Skip to main content | Skip to section menu | Access keys.

Clackmannanshire Council Online

New First World War Exhibition at Speirs Centre

Published on:


September 2015

A new exhibition commemorating the Great War and its impact in Clackmannanshire opens at the Speirs Centre this weekend (12th September).

The exhibition will look at the events leading up to the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914 and the first seventeen months of the war. It will also focus on two local men who were awarded the Victoria Cross in 1915.

James Dalglish Pollock VC and James Lennox Dawson VC were both born in Tillicoultry, though Dawson's family moved to Alloa when he was eight. They were awarded the VC, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, for their actions during the Artois-Loos Offensive.

James Dalglish Pollock VC was 25 years old and a corporal in the 5th Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, when he was awarded the VC for his outstanding bravery on 27th September, when he threw hand grenades into a British trench which had been infiltrated by German soldiers, while subjected to heavy machine-gun fire. He held up the German advance until he was wounded.

Two weeks later his second cousin, 23 year old James Lennox Dawson VC, who was serving in 187th Company Royal Engineers (Special Brigade), also won the VC during the same battle, near the Hohenzollern Redoubt when he saved many men, by patrolling back and forth above the trenches, directing his sappers and clearing infantry from the trenches which were full of gas, all the while under very heavy fire. He then ensured that three leaking gas canisters did not get near the trenches.

A range of items relating to the war will also be displayed in the exhibition , including objects from the Council collection, material on loan from The Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and memorabilia of Clackmannanshire soldiers loaned by members of the public. In addition, from 24th September until 20th October, the medal set of James Dalglish Pollock VC will be on display, on loan from The Highlanders' Museum at Fort George.

Cllr Donald Balsillie, Depute Council Leader said: "This fascinating exhibition gives us the chance to look back 100 years and learn of the extraordinary impact that the First World War had on everyone, including families here in Clackmannanshire. From items associated with our local recipients of the Victoria Cross to posters that would have been put up locally to encourage men to enlist, this collection gives us a great opportunity to see our history at first hand."

The exhibition runs at the Speirs Centre in Alloa from 12th September until the end of the year.