Military hero remembered

John Meikle VC award recipient
John Meikle VC award recipient

An exhibition commemorating one of East Dunbartonshire’s bravest sons has gone on display at William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch as part of the Council’s WW1 centenary events.

Sergeant John Meikle was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Armed Forces’ highest award for outstanding feats of valour, in July 1918 in recognition of his bravery during bitter fighting in France during the Great War.

The 19-year-old, who was born in Freeland Place, Kirkintilloch, was one of just 627 people to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the conflict.

The exhibition, which features a copy of Sgt Meikle’s Victoria Cross citation and other First World War memorabilia, will be on display in the lobby of the library until July 26.

To mark the centenary of his death, the council is also holding a special ceremony in Kirkintilloch to honour his bravery. A memorial paving stone will be unveiled on Friday, July 20 to mark the 100th anniversary of the action for which Sgt Meikle’s VC was awarded.

The ceremony will take place at Barleybank, next to St Mary’s Church, and will be attended by members of Sgt Meikle’s family, the Provost, councillors, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and representatives from the 4 SCOTS Battalion. Boys Brigade Pipe Bands from Lenzie and Chryston will also be playing on the day.

Provost Alan Brown said: “John Meikle’s brave actions should never be forgotten and this exhibition and memorial will ensure his name and incredible actions will live on for future generations.

“It has been fascinating to learn more about Sgt Meikle’s life and it is only right that we celebrate his achievements which also saw him awarded the Military Medal for bravery and leadership.

“I would encourage people to get along to the William Patrick Library to find out more about his heroism and sacrifice.”

Sgt Meikle was born in Kirkintilloch on September 11, 1898. He had enlisted in February 1915, aged just 16, and was drafted into the 4th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders.

He had already received the Military Medal for bravery and leadership for his actions near Langmarch before returning to France and earning a promotion to sergeant.

Sadly, Sgt Meikle was killed attacking a machine gun nest just months before the end of the First World War during the second Battle of the Marne on July 20, 1918.