The link below will take you to a booklet of poems which were written by Willie Wilson who ran the post office in Tynron during the 1920’s. (transcribed by Sue King-Smith
Remembering local VC Captain Samuel (“Tom”) Wallace
On Monday 20 November, under a steady downpour, a large crowd gathered beside Tynron’s War Memorial. They were there to celebrate the achievement of Lieutenant (later Captain) Samuel Wallace, who was born in Thornhill in 1892 and spent all his early life in Wallaceton and Tynron before joining the army as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. ‘Thomas’ was his second name and he was generally known as ‘Tom’. At Gonnelieu, during the battle of Cambrai in 1917, he won the Victoria Cross, which is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. His prompt action and sensible thinking helped to save many British lives. He survived the Great War, and went on to a career as Deputy Director of Agriculture, Central Provinces, India.
Present were a number of Wallace family descendants, the Lord Lieutenant and councillors from Dumfries and Galloway Council, as well as contingents from the Royal Artillery, pipers from the Queensberry and Buccleuch Pipe Band and a bugler from Dumfries Town Band. Many pupils from Penpont Primary School attended, as well as interested local residents. Rev. Stuart Mill gave a short address about Lieutenant Wallace, and the schoolchildren sang ?several World War 1 songs. The descendants unveiled the plaque, and Cllr Dryburgh read the VC citation for Lieutenant Wallace. Wreaths were laid by or on behalf of: the Lord Lieutenant; the family; the ‘C’ Battery, 63rd Brigade, Royal Regiment of Artillery (Wallace’s old regiment); all ranks of the Royal Regiment of Artillery; the Thornhill branch of the British Legion; Dumfries and Galloway Council; and Tynron Community Council. A blessing was given to the plaque, which will eventually have electronic connection to a website giving information about Lieutenant Wallace. The Last Post was sounded; there was a minute’s silence, and then the Reveille.
Everybody then processed back to the Parish Hall. In a side room, Penpont Primary School pupils under the supervision of ?Mrs Irene Haining? had produced a remarkable display of pictures drawn in charcoal, effectively displayed on a red background; they had also made models of poppies, trenches and shelters. A team of volunteers, led by Mrs Margaret Irving, provided welcome tea, coffee and cakes. The procession then embussed and drove on to Thornhill where the paving slab was unveiled, and finally to Moffat, where Lieutenant Wallace lived the last years of his life and is buried.
The Joseph Thomson Heritage Centre had held an Exhibition about the First World War featuring a presentation about Samuel Wallace during the week leading up to the event. Many went to see the exhibition and schoolchildren were thrilled to see real medals and other memorabilia.
Sandy Hall, local historian, invited as many surviving relatives of Lieut. Wallace as he could find to a celebratory lunch in Tynron Hall on the following day, which was greatly appreciated by all.
Victoria Cross Commemoration for Samuel Wallace.
In December 2013 The Scotland Office made councils aware that beginning in August 2014 the UK Government would be commemorating recipients of the Victoria Cross in the First World War with specially commissioned paving stones to be laid for each recipient 100 years from when they were awarded. The stones were to be laid in their home town ‘as near to their former home as possible’.
On 20th November 2017 there will be a ceremony at Tynron War Memorial to commemorate Lieutenant Samuel Wallace V.C. who lived at Ford, Tynron.
The article below, written by Sandy Hall and reproduced here with his permission, was first published in the Glencairn Gazette in October 2001.
TYNRON GUNNERS DECORATED FOR GALLANTRY
Late 1917 was a grim time throughout the country as the armed forces on the western front suffered mounting losses, sending ripples of grief through every parish. Then on 20th November five infantry divisions and 325 tanks supported by 1,003 guns punched a hole through the German line at Cambrai. ‘Nothing could resist this powerful combination of guns, infantry and tanks’.
The accuracy of the artillery barrage was the result of weeks of planning and surveying by Royal Engineers. Whilst Cambrai was hailed as a brilliant success the British then had to hold the salient against counter attacks which began on 30th November. This was a particularly bad day for the Royal Artillery, which, in spite of great acts of courage, lost more guns in one day than in any previous
At the village of Gonnelieu there were three batteries of field guns. Two batteries did all they could until their ammunition was exhausted and they were forced to retire taking the breech blocks from their guns with them. Meanwhile ‘C’ Battery 63 Brigade Royal Field Artillery, which was sited back from the village, saved the day.
By 10.30 the original gun crew of 24 or 25 men in the battery was reduced to five men and one officer; with the enemy only 150 yards away, as the British infantry arrived, they withdrew.
It was with a sense of pride and hope of victory that the announcement of the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a Dumfriesshire sold was received, particularly at Dumfries Academy and Tynron Parish. The officer of ‘C’ Battery was Lieutenant Wallace of Ford, Tynron who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 30th November 1917.
Samuel Thomas Dickson Wallace was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Wallace of the Ford, Tynron. He was born at Holmhill, Thornhill and when the family lived at Wallace Hall, Wallaceton, he went to school at Crossford. He was a nephew of Professor Wallace of Edinburgh University, Mr William Wallace of Lincluden and Mr JRW Wallace of Auchenbainzie. Samuel Wallace was a pupil at Dumfries Academy from 1903-1910 when he went to the East of Scotland College of Agriculture and graduated with a B.Sc in Agriculture at Edinburgh University where he excelled in structural and field geology and in agricultural Chemistry. He had been in the Edinburgh University OTC 1912-1914 and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in October 1014 and promoted to Lieutenant in July 1917, spending two years in France.
The citation read: ‘For most conspicuous bravery and devoted service in action in command of a section. When the personnel of the battery was reduced to five by the fire of the artillery, machine guns, infantry and aeroplanes; has lost its Commander and five of the Sergeants, and was surrounded by enemy infantry on the front, right flank and finally in rear, he maintained the fire of the guns by swinging the trails round close together, the men running and loading from gun to gun. He thereby not only covered other battery positions, but also materially assisted some small infantry detachments to maintain a position against great odds. He was in action for eight hours, firing the whole time, and inflicting serious casualties on the enemy. Then, owing to the exhausted state of his personnel, he withdrew when infantry support arrived, taking with him the essential gun parts and all wounded men. His guns were eventually recovered.’
The rector of Dumfires Academy, Mr JW Critchley, read the citation suring his speech at a presentation ceremony in the Academy Hall when the pupils, teachers and managers presented Lieutenant Wallace V.C. with a fitted suitcase inscribed:
Lieutenant S.T.D. WALLACE
By his ‘Old School’
In recognition of his winning the V.C.
The Academy Cadet Corps formed a guard of honour and the school Scouts and Guides were on parade. Invitations to the ceremony had been sent to a number of local education and military chiefs as well as members of the Wallace family. It was a light hearted occasion with numerous pauses in the speeches for the audience to cheer and was punctuated by several rousing musical items. The pupils had previously been given a day’s holiday.
What was also amazing was that of the five surviving gun crew members – all of whom were awarded the D.C.M.-one was Private Andrew Armstrong. As the Dumfries Standard said:
‘One of these five is Private Andrew Armstrong, also of Tynron, and curiously enough of Cairnycroft Farm, adjoining Ford. He enlisted in the RFA, and, being sent to France, landed ultimately in the battery to which Lieut. Wallace was attached. Lieutenant Wallace and Private Armstrong many a time worked side by side in the fields at Ford, little dreaming that a time would come when they would be standing side by side at sterner work.
The war honours of Tynron are now: one VC, one DSO, and two DCM’s- a good record for a parish of but 62 houses.’
On leaving the army Mr Wallace went to India where he married Noel Edenborough. Their daughter, Margaret, was born there but, in the early 30s the family returned to Britain and made their home in Moffat in time for Samuel Wallace to volunteer for the RAF in WW11. He died in Moffat. His younger brother Quintin, served at Gallipoli with the Scottish Horse and was commissioned into the Glasgow Yeomanry.
Sources: Dumfries and Galloway Standard, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery by General Sir Martin Farndale 1965, Dumfries Academy Magazine, Dumfries and Galloway Courier and Herald.
One good source of knowledge about Tynron in the past is John Shaw’s book “Tynron Glen“.