Keepsake given for bravery goes on display

The watch given to Private James Fairbairn.
The watch given to Private James Fairbairn.

A special watch presented to a soldier who was awarded the military medal for extreme bravery in the First World War has gone on show at the Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick, as part of an exhibition about the conflict.

Private James Fairbairn, of 2nd Battalion the Highland Light Infantry, won his award for action in October 1918.

He was honoured for his courageous efforts near Vertain, France, when the patrol he was in came under sudden heavy fire and was forced to take cover, from which it could not move until dusk.

Two men had already been wounded in trying to get back when he volunteered to take the message to company headquarters. Not only did he do this, but he returned with another. message

His actions encouraged the patrol to keep the enemy off.

The watch was given to Private Fairbairn in February 1919 by the Blyth Military Merit Committee in recognition of his gallantry in the Great European War.

It was subsequently found in a house in Shilbottle and donated to the museum.

The memento is on show at the attraction’s Lest We Forget display, which runs until August 31.

Jane Mann, from the museum, said “We are really thrilled and grateful for this kind donation.

“Our current exhibition is about local men who fought and died in 1914, and we will be running timely events through the four-year period of the war.

“This new donation was, however something that we wanted to let people see immediately. To have a new local connection to a military medal winner is something special.”