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Emotional visit for relative of Monmouth School’s bravest soldier

May 15th, 2015

Angus Buchanan2A distant relative of one of Monmouth’s most courageous and inspirational war heroes was “overwhelmed and humbled” to discover how his old school keeps his memory alive.

Lynn Barton, whose grandfather’s cousin was Victoria Cross recipient Angus Buchanan, visited Monmouth School during her trip from Australia this week.

The 68-year-old and her husband Gerry, 70, were keen to connect with Lynn’s family history and see where the celebrated soldier spent his childhood.

Finding out one of the School’s boarding houses is named after Captain Buchanan came as a “lovely surprise” to the couple.

Lynn, from Perth, said: “To see where he went to school and see the boarding house named after him is incredibly humbling.

“We were moved to visit even more today because of the centenary of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landings at Gallipoli as Angus’ regiment served there from July, 1915.”

Captain Buchanan was head boy at Monmouth School.

In 1913, he went to Jesus College, Oxford to study classics. He rowed for the College in 1914, played rugby and was secretary of the athletics club.

He then joined the army, where he served in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, and received the VC for bravery after going out in the open to rescue wounded officers twice during a heavy-fire attack.

Captain Buchanan was later shot in the head in battle, causing him to lose his sight. After learning braille, he returned to Oxford to complete his studies and became a successful solicitor.

Lynn added: “The family has always been very proud of Angus’ achievements.

“We had this courageous young man who just seemed to achieve so much.

“You hear about people whose lives were destroyed by the war experience, but Angus had the strength of character to come back and rebuild his life even with the disability of blindness to contend with.

“People with disabilities can do a lot more than they realise – he set that example.

“He was a tremendous role model.”

Lynn’s cousin, Morag Tyson, 95, lives in Withington and was lucky enough to meet Captain Buchanan.

“She told us he was a kind, gentle person,” Lynn said.

“It’s amazing talking to someone who knew him – you get a real sense of his character and learn things you can’t from reading history books.”

Lynn and Gerry were in the UK for a conference in Durham, and stopped by Monmouth School unannounced.

“The welcome has been amazing, we’ve been given a tour of parts of the school, library and Buchanan House and it’s been a real Who Do You Think You Are? visit.

“It’s so emotional, but also very satisfying to think he is well remembered for his courage.”

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