Scotland`s War Memorials
I have a large collection of War Memorial images, both in the UK and abroad and this section is due to be revamped with memorials listed in their respective regional locations and supplemented by archive images from the Imperial War Museum archives and other collections where available.
Thomas Peck Hunter VC
This memorial on the waterfront near the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, commemorates local man Royal Marine Commando Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter VC who sacrificed his life to protect his comrades during an attack on a strongly fortified German position in Italy during the Second World War.
Thomas Hunter was born in Aldershot on 6 October 1923, but his parents moved the family to Edinburgh shortly after his birth. Hunter attended Stenhouse Primary School and Tynecastle High School in the city (where the poet Wilfred Owen had taught during his recuperation from `Shell Shock` in 1917) before becoming an apprentice stationer. At the outbreak of the war Hunter joined the Home Guard and was called up for active service on 8 May 1942, enlisting as a Hostilities–only (HO) Marine.
On April 1 1945, `Operation Roast`, a major action in the Allied 15th Army Group's big spring offensive, which was intended to push the German Army back to and across the River Po and out of Italy, began.
On 3 April 1945, during an advance on his unit`s final objective, Corporal Hunter was in charge of a Bren Gun section and having advanced to within 400 yards of a canal, he observed the enemy were holding a group of houses to its south.
Realising that his Troop was behind him in an area completely devoid of cover, Corporal Hunter took the Bren gun and charged alone across 200 hundred yards of open ground. Around nine enemy machine guns from houses on the North bank of the canal opened up, directing most of their fire at Hunter. At the same time enemy mortars targeted the Troop but so determined was Hunter`s charge that the enemy in the houses became demoralised.
Hunter ran through each building, changing magazines as required, and cleared several enemy positions single-handed, taking six Germans prisoner in the process. The remainder fled across a footbridge. All remaining Spandaus on the north bank of the canal now focused on the Commandos dashing up to join to Hunter. Again, offering himself as a target, he lay in full view of the enemy on a heap of rubble and fired at the enemy pillboxes, enabling most of his comrades to reach cover. Hunter, however, was finally hit in the head by a burst of Spandau fire and killed instantly.
He is buried in Italy at the Argenta Gap (CWGC) War Cemetery, Emilia-Romagna. The Royal Marines treasure the memory of their only Second World War Victoria Cross recipient and a number of buildings, memorials and organisations are named after him.
Other memorials and tributes to Thomas Hunter VC include a personal display in the Medal Room at the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney, (His name also appears on the 43 Commando Memorial in the museum’s Memorial Garden), a memorial at Porto Garibaldi, Italy, and a memorial at Tynecastle High School, Edinburgh. Eight houses in the city also have plaques which were placed in March 1954. The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines accommodation block at HMNB Clyde and Hunter Company (formerly Hunter Troop) at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines have also been named in his honour.
Right: 'Fantails' or Buffalo amphibians transport German prisoners through a flooded landscape south of Lake Comacchio, 11 April 1945.
This Imperial War Museum image shows an unidentified member of No. 9 Commando at Anzio, Italy, equipped for a patrol with his Bren gun, 5 March 1944.
Additional images and information can be found on my blog, Clydeside Images.com. Further War Memorial and Military History content, not exclusively relating to Scotland, may also feature in the galleries of individual countries on this site. Also, check out my Stock Photography Archive for even more shots.