Good turnout to mark 75th anniversary of West Wemyss tragedy

Relatives and friends at the memorial
Relatives and friends at the memorial

The heroic actions of five miners in helping to save the village of West Wemyss during the Second World War were remembered at a special service yesterday (Sunday).

Villagers and relatives of the five, who gave their own lives while trying to tether an unexploded sea mine on the beach at the edge of the village to prevent it being washed further inland, gathered at a memorial to mark the event on its 75th anniversary.

The five, Peter Graham (15), Colin Smart (36), who were members of the 4th Fife Black Watch Home Guard, along with Special Constable George Storrar (38), James Anderson (58) and David Laing (69), all died after the bomb exploded.

In 2010 a few locals from the village commissioned sculptor Bruce Walker from Angus to make a memorial to remember the men’s bravery, and it was unveiled on January 23 2011, exactly 70 years after the tragedy. The villagers raised the money for the sculpture with the cost being matched pound for pound by Fife Council.

On Sunday a small service of remembrance was held at the memorial next to the Buckhaven and Wemyss parish church.

Among them was 90-year-old Alec Rutherford who laid a flower in memory of his friend Peter Graham, and Peter Grant, MP for Glenrothes, who laid a wreath.

Jake Drummond, one of those behind the sculpture project, said: “The weather was dreich but dry and we had a good turnout. Thanks to all who made the effort and met up for rereshments afterwards.”