Villagers salute hero who ‘rushed the enemy guns’
Memorial: Family and friends unveil plaque to winner of Victoria Cross
A north-east community has paid tribute to the courage of a World War I hero.
Colin Barron was one of millions of young men who signed up to serve during the war, but his exploits have become the stuff of legend.
And yesterday, family, friends and surviving relatives joined together at Boyndie to unveil a memorial to him, 100 years after he received the Victoria Cross.
Born in 1893 and raised at Baldavie Farm in Boyndie, Mr Barron was brought up by his grandparents, Joseph and Mary.
He emigrated to Canada in 1910 and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914.
While serving as a corporal with the Canadian 3rd Battalion near Passchendaele, the 24-year-old was credited with saving the lives of the men in his unit. For his bravery, he was awarded the VC. The citation affirming the award stated: “For conspicuous bravery when in attack, his unit was held up by three machine guns.
“Cpl Barron opened up on them from a flank at point-blank range, rushed the enemy guns singlehanded, killed four of the crew, and captured the remainder. He then, with remarkable initiative and skill, turned one of the captured guns on the retiring enemy, causing severe casualties.”
The service to commemorate him took place yesterday at Boyndie’s visitor centre, where relatives including his niece, Daisy Ogg, 83, laid flowers in tribute.
Mr Barron later achieved the rank of sergeant-major in the Canadian armed forces. He served his country again in World War II and is buried in Toronto’s veterans’ cemetery.
He is one of only nine north-east men to have been awarded a VC during the war. Others include George McIntosh of Buckie, who was honoured in 1917 after seizing an enemy dugout during the Battle of Passchendaele, and Joseph Watt of Gardenstown awarded the VC for his part in a naval battle at the Strait of Otranto.
IN MEMORY: Daisy Ogg, 83, Colin Barron’s neice, laid flowers at the memorial stone to her uncle who won the Victoria Cross in WWI
Gathering at the visitor centre for the ceremony