VIDEO - Moderator leads Remembrance Service in honour of men awarded the Victoria Cross
Published on 6 November, 2019
The Moderator of the General Assembly has paid tribute to three men awarded the Victoria Cross who lived in a town known as “Courage”.
Rt Rev Colin Sinclair said it was a “privilege” to conduct a special Remembrance Service for William Angus, Thomas Caldwell and Donald Cameron in Carluke, South Lanarkshire.
He laid a wreath at the war memorial in the town’s Market Square.
The Last Post was played as around 30 people, including local Kirk ministers and relatives of Thomas Caldwell, paid their respects.
Councillor Ian McAllan, Provost of South Lanarkshire, Lady Haughey, Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire, and Rev Bryan Kerr, Clerk to the Presbytery of Lanark, also laid wreaths.
William Angus and Thomas Caldwell were honoured for their gallantry in the face of the enemy during the First World War and Donald Cameron during the Second World War.
At that time, Carluke town had a population of fewer than 8,000 residents which meant it had more recipients of Britain’s highest and most prestigious military honour per head of population than any other community.
Mr Sinclair said: “It was a privilege to conduct a Remembrance Service for the three men from Carluke who received the Victoria Cross.
“Their bravery in the face of extreme danger was extraordinary.”
Lance-Corporal William Angus of the 8th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry was awarded the Victoria Cross for rescuing a wounded officer in no-man’s land on 12 June 1915 at Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, France.
He received around 40 wounds including the loss of his left eye.
Stormed an enemy position
Sergeant Thomas Caldwell of the Royal Scots Fusiliers stormed a farmhouse near Audenarde in Belgium on 31 October 1918 and captured 18 men single-handed.
Donald Cameron, a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, used a midget submarine to carry out a stealth attack on the German battleship Tirpitz, at Kåfjord on the Altafjord, Norway on 22 September 1943.
He travelled over 1,000 miles through enemy territory to plant mines on the hull of the ship, successfully disabling it for months.
Mr Sinclair said it was “wonderful” to meet George Reid, Jean Reid and Jeanette Johnston whose great uncle was Thomas Caldwell.
Mr Reid of Carluke said he was immensely proud of his relative.
“The wreath laying service was lovely and it is great that the three men are still recognised after all these years,” he added.
“They represent an important part of Carluke’s history.”
The Remembrance Service at the War Memorial, which bears plaques to William Angus and Thomas Caldwell, was held last Friday as part of the Moderator’s Presbytery of Lanark tour.
Mr Kerr, said: “The Church has stood alongside the people of Carluke for generations and continues to do so today.
“To have three Victoria Cross recipients in a relatively small community is something that would have brought great pride, tinged with sadness, to people.
“It is a story that ought to be widely known beyond the town so it seemed appropriate for the Moderator while he was in the area to play a small part in ensuring that these brave men are never forgotten.”
Businessman, Sir Angus Grossart, who grew up in Carluke, paid for special road signs that have been erected in memory of the three Victoria Cross recipients, who all have streets named after them.
A graphic of the three medals adorn the signs, which bear the words “Carluke, a town called Courage”.