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Captain Angus Buchanan VC remembered

November 9th, 2018
Captain Angus Buchanan.

During the First World War, 658 men were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery ‘in the presence of the enemy’.

And one of these remarkable men, Angus Buchanan VC, was head boy at Monmouth School for Boys, and has a senior boarding house named in his honour.

Captain Buchanan, who was the son of a doctor, unveiled the school War Memorial in 1921 in tribute to the 76 Old Boys who lost their lives in the First World War.

In his speech, Captain Buchanan hoped that the simple granite cross, designed by TR Bridson, would ‘never be an ornament, but always a true and lasting monument to those who gave their lives’.

Born in Coleford, Captain Buchanan excelled at rugby, rowing and athletics, and at Classics as well as gaining a place to read the subject at Jesus College, Oxford, in 1913.

At Oxford he was thought of by his tutor as ‘a good influence’ and continued to row and play rugby and was Secretary of the Athletics Club.

He enlisted in 1914, joining the South Wales Borderers and serving in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia.

By 1916 he had already won the Military Cross and was promoted to temporary Captain. But it was in Mesopotamia (west of Baghdad) for an act of most conspicuous bravery on 5th April that he was to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

The citation in the London Gazette of 26 September 1916 reads:

During an attack an officer was lying out in the open, severely wounded and about 150 yards from cover. Two men went to his assistance and one of them was hit at once. Captain Buchanan, on seeing this, immediately went out and, with the help of the other man, carried the wounded officer to cover under heavy machine gun fire. He then returned and brought in the other wounded man, again under heavy fire.

The Russians also awarded him the Order of St Vladimir 4th Class (with swords).

On returning to the front line in Mesopotamia in 1917, Captain Buchanan was shot in the head by a Turkish sniper and blinded.

He returned to Oxford where he switched to Law. Unable to run or play rugby, he still rowed for his college.

On graduation, he trained as a solicitor and returned to practise in Coleford for the rest of his life. In Coleford, Captain Buchanan asked that money be used to give children somewhere to play and  the local recreation ground was subsequently named after him.

Buchanan House for Year 13 boarders also bears his name and is a fitting memorial to an Old Monmothian for his courage, physical bravery, lack of bitterness in the face of adversity and generosity of spirit. Captain Buchanan died at the age of 49 on 1st March 1944, from wounds sustained in the Great War.

List of Old Monmothians killed on Service – The Great War 1914-1918

Horace Holmes Watkins

Horace Falkland Herd
Vernon Lickfold Matthews
Walter Nicholas Breakwell
Vivian Holmes Watkins
Bertram Walwyn Evans
Charles Geraint Christopher Payne
Ellerton Osborne Davies
William Leslie Mansel Webb
George Ernest Weatherhead
David Dudley
Thomas Harold Clements
Charles Douglas Willoughby Rooke
Frederick Tom Harris
Samuel J .Evans
Arthur Cyril Richard Davies
Francis Baker Farran

Arthur James Latham
Clive Page
Louis A. Phillips
Andrew Weatherhead
Edgar Stanley Teague
Henry Charles Stephens Rees
Harold Thomas Redler
William Joseph Rea
Ivor Jones
Rhys Hughes
John Eric Davies
Henry Robert Griffith Davies
Sydney Reginald Hockaday
Horace Wyndham Thomas
Euan Edward Arnott
Ernest Thomas Samuel Brickwell
Horace James Richards

John Llewellyn Evans
Alfred John Hamilton Bowen
Roy Rawlins
Thomas Dugdale Broughton
Denis John Brian Busher
Victor George Ursell
Peter George Heyworth
Ferdinand Adamson
Eric Thomas
Charles Freeman
Eric Stanley Saunders
Sidney Truman Ayers
William Bennett
Colin Eric Baumgarte
Ralph Shelton McGeough Bond
Sidney Alfred Davis
Frank Bailey
John Rowland Williams
John Bolton
Walter Herbert Bianchini
Horace Scott Dowdeswell
Alexander Lowe

George James Howell
Charles Hamilton Murray Chapman
Thomas Henry Aston
Arthur Coryn Phipps
Frank Edwards
Percival John Guest
Leonard John Horne
Geoffrey William Osborne
John William Bastock
Alexander Boyd Foott
Reginald Lightbourne Bolton
Mervyn Holmes Watkins
John Sayes

Henry Reilly
Ernest Nicholson Cunliffe
Reginald Tom Parry
J. M. D. Mills
Franks Ernest Greenland
R.G.L. Cumbley
Glynne Bateson

Captain Angus Buchanan unveils the school’s War Memorial.
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