FP100: No. 43

Buckhaven sea mine memorial
Buckhaven sea mine memorial

The ‘Buckhaven secret’

On June 2 1941 Buckhaven was celebrating its annual gala day when a terrible accident took place which came to be known as ‘The Buckhaven Secret’.

Two men, Robert Birrell and Henry Wilkie, dragged a large pipe from the beach and took it to a nearby stable, where a gang of eight children gathered to have a look.

Unbeknownst to all the pipe was a magnetic mine packed with explosives which went off, killing all 10 in the stable.

Wartime officials covered up the tragedy and locals were warned not to talk about it. It was 50 years before it was mentioned publicly.

But more than 60 years later Levenmouth Regeneration Initiative unveiled a memorial plaque on Remembrance Sunday 2006 paying tribute to those who died.

The plaque at the town’s Bank Corner reads: “Buckhaven’s Secret. This plaque is dedicated to the memory of Robert Birrell (31), George Irvine (13), George Jensen (15), Robert Jensen (14), Joe Kinnear (13), Robert Kinnear (10), John Thomson (12), Henry Walton (14), Henry Wilkie (37), James Wilkie (13) who lost their lives as a result of a tragic accident on Monday 2nd June 1941.”