Memorial ensures heroics of brave Harcus will never ever be forgotten

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As the years go by the deeds of men like Harcus Strachan may start to fade a little but they will never be forgotten.

The memory of what the Bo’ness born man did on November 20, 1917 to earn himself a Victoria Cross – the highest military honour the UK armed forces can bestow – and the undying gratitude of men whose lives he saved that day is now etched forever in stone at Bo’ness War Memorial.

Exactly a century to the day that Lieutenant Henry Mareus “Harcus” Strachan led his men safely through enemy machine guns, killing seven German gunners with his sword, during the Battle of Cambrai in Masnieres, France, a commemorative paving stone was unveiled at a special ceremony on Monday afternoon.

It is just one of 469 stones to be laid across 400 communities in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland marking the birth places of Victoria Cross recipients as part of the national World War One Centenary campaign.

The man everyone, including the Lord Lieutenant of Falkirk and Stirling Alan Simpson and Depute Provost of Falkirk Ann Ritchie, had come to honour on Monday was born in Bo’ness on November 7, 1887.

He lived at Hollywood House, Grahamsdyke Road and attended the Royal High School, Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh before emigrating to Canada in 1908, where he joined the Fort Garry Horse, Canadian Cavalry Brigade, in 1915.

After his heroics in the First World War he went on to serve his country again in the Second World War and commanded the 1st Battalion Edmonton Fusiliers.

Harcus, whose sister Grace was the first Bo’ness Fair Queen in 1897, died in Vancouver in 1982, aged 97.

He was publicly honoured back in 2011 when his photograph was unveiled in Bo’ness Town Hall to mark his achievement and highlight his bravery. Earlier this year Falkirk Council attempted to track down members of his family to get their input on the plans to lay the memorial stone.