As a local funeral director serving Falkirk and the surrounding areas, when I was asked by Kay Purves to arrange the funeral for her Father in Law “James” who passed away in St Margarets Care Home Polmont, I was not to know that I would learn of his involvement at the battle of El Alamein in 1942.
I got to the know the client fairly well and was given the background to the departed, it was a honour and a privilege to be asked to conduct the funeral service of one of many war heroes who gave so much in the second world war.
James apparantley never talked much about the war but to be give the chance to hear about the legacy he left means a lot to mysef.
James was a Scottish soldier who fought at El Alamein and was awarded Croix De Guerre by the French government.
He was a gunner in the Royal Artlllery and he was awarded the coveted French award for his actions during the battle of Bir Hakeim in 1942. His battalion were surrounded for 16 days; bombed day and night and they had to do the job of another after they had been captured.
Holding out for as long as they could and running short of ammunition and supplies, they broke out and dismantled the guns, left them behind and jumped on the back of a truck and travelled for 4 days before they were rescued by a British unit.
He was awarded the French military medal for exceptional conduct.
Gone but never forgotten.