Memorial plans unveiled to honour WWI hero

Kirkintilloch War Memorial
Kirkintilloch War Memorial

One of Kirkintilloch’s bravest sons is to have a memorial paving stone placed in the town in recognition of his sacrifice during WW1.

Teenager John Meikle died during a massive offensive at the Second Battle of Marne on July 20, 1918.

With his regiment pinned down under fire, the young sergeant single-handedly charged an enemy machine gun nest before putting it out of action.

He then rushed a second nest only to be cut down within yards of the target.

His efforts, however, allowed his fellow soldiers to storm the machine gun and subdue the threat.

And for his actions, in the face of certain death, Sgt. Meikle was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross — the British Armed Forces’ highest award for bravery and devotion to duty.

The 19-year-old, born at 34 Freeland Place, was one of just 628 people to be given the award during the conflict.

And though he was born in Kirkintilloch, his name does not appear on the Peel Park memorial, along with hundreds who also gave their lives.

However, East Dunbartonshire Council now plans on placing a paving stone to Sgt Meikle in Kirkintilloch to honour his bravery and to give residents a greater insight into the impact of the Great War on the local area.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie, said: “It is difficult to imagine the full horror Sgt. Meikle and those of his generation, on both sides, would have faced on the battlefield.

“Those that knew him paid him many moving tributes following his death and wrote of his beautiful character and wonderful personality and his loss would have been deeply felt by his family and friends.

“It is only right that Sgt. Meikle’s bravery and selfless sacrifice is recognised in his home town and the council hopes the memorial paving stone will be a fitting and lasting tribute to him.”

The memorial will be unveiled on 20 July 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the action for which Sgt Meikle’s VC was awarded.

For more on the life and legacy of Sgt. Meikle, visit the Herald website for a detailed biography.