘’As a soldier, he brought great honour to himself, his family, his battalion and his community. He typified the thousands of volunteers who left the area to become part of the Great War that we now commemorate 100 years later.’’