A WEST FIFE soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross for “great gallantry” during the First World War has been commemorated at East End Park.

Lifelong Pars supporter Sergeant David Ferguson Hunter, the grandfather of club director Ian, was celebrated at a ceremony 100 years to the day from the start of a struggle for survival that made him revered at home and in France.

Sgt Hunter, who was born in Kingseat, led six other men from the 1/5th Battalion Highland Light Infantry on September 16 1918 in holding off enemy attacks for 48 hours in the village of Moeuvres, with just a Lewis gun and enough ammunition, rations and water for only a day.

Surrounded by German forces and under constant heavy fire in torrential wind and rain, the men, who became known as ‘The Seven Heroes of Moeuvres’, managed to hold their position until the morning of the 19th, when British guns began an assault.

Despite remaining in as much danger from their comrades, Sgt Hunter and his fellow platoon members were eventually found later that night when British forces advanced, and were returned to their company.

In November 1918, Sgt Hunter, who died from a heart attack in 1965 and is buried in Dunfermline cemetery, received his VC medal at Buckingham Palace, with his citation stating that “the outstanding bravery, coupled with the determination, fortitude and endurance displayed by Cpl Hunter is beyond all praise, and a magnificent example to all”.

The project to honour his memory, led by the Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust in collaboration with the football club, saw a commemorative stone – provided by the UK Government for all VC winners – unveiled by Queen Anne High School pupil Finlay Hamilton outside the main stand on Halbeath Road.

A storyboard of VC Hunter’s life was also unveiled – by another Queen Anne pupil, Hamish Wood – during the ceremony, which brought together members of his family, a delegation from Moeuvres, led by mayor Gerard Setan; the Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Sir Robert Balfour; Fife Provost Jim Leishman, and personnel from 2 SCOTS and 6 SCOTS.

Ian, whose brother, David is a former youth coach with Athletic, said: “I was only 10 or 11 when my grandfather died and, although I remember him, I didn’t know him that well.

“He never spoke about the war but I can remember a number of times being out with my mum in the town, and she was stopped by people asking, ‘How’s VC Hunter’?

“The town was much smaller back then, in the 1940s-50s, but he became a bit of a celebrity.

“I knew his story and it does make you proud, and I make sure my boys know his story too.

“I think it’s important for the next generation that we must not forget the sacrifices made by those during the war.”

After the war, VC Hunter returned to work as a miner before becoming a country postman in West Fife villages, including Steelend, Saline, Carnock and Oakley, in 1924.

He continued in that role until 1951, when he became a storekeeper at Comrie Colliery, before retiring five years later.

In 1962, after his 27-year-old car failed its road test, Hunter almost sold his medal but a London motor dealer gifted him a car on condition he kept the medal, which was left to his old regiment after his death.

It was displayed during the ceremony, while a time capsule – containing a copy of the Press – was placed inside the plinth, containing brick from a 1918 Moeuvres house, on which the commemorative stone is displayed.