Marking 100 years since VC hero’s death

Bert Hannah at Robert Dunsire VC memorial in Buckhaven
Bert Hannah at Robert Dunsire VC memorial in Buckhaven
  • Saluting hero
  • Centenary tribute
  • Homage in France

Former Methil man Bert Hannah will be carrying the respects of a whole community with him as he pays homage this weekend to Levenmouth’s sole Victoria Cross recipient.

One hundred years ago this Saturday, First World War serviceman Robert Dunsire, who was with the 13th Battalion Royal Scots, died in France after being severely injured by a German trench mortar.

I feel I’m representing all who attended the Commemoration Day.

Bert Hannah

Just two months earlier, the ex-miner had received the Victoria Cross – the highest honour for gallantry presented by the British and Commonwealth armed forces – from King George V Park at Buckingham Palace.

The 24-year-old had twice rescued comrades from heavy enemy fire at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

Bert, one of the Friends of Methil Heritage Centre, assisted with a major research project to bring the largely-forgotten story of Dunsire’s heroism to modern-day Levenmouth.

He is going to the cemetery at Mazingarbe, in northern France, where Dunsire was laid to rest, to place a wreath at his grave on Saturday.

Last September, on the centenary of Dunsire’s heroic deeds, a special memorial was unveiled in Buckhaven’s Toll Park, with members of his family present, while an exhibition on his life runs until mid-February at Methil Heritage Centre.

“I will travel alone but will feel I am representing all those who attended the Commemoration Day at Buckhaven, or others who have taken the time to attend the excellent exhibition prepared by Gary Nurse and his team at Methil Heritage Centre,” said Bert.

And his plans to commemorate Dunsire’s valour are set to continue into the summer.

“In June, I aim to walk a route that follows the journey made by Dunsire and the 13th Battalion of the Royal Scots from Boulogne on the French coast to Loos-en-Gohelle,” he explained.

“I will also be following in the path of my maternal grandfather, Robert Wood.

“He was a fellow member of Robert Dunsire VC’s battalion.”