News & Events | David Ferguson Hunter VC (1891-1965)
On 16 September 1918 Corporal David Hunter and the six men of his HLI platoon began a desperate struggle for survival near the village of Moeuvres in Picardie, France. Exactly one hundred years later, on 16 September 2018, the Heritage Trust and DAFC, along with the people of Fife and of Moeuvres, came together at East End Park to commemorate the achievements of “The Seven Heroes of Moeuvres” which led to Corporal Hunter being awarded the Victoria Cross and the other members of his platoon the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
The day began with the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland marching to the main entrance of EEP, to be greeted by Robert Balfour (Lord Lieutenant of Fife), Jim Leishman (Provost of Fife) and Ian Hunter (DAFC Director and grandson of Corporal Hunter.) The large crowd was made up of British Legion veterans, the Ancre-Somme Association, PoppyScotland, Pars fans and other Fifers, as well as a delegation from Moeuvres led by the Maire, M Gerard Setan. (In 2016, the villagers of Moeuvres had welcomed with open arms the WW1 pilgrims from the Heritage Trust and McCrae’s Battalion Trust.)
Corporal Hunter’s official VC citation was read by 2nd Lieutenant Calum Martin, and (in the pouring rain!) Ian Hunter gave a detailed account of his grandfather’s actions in 1918 and his subsequent life – Corporal Hunter had been a keen Pars fan, a trait carried on by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.)
The commemorative stone provided by the UK Government for all VC winners was unveiled on its plinth, which had been built by Willie Hall and the Purvis Group, and included bricks specially brought from a 1918 house in Moeuvres. Also unveiled was the Heritage Trust’s storyboard of Corporal Hunter’s life, with two pupils of Queen Anne High School (Finlay Hamilton and Hamish Wood) performing these ceremonies.
Army padre Major Stewart Young blessed the installations, and after the playing of “The Last Post” the crowd stood in contemplative silence before the laying of wreaths. The Regimental band played “The Flowers of the Forest” and 2nd Lieutenant Martin read the epitaph for all those who had died in war:
When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
“For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"
The public ceremony was followed by a private meal in the Purvis Suite, with entertainment provided by the Kelty & Blairadam Brass Band, by singer Craig Herbertson and by Piper Sgt John Rae, who played “The Seven Heroes of Moeuvres”, a piece specially written in 1925. One of the special red DAFC “7 Heroes” shirts was given to Colonel Steele of the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum and another was given to the Maire of Moeuvres. The shirts worn by the DAFC players are currently available for auction at http://dafc.net/forum/read.php?f=1&i=1709965&t=1709965, with the profits going to the Heritage Trust and PoppyScotland.
The Ancre-Somme Association’s “Tommy” silhouette made an appearance on the EEP pitch, and the day ended with Provost Leishman and M le Maire Setan exchanging gifts and expressing their hope for a long-lasting relationship between the communities of Dunfermline and Moeuvres.
The events had been a fitting memorial to a remarkable man, and the Hunter family would like to express their thanks to the dozens of people and organisations who had made it all possible. For more information about David Hunter’s life, please contact the Heritage Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be glad to help.