Victoria Crosses come to Glenalmond

A unique event was held at Glenalmond College to mark the start of the First World War and to commemorate the bravery of former pupils of the school. 

The three Victoria Crosses award to OGs (Old Glenalmonds, former pupils) were brought together for a special Chapel Service of Remembrance and Reflection. 

Following the service, the museum curators told the enthralling stories of the three brave recipients of the Victoria Crosses in lectures attended by pupils and staff. 

Two of the medals belong to the Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection and were brought to Glenalmond by its curator, Michael Naxton. Lt James Dundas (1842-1879) was a pupil at Glenalmond from 1855 to 1857 and then joined the Royal Engineers. He was awarded the Victoria Cross as a result of his gallant conduct during an attack on 30th April 1865 in Bhutan, east of Nepal. Wing Cmdr Hugh Gordon Malcolm (1917-1942) was at Glenalmond from 1931 to 1935. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 and was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously as a result of his valour and unswerving devotion to duty during attacks in November and December 1942 in North Africa. 

Michael Naxton commented, “The students at Glenalmond have long known about the exploits of these former pupils but it was a real thrill for them to see and be able to handle the Victoria Crosses which these brave men won whilst fighting and, in the case of Hugh Malcolm dying, for their country and our liberty.” 

The third medal belongs to the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen and was brought to Glenalmond by its curator, Jesper Ericsson, and Lt Col (Retd) Derek Napier. This VC was awarded to Sub-Lt William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (1851-1900) of the Gordon Highlanders, as a result of the conspicuous gallantry and coolness he displayed during an attack on 13th December 1879 in Afghanistan. He had been a pupil at Glenalmond College between 1860 and 1866. 

Jesper Ericsson said, “The chance to bring together these three Victoria Crosses for a once-in-a-lifetime event on Armistice day in this special centenary year is something that The Gordon Highlanders Museum is extremely proud and honoured to be able to help with. The Victoria Cross is the ultimate symbol of heroism in the face of mortal danger, and this is a unique opportunity for today’s pupils of Glenalmond College to reflect on the bravery of the men who once walked the same corridors as they do.” 

Elaine Mundill, Glenalmond College Archivist, said, “This was the first time that all three VCs have been together, and it was a fitting way to mark Remembrance Day in this very special anniversary year. We are immensely grateful to the curators of the Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection and the Gordon Highlanders Museum for bringing these medals to the school and explaining their significance to our pupils.”