Plaque for Sgt Louis McGuffie

WW1 Hero And VC Winner Honoured By Scottish Town

Sgt McGuffie died on 4 October 1918 from a shell without knowing he would be awarded a Victoria Cross...

Plaque for Sgt Louis McGuffie

A plaque has been unveiled in Wigtown, Scotland, in memory of a local man who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) during the First World War.

Sergeant Louis McGuffie, who served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, died on 4 October 1918 from a shell explosion.

He passed away without knowing he would be awarded the VC for his actions.  

The citation for his Victoria Cross commended him for:

“Most conspicuous bravery and resourceful leadership under heavy fire near Wytschaete [in Belgium] on 18 September 1918.

"During the advance on Piccadilly Farm, he single-handed entered several dug-outs and took many prisoners, and during subsequent operations dealt similarly with dug-out after dug-out, forcing one officer and twenty-five other ranks to surrender.

"During consolidation of the first objective he pursued and brought back several of the enemy who were slipping away, and he was instrumental in releasing some British soldiers who were being led off as prisoners... This very gallant soldier was subsequently killed by a shell.”

WATCH: 'My feeling today is one of enormous respect and enormous pride for that young man and for what he did.'

In January 1919, his mother, Catherine McGuffie, received an invitation from the King to Buckingham Palace for the presentation of the medal.

At the time, Mrs McGuffie was a widow with little money and caring for her other son who had lost an arm during the war.

Her initial thought was to decline the invitation, but her neighbours would not hear of it; care was arranged for Louis’ brother and money raised for the train fare to London.

Upon her return to Wigtown, nearly the entire town turned out to greet her and she was paraded into the County Buildings by the town band.

Plaque for Sgt Louis McGuffie
A century later, the townsfolk of Wigtown gathered again to honour the memory of Sgt McGuffie.

In his opening remarks, local Church of Scotland minister Reverend Eric Boyle said:

“One hundred years on, we meet to commemorate the terrible human cost of the ensuing four years of war, to acknowledge our failure to learn the lesson that war is futile as a mean’s of settling the world’s differences, to commend the past to God’s keeping and ask his blessing on the present and for the future.”

Cllr Archie Dryburgh, Armed Forces Champion of Dumfries and Galloway Council, helped organise the event.
Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Armed Forces Champion of Dumfries and Galloway Council, helped organise the event.

The National Anthem was sung, prayers were offered and the Last Post was sounded before a minute’s silence.

Pipe Corporal Mark McWhinnie sang 'Flo’er o’ the Forest', pupils from Wigtown Primary School gave a rendition of 'Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Tin Bag' and the Lochryan Pipe Band played 'Bonnie Galloway', 'Highland Cradle Song' and 'Bloody Fields of Flanders'.