The grandson of a fallen First World War hero has said the impact of his death continues to be felt in the family despite the passing of time, with Remembrance Sunday just days away.
The daring exploits of John Lumsden were shared in a post on the Cupar Library Facebook page and caught the eye of his grandson, also known as John.
John Lumsden was one of several Cupar men to join the 7th Battalion Black Watch at the outbreak of war in 1914.
He was a linen factory worker who became a local hero, awarded the Military Medal for an act of gallantry on 16 June 1915 – a year before his death.
His grandson, who lives in Glasgow, said: “I had two heroes of the First World War – my grandfather’s story is well documented and he is deserving of the status of a very local war hero who paid the ultimate price.
“My grandmother’s undocumented story is one of a woman who bore her grief without bitterness and raised her children with fortitude, grace and dignity.”
After seeing the post, which was written by Andrea McMillan of OnFife, John jun got in touch and shared copies of hitherto unseen family documents.
The soldier’s battalion took part in the attack on the Festubert-Givenchy front, in France, and were tasked with holding the communications lines leading to the trenches, and later the trenches themselves.
Losses were heavy. Lieutenant Alexander Westwood was killed and Captain James Donaldson, from Falkland, was wounded in the head by a sniper, losing an eye.
John Lumsden carried his captain back, under heavy shell fire, from the firing lines to the reserve lines.
Just after they crossed a water-course, a shell burst behind them, wrecking the bridge they had crossed and cutting off a party of wounded men on the other side.
Sergeant Lumsden handed Captain Donaldson over to another man and hastily collected planks and other materials.
Under continuous fire, he and a few fellow men from his platoon restored the bridge, allowing the men on the other side to get across.
This was no isolated display of bravery. Earlier that day, he had apparently thrown a bomb out of a trench.
Within six months, aged 26, John was dead, killed on July 30 along with Lieutenant George Pagan, during the attack on High Wood. A posthumous Military Medal was awarded in 1917.
It was sent to John’s widow, Jemima, at 13 Railway Place, where she lived with their three young children – the youngest of whom had been born four months after his father’s death.
John jun added: “The final words of this history are Jemima’s and they have stayed with me from the day I first heard them to this.
“She was at the end of her life in hospital and drifting in and out of consciousness and I was there with my father, Johnny, when she opened her eyes.
“My father, who was the double of my grandfather, was very close to her side and she looked at him and said ‘John you’ve come back’.”