Angus has beaten a Government plan to honour the heroes of the First World War in stone.
Town and cities across the country are to be invited to design a memorial paving stone to recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC), in a new competition announced by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
The proposal is part of a programme marking the centenary of the First World War next year and will see the unveiling of 28 stones to commemorate medals awarded in 1914, with others following each year to 2018.
The move has been met widespread support as a fitting remembrance of the bravery and sacrifice of local men including in the towns of Kirriemuir and Carnoustie, where the VC connection is already strongly marked.
Since Armistice Day 2006, visitors to Kirrie have been able to view a stone slab in Cumberland Close, engraved in honour of VC recipients Captain Charles Lyell, Corporal Richard Burton and Private Charles Melvin.
Kirriemuir Community Council led the effort to honour the military figures, alongside other stone slabs celebrating important town sons, and the then chairman of the body said the new plan to commemorate the VC heroes was a very worthwhile project.
Retired Black Watch major Ronnie Proctor, now an Angus councillor for Kirriemuir, said: “I think it is great that there is this plan to establish these commemorative stones throughout the land, even if we are already ahead of the game in Kirriemuir.
“If the Government wants to come up to Kirrie and get some advice on how best to go about it, then we would be more than happy to help.”
Of the trio of Kirriemuir VC holders, Private Melvin was the only First World War recipient, for his actions in 1917 as a member of the 2nd Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
He charged an enemy machine gun post held by Turkish soldiers in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, killing four and disarming eight, in what Pte Melvin’s citation said was “most conspicuous bravery, coolness and resource in action”.
Across Angus, a bronze plaque on the Carnoustie war memorial honours Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis and Petty Officer George Samson.
Jarvis, of the 57th Field Company Royal Engineers, was the first man to be awarded the VC in the First World War.
He was a 33-year-old lance corporal when, just three weeks into the war on August 23 1914, at Jemappes in Belgium, he worked for 90 minutes under heavy fire, in full view of the enemy, and finally succeeded in firing charges for the demolition of a bridge to cover the retreat of the army from Mons.
Jarvis was wounded in the process.Samson served in the Royal Naval Reserve on HMS River Clyde during the 1915 landing at Gallipoli.
He spent a day tending the wounded and helping with the lines but his service was cut short after he was wounded by machine-gun fire.
Lindsay Martin, chairman of the town’s Royal British Legion Scotland branch, said he hoped the importance of Lance Corporal Jarvis as the first VC of the war might elevate Carnoustie and Angus into the national commemorative spotlight.
“I have only just heard about this plan but we would welcome anything which commemorates the men who gave so much for us and for the future,” he said.
“We would certainly be interested in participating in anything which brings a commemorative slab to Carnoustie, hopefully at the war memorial, and would look to make that a special event.”