Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was approx. 38 years old, and a Colour-Sergeant in the 78th Regiment (later The Seaforth Highlanders Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's) , British Army during the Indian Mutiny when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 26 September 1857 in the Residency at Lucknow, India, Colour-Sergeant McPherson rescued, under very heavy fire and at great personal risk, a wounded private of his company, who was lying in a most exposed position. The colour-sergeant was distinguished on many occasions for his coolness and gallantry in action.
|Village pays tribute to valour of Victoria Cross war hero
By Leeza Clark
Wed 27 September 2000
Councillor Barbara Stocks with a wreath for the graveside, while the Rev Benjamin Abeledo looks on.
CULROSS PAID tribute yesterday to its heroic son, Colour Sergeant Stewart McPherson, the first Fifer to receive the Victoria Cross.
The community came out in strength to remember the holder of Britain's highest military honour exactly 143 years after he earned his VC.
In 1857 the 38-year-old arrived in Lucknow in India to help quell an uprising among Indian troops.
September 26 was a day of fierce fighting.
In the middle of battle, Colour Sergeant McPherson saw Private James Lowther lying badly wounded, but alive, and made his way under heavy enemy fire to his injured comrade.
Exposed to a continuous bombardment, he tended him and carried him back to safety, but tragically Private Lowther later died from his injuries.
The official citation of McPherson's award was published in the London Gazette and highlighted his gallantry and coolness.
The greatest number of Victoria Crosses won on a single day came later that year during the relief of Lucknow when 24 were awarded.
Fife's first recipient of the VC was presented with his award by Queen Victoria in December 1880, at Windsor Castle.
Stewart McPherson was born in Culross in 1819, the only son of Mungo and Mary and left Geddes Public School at 15 to become an apprentice weaver In Dunfermline.
But he was soon lured by adventure and foreign travel and in December 1839 he walked to Stirling to join the 78th Highlanders, which were later to become the Seaforth Highlanders.
Colour Sergeant McPherson saw action in Persia, India and Ireland before arriving in Bengal, India, for the mutiny in which he played such a courageous role.
He married a Culross girl, Elizabeth Haig, in 1848 and the couple went on to have five children - Sarah, Eliza, Robina, Ferguson and McGregor.
Only three weeks after receiving his award, he discharged himself from the army and returned to Culross, before he was appointed superintendent of Glasgow Industrial Schools based in Bailieston.
A decade later, the family moved again to Culross where they bought a house in Low Valleyfield.
As a reminder of his time in India it was named Lucknow Villa and it was there he died, aged 73, in 1892.
He was buried in the local cemetery, in the shadow of Culross Abbey, but his grave became overgrown.
Recently, local woman Janice Ellis showed business man Alan Johnson the war hero's last resting place and he decided his valour should be recognised in his home village.
The ball was set rolling to raise a new headstone at his grave and Fife Council awarded an £1800 grant from the common good fund to pay for the new Indian granite stone - quarried less than 60 miles from Lucknow.
Yesterday's tribute started with a dedication ceremony in the abbey conducted by the Rev Tom Moffat.
Local community council chairman Roy McCormack then unveiled a plaque which will be lodged within the abbey, before the Rev Benjamin Abeledo, chaplain of the 1st Battalion Highlanders, led prayers.
As the guests assembled at the graveside, Captain C.J.E. Irvine of the Highlanders read McPherson's citation and Councillor Jim Brennan unveiled the new headstone.
Wreaths were then laid, first by McPherson's great granddaughter Lylian Edge and descendent Stuart Lanberton, then by his regiment, Councillor Barbara Stocks, the Regimental Association, Diane MacKenzie on behalf of the community, MSP Scott Barrie, the Royal British Legion and Culross War Veterans while the pipe major played the regimental lament Lochaber No More.
The pipes and drums of the 1st Battalion the way from the abbey to the town house, where they were joined by youngsters from Culross primary school and more guests.
Mrs Edge unveiled another plaque there and a replica of the Victoria Cross before she and her husband presented a seat to the community.
|A Fife soldier's Lucknow bravery remembered
By Jason Andrews
|[[<IMG SRC="images/extra/scotsman.jpg" WIDTH=140 HEIGHT=26 BORDER=0 ALT="The Scotsman">]]
Wed 27 September 2000
The 1st Battalion Highlanders attend the rededication of Stewart McPherson's grave
THE courage of a Culross soldier has been honoured by his hometown 143 years to the day after his actions earned him the Victoria Cross.
More than 150 villagers packed Culross Abbey yesterday to honour their heroic townsman with a new gravestone after the original one had decayed.
One of those present at the rededication of the grave of Colour Sergeant Stewart McPherson was his greatgrandson Stuart Lamberton.
Mr Lamberton, 76, who has lived in Culross all his life, remembers vividly how he was told the story of his ancestor's bravery. "I was very young when I first heard about him but I remember there used to be a huge oil painting of him hanging in."
"He was dressed in full military gear and wearing the Victoria Cross. Today has been an important and memorable day for our family and the whole of Culross."
Colour Sergeant McPherson was a member of the 78th Highlanders, who were sent to rescue Europeans trapped in Lucknow Garrison in north India as it came under attack from 12,000 rebels during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.
During a ferocious assault on the besieged garrison, he spotted a wounded private from his unit in an exposed position outside the gates. With bullets flying overhead he ran out and helped the stranded man, Pte James Lowther, back to safety.
A single piper played as Colour Sergeant McPherson's descendants remembered the man who had brought honour.
|The heroics of a colour sergeant in one of the world's most famous conflicts were remembered yesterday by a Fife community.
By Raymond Duncan
Wed 27 September 2000
TUNE FOR GLORY: Highland Regiment bandsmen in Culross after the rededication - picture: Gordon Terris
The heroics of a colour sergeant in one of the world's most famous conflicts were remembered yesterday by a Fife community.
Culross honoured Victoria Cross holder Stewart MacPherson exactly 143 years to the day of his bravery at the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.
McPherson, one of only 156 Scots to hold the premier award for gallantry, ran from a garrison to rescue a wounded colleague under a hail of bullets.
McPherson, who received his honour from Queen Victoria, died in 1892 at the age of 71 and was laid to rest in his town near Dunfermline.
However, the condition of the headstone in the cemetery beside Culross Abbey has deteriorated.
Yesterday, thanks to public subscriptions and donations from The Highhnders, the National Trust for Scotland, and Fife Council, his grave was re-dedicated with a granite headstone, quarried less than 50 miles from Lucknow. A plaque was also unveiled at a ceremony which was attended by two of his descendants, Mrs Lylian Edge and Mr Stuart Lamberton, well as senior Army personnel.
They heard a reading of the citation telling of MacPherson's courage in rescuing Private James Lowther who had come under fire at Lucknow where British soldiers and civilians were holding out under siege. The regiment sustained major casualties in the battle.
Several wreaths were laid in his honour after a service within the abbey.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Regimental Museum of Queens Own Highlanders (Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland).
- Monuments To Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- SCOTLAND'S FORgotten VALOUR (Graham Ross, 1995)
- Keith Johnson
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