Fraserburgh war hero is honoured at ceremony

The 100th anniversary commemoration event honouring Charles Jarvis was held in Fraserburgh recently.
The 100th anniversary commemoration event honouring Charles Jarvis was held in Fraserburgh recently.

The first Scottish soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross during WW1 was honoured at a special ceremony recently.

A Victoria Cross commemorative paving stone was laid in front of the fountain at Saltoun Place Gardens to honour Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis from Fraserburgh.

The paving stone was placed adjacent to the Coastguard Cottages where Charles Jarvis was born, and was unveiled by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, The Honourable Katherine Nicolson.

Only three weeks into the war Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis, from Fraserburgh, found himself in the thick of fierce fighting in Jemappes, Belgium.

The 33-year-old of the 57th Field Company Royal Engineers was tasked to demolish a bridge over the canal to slow down the German army.

With one Sapper to assist in laying the charges and two infantrymen to steady the boat L/Cpl Jarvis and his team cast off under intense enemy fire.

The small troop worked tirelessly but as the volleys of bullets increased he sent the infantrymen back to safety and continued laying the charges.

He ordered Sapper Neary to collect an electrical exploder but he did not return, and as the fire intensified the infantry units were forced to fall back.

L/Cpl Jarvis worked alone for more than an hour in full view of the enemy occasionally dashing back to British lines for extra explosives.

In need of an electrical exploder to finish the job he ducked down into the boat and pulled himself to safety.

He then commandeered a bicycle from a civilian and rode off in search of the essential equipment.

He returned to the bridge, still under heavy fire, and managed to destroy it - stemming the enemy advance.

L/Cpl Jarvis was presented with the Victoria Cross on January 13, 1915 by King George V at Buckingham Palace. He died on November 19, 1948 aged 67 and is buried in Cupar Cemetery in Fife.

Commenting on the event, Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area manager Margaret-Jane Cardno said: “I am very proud that this incredibly brave and resilient son of Fraserburgh is being honoured in this way.

“The stone not only commemorates the valour of Charles Jarvis but serves as a permanent reminder of such a dark period of recent world history.

“To further mark this historic event there will be a dedicated exhibition of the life and deeds of Charles Jarvis at the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre which I hope many local people and schools will visit.”