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COMIC STRIP HERO'S FINAL VICTORY; EXCLUSIVE VC Hugh McIver killed six Germans, captured 20 others.. next month a new memorial in France will celebrate his courage.

Byline: By MARION SCOTT

IT was a heroic story of bravery so stirring that boys' comic The Victor gave it a whole special issue.

But the tale of the Royal Scots World War One squaddie who killed six Germans and captured 20 more is no work of fiction.

Now Private Hugh McIver's extraordinary courage is to be honoured with a new memorial at the scene of his derring-do... the Somme.

Hugh, a message carrier, was awarded the VC for the raid on a German gun post in Courcelle-le-Comte in August 1918.

He followed an enemy soldier to the garrison and took out six Germans before single-handedly taking another 20 prisoners.

Later, a British tank bombarded Hugh and his prisoners with friendly fire but he bravely ran towards it, forcing it to stop.

Tragically Hugh was killed in battle just 10 days later as he tried to take another German post. He was just 28.

Next month, 90 years after his death, the new memorial in his name will be unveiled in the village.

Fifty members of Hugh's family will travel to France along with soldiers and pipers from the Royal Scots Borderers, the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, and a delegation from his home town of Linwood, Renfrewshire.

It will be an emotional trip for Hugh's niece, Theresa McKend, 77, of Cambuslang, who grew up knowing her mother's sadness at losing her younger brother.

Theresa is the proud owner of a copy of The Victor which devoted its cover story to Hugh's wartime exploits in November 1972.

She said: "We all knew Hugh was a hero.

He didn't need medals to tell us that.

"Growing up, my mother Margaret rarely showed her emotions because she'd endured such a hard life.

"But on Remembrance Day, she would always shed a tear for her beloved wee brother.

"She had spent the war knitting him socks and balaclavas and it hurt her deeply that she was never able to lay flowers on his grave. Now I can do that for her.

"It's fitting that my grandson James Kellock will unveil the memorial to his great, great-uncle wearing the tartan Hugh would have worn as a young soldier.

"James is only 15 but he is determined to follow in Hugh's footsteps into the army."

Hugh was posted to France in May 1915, and had already won the Military Medal and Bar for daring initiatives during daylight patrols behind enemy lines.

After his death, Hugh's commanding officer Captain Alick Gordon wrote to his parents - Hugh Snr. and Mary.

The letter read: "It is only 10 days since I recommended him for the Victoria Cross and if ever a man deserved the VC, Hugh did.

"He was one of the best and bravest boys in the battalion - in fact, the bravest I have ever known."

In 1919 Hugh's mother and father went to Buckingham Palace to receive his Victoria Cross from King George V.

The medal now sits alongside Hugh's other decorations at the Royal Scots war museum at Edinburgh Castle.

Work on the new memorial was started by the Somme Remembrance Association in France two years ago.

Vice president Philippe Douin said: "It's an honour to work on such project.

"We're looking forward to meeting Hugh's family during what will be a celebration of this hero's life."

And Neil Griffiths of the Royal British Legion Scotland, said: "Scottish soldiers have always been renowned for their bravery but Hugh's achievements are legendary."

SUNDAY EMAIL

m.scott@sundaymail.co.uk

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Pride: Theresa with a treasured picture of her war hero uncle Hugh; War hero: Hugh won the highest honour for his bravery
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 3, 2008
Words:608
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